Halloween is an awesome night for Salseros as so many events are going on. If you’re looking for the craziest Halloween bash then check out TDS’ party at Acrobat on the 29th!
Did you know that it’s our biggest outing every year? For the past two years there’ve been line-ups out the door (so get your costume on early and check out the lessons!)
Want more chills? We’ve got an awesome costume contest with serious prizes and there have been rumours of a very scary surprise event!
Need a few costume tips?
-wear masks with large eye holes: if you don’t have peripheral vision, you won’t be able to dance.
-avoid bulky costumes that impair body movement.
-avoid lots of dangling things, wings, hats, etc. If it can get caught or fall off, it probably will.
For the salseras, if you’re worried about your costume being a little skimpy, just tell them that you’re being practicle as it’s much safer to salsa in!
For guys, be careful about your costume choice as you don’t want to creep out the ladies anymore than you normally do… I kid, I kid… The crazier and scarier the better!
So keep the 29th (around 845) open as we continue the tradition of the best outing, crazy costume contest and an all-out Spooky Salsa Party!
Stay Shining Salseros!
Now if you’re somewhat new to the Salsa scene you may be hearing about this thing called ‘the Congress’. What is it? you may ask; well, let me do my best to give you a quick overview.
The Congress in a nutshell:
A Salsa Congress is kind of like the Superbowl and the Oscars (but way more fun and sexy!). Salsero/as from around the world go to the hosting city and showcase their dancing skills through competitions, demonstrations, workshops and (my personal favorite) social dancing. Usually spanning over a weekend, Congresses are 1-stop shops for everything salsa-related.
Some Highlights of This Year’s Congress:
Opening Night Gala:
Featuring the Canadian Salsa Championships & amazing social dancing afterwards
Need new shoes? shirts? DVDs? They’re all here
Last year I saw some of the most amazing dancing performed by teams from around the world
From Lady’s Styling, Lifts and Tricks to Cha Cha and Sexy Salsa moves…you can learn from the best
Beginner Boot Camp:
Still new to salsa? take this day-long workshop to get your salsa steps up to par
Here you’ll find hundreds of dancers ranging in all skill levels for some of the most fun dance sessions that you’ll ever have!
There are a ton of price options from those who want to do it all to those who just want to dance the night away. Check out the Congress website for more options, one thing that’s for sure, is that the congress is THE event for all salsa dancers!
See you on the floor!
Stay Shining Salseros!
One of the best things about getting into Salsa and other Latin musical styles is that you discover literally decades of great music. While it’s easy to get lost in the Salsa of yester-year, I’d like to do a quick post of some hot tracks that are currently flooding the airwaves in 2010…
Jose Alberto (El Canario) – Que me lo cuente
While ‘The Canary’ has been around for a long time and made many of the tracks you hear while out dancing, it’s amazing to see that he’s still got it! The guitars really hooked me and love how dynamic the song is!
India – Estupida
While I wasn’t able to catch the Luminato show a few weeks ago, apparently India rocked Toronto! I just love the desparation and frustration in her voice for this track.
Enrique Iglesias feat. Juan Luis Guerra – Cuando Me Enamoro
A modern take on bachata, Enrique teams up with one of my favourite Bachata singers to make a nice contribution to the Dominican Music.
While I personally love the Latin music of the 70s, 2010 has been a great year for new music and hopefully you get to explore more of the people who are making great tracks this year!
Stay Shining Salseros!
One of the most difficult things for leader is to master the whole idea of turn-patterns and combos. While it only gets more complex as you advance, it’s advised to understand how to approach your move arsenal and execute them with as few errors as possible. While one could write a whole book on the subject, here are a few tips for turn-pattern mastery.
Rock, Paper, Scissors :
One of the most potent bits of advise given to me by my teacher was to approach executing moves by understanding which handhold you’ll be in when you’re at your transition points ( the end points of your previously executed move). Once you recognize the hand-hold you can randomly choose any move from your arsenal that begins with that hand-hold. Like ‘Rock, Paper Scissors’, if you see the hand-hold will be a ‘left-to-left’ hold, you can then play any move that lands in that position.
An example would be you could either do a ‘Rainbow/Titanic’, a funky ‘In & Out’ or possibly a ‘Double Comb/Sombrero’
Here are the common holds:
Open, Closed, Left-to-Left, Right-to-Right, Right Chain Hold, Left Chain Hold
How do you get started?
Make a list of all of the moves that you know (I do this in Excel, but any text editor is fine). Make a column for each type of hand-hold, so all Right-to-Right moves will be in column A, all left-to-left moves will be in column B, etc.
With the list complete, start dancing a move and randomly pick moves from one column. When you come to a move that ends in another hand-hold, randomly pick a move from the appropriate column. Keep doing this over and over again and keep in mind all of the random patterns you can make from your list. You’ll be surprised at how many combinations you can make with even only a few moves!
