January « 2013 « Salsa Addiction Centre
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    The Basics on The On1 Salsa Basic: Footwork Fitness Edition

    As I get more experienced, it’s becoming much easier to detect how good someone is based on their salsa basic. For those who are new to the dance, the Salsa basic is term used to describe your standard 6-step back-and-forth stepping pattern. By learning how to step as well as adding a bit of flair; you too can take your basic from beginner to salsero.

    How To Step:
    Stepping as a walker is simple, we do it all the time. Stepping as a dancer, is much trickier. What’s the difference? Stepping to walk, is usually a flat-footed affair. While it makes walking quite easy, it looks ‘clunky’ when you dance this way. What you want to learn is how to step like a dancer… or what I call, the ‘tiger step’.

    What I mean by this is that you should aim to land the ball of your foot first, and then roll out to the rest of the foot to complete the step. I call this the ‘tiger step’ because it makes you look like you’re perfectly balanced and ready to pounce; much like a stealthy, wild Tiger.

    When I first tried to learn the ‘Tiger Step’, I had a lot of trouble because I didn’t have the proper ankle/arch/calf strength. What I did to correct this (and still do to this day), is to do ‘calf raises whenever I can. Here’s a good video to get you started:

    Stepping More Naturally:
    Once you have the Tiger Step down, do your basic in front of a mirror. Do you see how you’re stepping? Usually you step forward and then return your foot to the center, parallel to your other foot. While this technique is good for learning, you really want to always keep your feet slightly not-parallel. When I mean is that when you return your foot on count 3, try to keep that slightly behind your other foot. What this does is help smooth out your basic movement. It also makes moving through more difficult moves later on.

    No Bobble-Heads:
    A natural tendency for most new dancers is also to bounce while they step. While it’s very natural to bounce while you walk, it’s not a slick to bob while you’re dancing Salsa. I remember seeing an old movie where they teach young ladies to walk ‘with grace’ by balancing a book on their heads. While I didn’t try this, I always picture that a book is balancing while I dance.

    TightRope Tiger Step:
    Now that you have your steps staggered and that you’re stepping like a jungle cat, it’s time to add the tightrope. What I mean by this is that when you step, think that each step you take is on a tight rope. Picture the ball of your foot stepping forward, so that both your feet are on a slender tightrope. When you step back, bring your foot back slightly behind the other, still on the same tight rope.

    This will give your basic a really sauve feel, making you look more balanced as well as feeling like a tiger.

    Here’s a great video from Addicted2salsa about how to take your basic to the next level:

    Here’s to Stepping like a tiger.

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salsero!

    Nike Fuelband Reveals Salsa Fitness

    One of the best benefits of Salsa dancing is that it’s a really great form of cardio. Whether it’s seeing men and women sweating the night away or noticing that one dancer who’s looking a little more cut; everyone can agree that it’s great exercise. What I didn’t really realize is how important it was to my fitness life until I started wearing a Nike Fuelband.

    A Nike What?
    The FuelBand is a apple-looking wristband that acts like a space-aged pedometer that counts calories burned, steps taken and shows you the Nike Fuel Points earned. Using accelerometers and fancy tech, the FuelBand keeps track of your fitness, can sync up to your mobile devices and even has a social network so you can show up your friends.

    While it’s not a perfect device to track all aspects of your fitness (the FuelBand isn’t water-proof enough for swimming), it does one thing extremely well: It gets you to get off your butt and go get fit.

    In my case, it’s helping me get up and go dance. This is awesome.

    I’m not sure how your New Year’s Resolutions are doing, but with the Nike FuelBand you actually go in and program how many Fuel Points that you want to burn each day. A score of 2000 equals a normal restful day while 3000+ means a pretty solid active day. The nifty band shows you (via coloured dots) just how far down the rabbit hole that you’ve gone.

    While somedays it can be really hard to reach that goal, I’ve been seeing in my charts that dancing has dramatically improved my score! It’s amping up my points so much that it’s getting harder and harder to not go out dancing, I mean, it’s really fun and I’m earning so many point!

    Guess which days I went out dancing?

    One thing I’ve learned though, if you wear the band on your right hand, you may make your partner uncomfortable. I just easily switch mine to the left and so far, it’s been really great!

    So get out, beat the winter blues and earn some serious Fuel points dancing salsa!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    Bachata Battle Bootcamp

    It seems that everywhere you turn, Bachata is playing. In fact, it’s getting harder to find a night during the week where Bachata isn’t drawing out big crowds looking to get a little closer. With the dance’s popularity, it was only a matter of time before an old dance tradition returned to the scene: The Battle.

    Just like in the Street Dance, Step It Up and the Glee-inspired Pitch Perfect; Battling is fine art which allows dancers to truly express themselves (and talk a little trash). Actually, talk a lot of trash.

    How Does it Work?
    Usually it’s either solo, a couple or a team will ‘step up’ and perform a series of shines/moves that showcases the skill-level of their team. While the first team rocks out, the second team must patiently wait. When the first team is complete, the second team then shows off their moves. This continues until one side concedes to the other.

    Some Quick Rules:
    There are basically no rules say for not touching the other team. Taunting, showing off and general swagger is encouraged.

    Get Battle Ready:
    While you may feel apprehensive about participating in a battle, Toronto Dance Salsa is holding a ‘Beginners Bachata Battle Bootcamp’ this coming Saturday, Jan.19th at Empress walk. The Style Queen herself, Tracie Yee will be commanding the Ladies and Bachata Sutra Master Lucky Sipin will be  teaching his crane techniques to the gents.

    With their guidance, the participating men and women will show their stuff, in an ‘easy-to-learn’ choreo and prove who’s got the eye of the bachata tiger. So come out to Empress walk, to show it off or witness how it happens in real life.

    Till Then,
    Stay (Battle)Shining Salseros!

    In the meantime, here’s a great Salsa battle scene from Street Dance 2: