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    A New Look After A Short Pause…

    Sorry it’s been a little while since my last blog, but seeing the new TDS site and now you know why. With much effort, patience and love Sharon, Evan and I have launched the new TDS site! I’m really happy with the final result, and hope that you like it both aesthetically and functionally.

    Onto the subject at hand… Last week at our outing, I found that while the energy/vibe was really great; many etiquette rules were being broken. In order for all of us to have great outings and more importantly safe outings, we need to follow these simple, common sense guides to keep our salsa from going sour.

    A small list of things I noticed that made me a sad panda:

    People walking through the dance floor, not around it
    Seriously, this is not only super dangerous for the people dancing, but if you’re walking through dancers, you’re going to get hurt.

    Massive moves on crowded floors
    Unless you’re quite experienced and can pull off big moves in tiny space, then keep them to a minimum when the dance floor gets packed. If you find that you and your partner are taking up a lot of space, here are a few suggestions:
    -take smaller steps (seems simple, but many people don’t do this!)
    -when you break-back, dont fully extend your arms. I always try to keep my arms around the 90 degree mark to keep the moves tight and small
    -if you’re dancing with someone who takes massive steps, do moves that don’t require much travelling OR, leaders keep your frames a bit stronger, so she gets the hint that she has to stay within the boundries you set

    Polite People Dance Most
    Always be polite about asking someone to dance. There’s nothing worse than someone who’s pushy or a little on the creepy side. All it takes is a simple, ‘Would you like to dance?’ If the person refuses, don’t be upset as chances are they need to rest or a little tired. On that note, please try to only refuse a dance when you’re tired, need to use the washroom or feel that the person asking is being rude.

    Don’t Just Stand There
    One of my biggest pet peeves are people who stand on the dance floor. I find that this is worse than people who walk through the floor as they are becoming a permanent fixture getting into everyone’s line of dance. Speaking of which…

    Stay On Line
    On a few occasions I had different Salseros do moves that led their women onto my line of dance, forcing a dangerous course-correction. Not only can serious injuries occur, but you throw all of the hard work of becoming a precise and great lead out the window. Did I mention that it drives me insane? There’s nothing worse than having to end a dance early because the guy beside you launched his partner into your line and onto your partner’s foot!

    Always Give Your Partner One Song
    So let’s say that the lovely person you’ve asked to dance is way below your level and not really staying on time. The best and coolest thing you can do is to try to follow/lead them as well as possible for one whole song. We were all there at one time and you’d be surprised at how quickly someone can go from novice to advanced!

    Sadie Had it Right
    Some nights I’ll see ladies sit at the side of the dance floor and wait to be asked. I say, wait no longer ladies as us Gents love love love to be asked to dance! Not only will you get to dance more but you’ll make a guy’s night!

    So while I saw a fair amount of Salsa No-No’s, I did have a wonderful time last outing and was so happy to see many new Salsero/as out on the floor! Hopefully, with these thoughts as a bit of guidance, your next salsa outing will be a bit more civil and much more fun!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    Reader Requested Blog: Why People Get Into Salsa

    At the last outing, I was asked by a reader of the blog to write about why people get into salsa. Hearing the dancer’s interesting back-story (which shall stay in the vault), it inspired me to ask a ton of people for their own backstories. It wasn’t too long before I started to see some common themes so I thought I’d list a few stories as well as some of the more common themes.

    Sharon’s Story:

    “I got into salsa by accident.  I walked into Babaluu with some girlfriends one night and completely fell in love with the dancing and the salsa scene but I was too scared to dance :)  I watched 3 or 4 separate nights without dancing before I accepted a dance with someone, not even knowing my basic step.  It was awful (I was awful!).  I tried it a few more times and was going to give up, thinking I was a terrible dancer, when my friends encouraged me to dance with someone who was a good lead.  I danced with him and completely changed my mind about giving up.  I started going out every night of the week to Babaluu, El Rancho and other clubs that were popular at the time and within a year I started competing and teaching.”

    “I fell in love with the freedom, excitement and fun factor.  Nothing that I have ever tried has allowed me to meet so many people so quickly, gather a whole network of new friends, let me exercise my body and spirit until 2am every morning, keep me in shape, keep me de-stressed and so much more.  It was a real high!”

    Sarah’s Story:

    “I got into salsa because I wanted to do something other than science (Which is what I did when I was doing my masters) while I was doing my PhD. I told myself, I need to be active and social, to complement the brain work and quiet time in the lab work during my PhD, to make the experience of graduate school more pleasant the second time around. The rest was history!”

    Chris’ Story:

    “I signed up originally to learn some merengue then got hooked on salsa and realized most of the moves could be transferred over to merengue…so in a way it was a bonus i guess”

    My Story:
    I was really considering about getting into capoeira when I had a nasty, wrist-breaking fall. Unable to do capoeira, my friend Neel had suggested that I get into salsa as it would help my balance, flexibility and most of all, meet tons of new people. Since I’ve started, I’ve lost close to 30lbs, have met so many great people and have found myself hooked beyond belief.

    Here are some quick quotes that represent a lot of people who get into salsa:

    “I was getting over a bad breakup and didn’t meet anyone worthwhile using i-dating”
    “I really wanted to get fit without spending hours on a boring treadmill”

    “I’ve always loved the music…it’s so romantic”
    “My friends dragged me to a salsa club and I’ve been hooked since!”
    “Thanks to salsa I have one less, left-foot”

    There are so many intriguing salsa origin stories out there. If you ever get tired at a club, just ask anyone about their reasons for learning how to dance and you’ve got yourself a great conversation!

    So, why did you get into salsa? I’d love to hear about it…

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!