Increase Your Arsenal
Here’s one thing that all good dancers do: scour the interweb for interesting new moves. While the ‘Palm Drop’ was boss in level 2, everyone does it so why not check out cool variations that will set you apart from everyone else? There are literally hundreds of sources online which give free lessons for new moves. Trust me, it’s awesome to hear a lady ‘ooh’ when you pull off a simple, yet unique move.
Outing / Club Lessons
Another great way to learn new moves is by checking out the TDS (and other) club outings. There’s always a lesson at the beginning and they always try to throw in moves that aren’t taught in your regular classes. A lot of my cool moves have come from hitting up the outing lessons and from teachers who have their own style.
Free Style…Your Style
Whether you’re a rocker, r&b or even have ballet you can throw in moves from other dance styles to mix it up. You wouldn’t believe how cool it is to see someone who throw in some pop’n'lock moves or even some rockNroll kicks in their shines. While your school teaches you certain fundamental rules, by all means throw in your personal style as a regular right turn can seem like an entirely new move when you put a different vibe on it. Don’t have any previous dance moves? Check out your favourite music videos on YouTube, I’m sure you’ll see something that you can transpose.
Make-Over Your Combos
Every time you learn a new combo from class, outings or online; revert back to your ‘Salsa Matrix’ document with the moves in different columns. Take some time to see how you can mix up your current combos by randomly throwing in new moves.
When In Doubt, Steal Moves!
Sometimes when I’m feeling like my moves are stale, I’ll head down to a salsa club and watch all different kinds of leaders to see what they’re doing right and wrong. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a move that you can use (don’t forget it in between those bottles of Coronas). Don’t rip other leaders’ styles completely, but a move here and there is quite cool.
While difficult, being a combo/turn-pattern master should be a fun and adventurous process!
Feel the Music
On a final note, one thing for sure is to realize that you don’t have to do a million moves for every song!!! I can’t stress enough that your dancing should reflect the song. There’s no need for 5 whirlwind Coca Colas in a romantic-style song. Keep your moves subtle during the soft parts and amp it up a bit during the choruses. If you need any sort of validation if you’re doing it right all you have to do is look at your dance partner. If she’s smiling, you’re doing it right!
Stay Shining Salseros!
There is no question that being on a performance team makes you a better dancer. Not only do you have to remember an entire song’s choreography, but you have to take in account that 2-5 other couples are doing the same moves and you must all be in synch. Mix the moves with being on time and being aware of the couples that you’re dancing with and you’ve got one thing: a really fun experience that pushes you to your limits as a dancer.
While being apprehensive about joining the team at the beginning, I’m really starting to get into it all. From the intensity of our shines routine to the creative use of the TDS syllabus moves. This week I was really impressed with the new helpers who have just completed level 3 and are doing level 5 moves!
Trust me, doing lasso’s aren’t easy and having to learn them within a few minutes is very impressive! It’s amazing to see the team’s skills grow and to learn from Tracie and the more experienced dancers.
Must keep this one short, but week 3 was a great practice and I’m looking forward to nailing my coca cola’s down for the next one!
Stay Shining Salseros!
I always feel so good when I finish a level and while 9 weeks can just fly by, you learn so much that it would be a crime to lose that knowledge over the weeks from one level to the next. Here are a few practice tips that I use so that when I show up to the first class of my next level that I haven’t completely rusty.
Ladies Right Turn:1-2-3: Prep the Right Turn using a J-stroke (left arm makes a J type movement and ends up in a high-five position), do normal salsa basic steps.4-5-6: Apply a little pressure and give the girl a right turn by drawing a little halo over her head, complete the basic by stepping back on 5.
Musically-speaking, salsa is bold, sexy and romantic but if you don’t understand Spanish, it’s very easy to miss that lyrically, the songs are written about heartbreak, pain and suffering. The Weeping Salsa, a play currently playing at the Zocalo Theatre (Queen & Dovercourt), exudes heartbreak, pain and suffering through a masterful combination of drama and dance. While at times I found the themes were on the dark and disturbing side, the acting, dancing and production were phenomenal, making the Weeping Salsa a great event for the salsa lover.
With Dancing With The Stars’ Melissa Rycroft catching H1N1 (as well as the endless media coverage about Swine Flu), I thought it may be wise to talk about how it could affect the salsa scene. While I’m no doctor, H1N1 seems to be a highly communicable disease that could be ‘bad news bears’ for the dance floor (especially with all of you bachata-lovers out there After checking out many websites, pamphlets and reports, I thought that it would be good to list some of the precautions that the government recommends when it comes to protecting yourself and the community from the Swine Flu…
-Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use an alchohol-based hand sanitizer.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
-Cough an sneeze into your arm, not your hand.
-Keep common surfaces clean and disinfected.
-Don’t over-exert yourself (take a break when Ran Kan Kan plays)
You may have noticed that I didn’t include ‘getting the H1N1 flu shot’ with my list, but I feel that’s a very personal choice that one must make for themselves. I would love to hear your opinions about the shot as well as giving suggestions as to how we can keep the dance floors spicy AND hygienic.
Till next time, keep shining salseros!