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    Good, Good, Good Salsa Vibrations

    Toronto Salsa Dance Outings
    Ah Springtime, and while the Sunshine seems to be quite fashionably late, now’s a great time to celebrate the season with something new! Whether it’s trying out a new class, checking out a new social or listening to some new tracks; there’s plenty ways to freshen it up!

    You’d be surprised at how taking a different type of class can help your dancing! Taking both Tango and Hip Hop really amped up my dancing by helping improve my frame as well as musicality. If you’re looking to get back into shape, there’s no better way to have fun doing than Zumba & Pilates classes. Not only are they crazy fun, but they’ll amp up your shines and stepping ability.

    For those of you who have only been comfortable with going to one of the socials, perhaps it’s time to check out some of the various socials TDS and Toronto offer. While Sunday socials are great for beginners, Wednesday Bachata night has grown into an amazing party where some of the dancers bring sweets & treats for everyone to enjoy! Our Friday outings at Uptown loft are always a blast in which many of the great dancers from all the schools in Toronto come out to enjoy the TDS social vibe. And last, but not least, check out our Saturday Bachata parties! Featuring lots of surprises, and usually hosted by the mighty Lucky; you’re guaranteed a great night of sassy Bachata time.

    There are literally a ton of ways to find new Salsa hits and old favourites. A few of my fav ways is to go to youtube.com and type in ‘salsa playlist’ or ‘salsa 2013′ or ‘marc anthony playlist’ and you’ll hear a ton of great music. Another great site is songza.com, in which you get playlists based on mood. You can easily type in salsa and get many playlists filled with great songs. You’d be surprised at how a new song or two can brighten your spirits and pump you up for going out for another round of dancing.

    Whether its great new songs, a new class or a great night of dancing; you’ll be shaking off Winter and heating things up for what’s sure to be a great Summer. Till then,

    Stay Shining Salseros!

    Train Every Salsa Dance

    A marking of a true Salsero, is one who uses every dance to improve. Whether it’s your basic, a new shine or styling; use your time to increase your skill. Not only will you find much satisfaction from seeing your skill improve quickly, but you’ll feel great from maximizing your time.

    -Pick one aspect to your dancing that you’d like to work on, and try to be conscious of it during a pre-determined amount of time (1 song/30 mins/1 hour/1 outing). During that time period, be sure to add that move/shine/style as much as you can without worrying your dance partner.

    -For example; if you’re working on your Suzie-Q shines, be sure to practice it in every song for an hour. Once the hour passes, try to practice your hair combs.

    Looking for something to work on? Try searching YouTube for Shine, Style and Technique videos and then get to work!
    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    Don’t Despair About Your Enemies, Learn From Them

    No matter what aspect to your life, at some point someone you don’t care for will appear. Whether it’s that hardcore guy from accounting, the creepy lady at the gym or most importantly, the dancer who makes your skin crawl; learning from your enemies will help you grow. While it may not be readily apparent, there’s always something to learn from them and by bettering yourself, you’re in a sense, getting sweet revenge.

    Sure, the jerk on the dance floor is all over the map, crashing into people and always seems to choose to groove near you. Perhaps there’s something that you don’t readily see that you can learn from? Maybe it’s the way they make their partners feel the music, or always seem to have them laughing or does some really sweet isolations?

    Recently, I had someone I occasionally work with disrupt my work-flow by being overly aggressive and rude to me. While it definitely hurt to deal with, I found myself avoiding this person at all costs, which exacerbated things.

    To make a long story short, I decided that instead of avoiding and stoking the aggressive nature of this relationship, I decided to be positive and observant of them, to discover any gems of knowledge that I could, in turn, use to bettering myself.

    Being a very accomplished artist, it was easy to not only pick up on great practices from them, but to work directly with them on how to improve my own techniques. I’ve found that since I’ve taken this stance that our relationship has been excellent and I’ve felt happy to have let go of the ‘hate’ and truly value the education that I’m receiving.

    Back to that annoying dancer, have you thought of anything that you can learn from them? If you’re stuck and truly think that this person is still pretty much a nuisance look at it this way, this person may be just far less experienced than you and is just trying to get by. Perhaps instead of sending aggression their way, try to help help them? You never know as you may find you and your previous enemy helping better each other… or at least you won’t feel as annoyed when they step on your toes.

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    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:

    Post Competition Thoughts

    Well, the Annual TDS Competition has passed and it seems that each year gets better than the last! This year saw some amazing performances, especially the sultry song from Tracie Yee. With one great event passing, here’s whats going on to make sure that you have one amazing Summer of Salsa!

    Get fit with our Zumba fitness classes! If you haven’t heard of the Zumba craze yet, put on your lulu’s and head down to Empress to get bikini-ready with this Latin-Fitness dance party.

    Sexy Bachata-Sutra time. Learn the most romantic of the Latin dances, Bachata by either joining Tracie and I on Weds nights or taking your dance to the next level with Lucky’s Bachata-sutra. If you’ve never seen Lucky dance, there’s a reason he usually has a line-up of dance partners looking to enjoy his amazing Bachata skills.

    Want to take your dance to the next level? Try the upcoming Helper-only Performance Class. Challenge your moves to some amazing Choreo, set at an advanced pace.

    If you’re looking for more outings, we have our Bachata/Salsa Wed Night parties as well as our Sunday Socials. Stay tuned for more Saturday night theme parties!

