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    Ringing into 2012!

    With each calendar year switch, I look back to the previous years’ dance resolutions and see how my dance path stayed on course or veered off path. I’m always amazed to see how much life can change in a year, and this past one was no exception. From competing to assisting to even being ‘salsa claus’; here’s how I measured up to last year…

    2011 Resolutions:
    1-Nail down the forward/reverse coca cola as well as the 360 degree cola.

    HOW I DID:
    While I smoothed out my colas, I’ve digressed from conquering the 360 cola. While I’ve done it a handful of times, I decided to perfect the lead of the regular ones before tackling the 360. Hopefully this time next year, I’ll have perfected this one and will be working on the 720!

    2-Continue my weight loss through muchos dancing

    HOW I DID:
    Here’s one I can check off (although a few weeks at my parents haven’t helped). I have to admit that most of the loss was due to fitness apps and portion control; I really have to get out dancing more to help burn off the calories! I will definitely get out dancing more often this year as I really miss the social scene.

    3-Check out a few Milongas to practice my Tango steps
    I really wish I had kept up with my Tango, but alas I did not. Perhaps I get a few bonus points for incorporating some Tango into the comp routine?

    4-Work on my afro-cuban movements
    I can check this one off. From working with the student team to Olivier and Emely’s great advice, I look less awkward while doing Afro movement.

    5-Work on on2 dancing
    I had hoped to do this, but decided to work on my On1 Performance. Perhaps 2012 will be the year that I switch?

    6-Continue working on my own style, from personalized dance moves to body movement
    I can check this one off as I spent much of my time (assisting up at the front of class) working on body movement. I feel like I’ve reached a point where the movements look much more fluid and dancer-like.

    7-Work on more dance expression and feeling the music
    This has been a really touchy point for me. While there were certain points of the year where I felt like I had made a lot of gains, there were definitely many other times where I have lost my dance expression. I have a feeling that this year I will focus on fitness, dance expression and lift technique.

    8-Learning Cumbia/Cuban style Salsa
    I really can’t check this one off. While I’ve got a good grasp of Cuban style Bachata, my Salsa Cubana is pretty weak.

    9-Attend a salsa congress outside of Toronto
    I can’t check this one off either. Perhaps I’ll go to Vancouver (which I hear is amazing) or San Francisco (as my parents live there). Maybe the trick is to go closer, like the Niagara Falls or Gateneau ones? Road Trip anyone?

    10-Get around to watching a ton of those salsa lessons online
    It’s funny as I was just thinking these past few days to get around to watching the online videos and sadly; I have yet to do so. I feel like I have to make this a weekly routine as I’ve sunk into doing pretty standard moves without much variation.

    As you can see, I can’t check off many dance resolutions for 2011. The funny thing though is that I’m not disappointed with 2011 as I learned so much! From body movements, experiencing a competition to taking a few classes outside of Toronto; I’ve grown as a dancer in many ways.

    It’s easy to get a little down from not accomplishing everything (or anything) that you originally wanted to. I feel that the beauty of dance and life is the journey of it all. True I may have not learned on2, but I definitely improved my on1, body movements and so much more. I’m completely off-track from my previous resolutions, but happily resolved in how off-track I am!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    Congress 2011 is Almost in Session!

    If you’re a little newer to dancing Salsa, you may have heard people talking (or tweeting) about the upcoming Salsa Congress. While it may sound like we’re all getting together to go voting, a Salsa Congress is a massive, Thanksgiving weekend affair featuring dance workshops, performances and swag from some of the best dancers/ musicians worldwide!

    While you may think that you’re too new to dancing to experience this amazing, once-a-year event; think again as there are a ton of experiences for you! So to make it easy for you, I’ve decided to list a few events for you to go check out (if you see me, say hello or ask for a dance!)

    Thursday Oct 6th: The Annual Canadian Salsa Dance Championships
    If you love to see amazing dancers compete (ala SYTYCD or Dancing with the Stars) you gotta check out this show! You’ll see the best of the best Canadian dancers burn the floor in some of the most compelling dancing you’ve ever seen. Trust me, it’s really fun. Oh, and there’s dancing after!

    Friday Oct 7th
    Check out Friday night for a great night of performances and great social dancing that goes really, really late!

    Sat Oct 8th Beginner Bootcamp, Workshops, Performances and Dancing!
    Feel like you need a few more lessons before going dancing? Take the extremely popular Beginner Bootcamp! From 10:30am – 5pm you can go from not knowing how to dance to impressing that cute salsera from your level 1 class!

    Know a little bit of salsa and want to expand your knowledge? There are a ton of great workshops for the beginner/intermediate from Rhythm and Body Movement, The Anti-Styling, Styling Workshop and even beginner Bachata, Zouk and Latin Hustle classes.

    Now if you don’t want to hit up any workshops, you HAVE TO, HAVE TO go to the Saturday night performances. Why? You are guaranteed to see some of the best dancing that you’ve ever seen. I’ve been each year since I’ve started and this is the night of all nights to go! Afterwards, stick around for some serious dancing to Ray de la Paz from New York City with guests Luisito Orbegoso & Moda Eterna! An amazing band that you just have to check out live.

    Sunday Oct 9th
    Sunday features more great workshops and then more performances, from seeing many local student teams, more competition and then dancing till dawn! 

    Trust me, if you can slip away from Thanksgiving celebrations, you’ll want to spend your weekend checking out the Congress! It’s an amazing experience and a great way to amp up your dancing (and maybe even get a new pair of shoes!)

    For more information, check out the official site: http://www.canadasalsacongress.com

    Till Then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    Congress Report: Night 1

    Waiting for my friends in the beautiful lobby of the Weston is a pretty nice way to start off this years’ Salsa Congress. As I sipped my Cuba Libre, one can’t help but reminisce about the past few years that I’ve been doing salsa. It seems only yesterday that I started in Ems’ level 1.

    Rushing into the ballroom we take our seats as Jennifer starts the night’s festivities. Wouldn’t you know it, but Sumeet (whom I performed with in the TDS Helper Team) is in the Pro-Am competition, and wow, he rocked it! Taking Silver, Sumeet represented Toronto Salsa in fine form! If you’ve never danced with him, ask him; or if you’re a leader, watch his style as one can learn a lot from him.

    The competition was fierce this year, ranging from Amatuer to Pro and ranging a few different dance styles including Hustle. There were so many competitors this year that we didn’t even get to dance until about midnight! I can’t complain though, as it was amazing to see dancers of such calibre. It was also great cheering for Oscar’s & Caryl’s dancers.

    One thing I found very interesting is how a crowd reacts to some performers and not to others. Many of the couples were on their ‘A Game’, but it took something special for the crowd to really show their love. A couple from Pureto Rico really blew my mind as their musicality were unmatched… mental note, ask that girl to dance.

    Speaking of dancing, it wasn’t long before the dance floor was cleared so a friend of mine and I decided that we should test it out. Spoiled from Acrobat’s floor, the first thing I noticed was that this floor was a bit ‘sticky’. Seeing how beautifully the competitors danced on it, my respect for all of them went up about 30%.

    The dancing was pretty fun although maybe it was something in the air as I was super rusty and off my game. It was fun to try out a few things from my past lesson and work on my connection as I ended up dancing quite a bit. If you’re new to the scene or a seasoned vet, come out for the workshops or dancing, trust me, it’s fun and you learn a lot!

    It was really great to see the winners of the night as you could tell how elated they were from winning…I’d love to experience that. Maybe next year?

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    October: Time for Congress and Time for Turkey!

    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

    Vendors:
    Need new shoes? shirts? DVDs? They’re all here

    Dance Performances:
    Last year I saw some of the most amazing dancing performed by teams from around the world

    Workshops:
    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

    Social Dancing:
    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!

    Cost Factor:
    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!
    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    So You Think You Can Compete?

    Are you level 3 or higher? Have the ‘Eye of the Tiger’? Want to shake what your Momma gave ya? Then enter the 4th Annual TDS Amateur Competition! With amazing prizes, tons of adoring salsa fans and an event that’s so popular that it fills 6 Degrees, you’ll have the time of your life!


    Here’s the details:


    What: 4th Annual Amateur Salsa Competition
    Where: 6 Degrees (Yonge & Eglinton)
    When: April 25th (preliminary round), June 20th (Final Round)
    Who: Any Level 3 or higher TDS student, helper and assistant who haven’t been paid to teach or to perform


    How It Works:


    Preliminary Round: All couples will dance to the same song in a freestyle, non-choreographed dance, the top 5 couples will go on to the Final Round


    Final Round: All couples will perform to a 2.5 min song of their choosing using their own choreography


    Here’s a small sampling of prizes that you could win…

    Addicted 2 Salsa Shoes
    Century Wide Shoes
    Acrobat Lounge Yearly VIP Passes
    Six Degrees VIP Passes
    Lula Lounge Gift Certificates
    Go Dance Mambo Class Certificates
    El Rancho and Plaza Passes
    TDS Gift Certificates
    And more!

    And while not confirmed, I’ve heard a few rumours that there will be passes to the Toronto & Miami Salsa Congresses!

    Stay tuned for more information and hope that you’re feeling up to the challenge!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!