    If you’re looking for some non-TDS dancing, there’s always Sidewalk Salsa (at the corner of Spadina and Bloor), Salsa at Blue Mountain (june 22-24) and Salsa on St. Clair (July 7 & 8).

    Keep your eyes peeled as I hear that there are some really cool specialty workshops coming up! As soon as I hear more, I’ll put them up.

    Till then,

    Stay Shining Salseros!

    Competition Time!

    You may have noticed that lately, a handful of dancers have been furiously showing off their moves at our socials. Or you may have noticed some people carefully watching who’s dancing with who and how they’re doing… Well, my friends, it’s that time of year again… TDS Competition time!!!

    Ever since Sharon, Evan and the gang have announced that registration is open, I’ve seen many eligible dancers take to the floor and have been sizing up their potential dance partners. I’ve also had a number of said dancers approach me for advice and my thoughts about the yearly ‘Salsa-Mania’ main event. So whether you were witness to last years’ festivities or a competition virgin who’s been thinking about competing, here’s a little bit of advice from someone who’s lived it…

    The Annual TDS Competition takes place every year, usually between April – June and feature only TDS students, helpers and assistants competing for some pretty awesome prizes! There are two rounds, preliminaries and finals.

    The Preliminaries (or Prelims) have up to 15 couples who all dance to the same song, in which they won’t know until the night of. This round is all about seeing who has the fundamentals…timing, leading, following. That night only 5 couples will go through to the finals!

    The Finals have the top 5 couples from the Prelims dancing to a choreographed song of their choosing. This round is about the whole presentation: musicality, performance, costumes, etc! The top three winners get some pretty awesome prizes and have all gone on to serious TDS and salsa glory!

    So, are you thinking about competing? Here are some pieces of advice from someone who’s been through it all:

    -If you’re scared, dont’ worry! Everyone is scared about competing when they first sign up. I was pretty scared last year, but it goes away soon enough.
    -If you’re gunning for first place, be prepared to work. Many dancers spend many nights and weekends practicing to perfection!
    -Think you’re not a good enough dancer yet? You wouldn’t believe how getting ready for the competition amps up your dancing. Even if you don’t win first place, you’ll still walk away being noticed for how great your dancing has become.
    -Pick a good partner that you click with and you know will put in the work. It’s just like doing a project in high school, if only one of you puts in the effort, it shows.
    -Don’t worry if you don’t know how to perform, not only do you get a great group lesson with Tracie that teaches you the ins and outs of the competition, but you also get a really awesome private with Evan!

    If there’s anything that I can stress is this: TDS is such a great and fun family environment that you probably won’t get too stressed out. All the teams look out for one another and keep the atmosphere light. So sign up and really have fun while enjoying the entire process!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!


    TDS Valentines Party! Shenanigans, Performances and Threesomes… Oh my!

    If you’re looking to spice up your Valentine’s weekend, look no further than the TDS social at acrobat this Saturday! Whether you’re a salsa-single or an advanced latin-lover we have a ton of fun events planned for the evening! So be sure to wear your highest pumps or finest kicks, because our V-day social is by far the most popular night!

    Fun Events, You Say?

    Looking to add some sass to your salsa?
    Take either the beginner or intermediate lessons.

    Love watching other people do it?
    We have performances from the amazing Latin Groove Productions and United Salseros teams.

    Love watching other people do it with two partners?
    Come see the TDS student performance team do a salsa threesome! Yep… that’s one guy and two girls!!!

    Wanna check out the new guy?
    TDS’ newest teacher, Shawn Bracke will be performing some serious hip hop!

    Thinking that this isn’t enough?
    As usual, there will be a ton of salsa shenanigans in which you can win some serious PRIZES!!!

    So what are you waiting for? Come to Acrobat Lounge (2464 Yonge St.) this Saturday from 8:45pm! We have a ton of lessons, dancing, performances and shenanigans to keep you feeling sassy all week long!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!


    Dance Like Barbie

    While working on my multiple-turn lead, I’ve noticed that I’ve picked up a nasty habitby putting my lead hand way too high when turning my partner. A weird lead no doubt, but one that is very common. While I can really focus on keeping that lead hand closer to proper halo height, I feel that the real culprit is that most followers aren’t using ‘Barbie’ technique.

    You’re probably thinking, wait, that Barbie? Yes, I do mean the one and only Plastic Princess of Pink. Now, before you pronounce me crazy, I want you to think about how Barbie’s arms are slightly bent. When her arms are down, they are in the perfect position for being lead with perfect tension. When you move her arms upward, they are in the perfect position for being guided through her turns. If you start to dance thinking ‘must dance like Barbie’, you’ll be benefitting everyone.

    First, let’s look at the proper form… when you get ready for a turn, try to always keep your arm bent somewhere close 90 degrees and keep your elbow parallel to shoulder (it should be in front of your face, closer to your forehead). If you keep your arm in that position, it’ll help you keep your balance.

    Next, you should try to turn ‘as a unit’. Imagine that you’re a more flexible Barbie. What I mean by this is that when you’re being turned, that your torso and your arms will be pretty solid and both turn at the same time. When your arm moves before your torso, you’re dancing with what we call ‘spaghetti arms’ because the turning connection becomes very weak/limp. It makes it almost impossible to turn and you really lose the one thing that Salsa is all about, manipulating momentum.

    By keeping your arm slightly bent and moving as a unit, the guys’ lead will be better as his hand will be at proper halo level. You’ll be teaching your leads to guide more effectively and everyone will benefit. Take a look around and see how many people are leading turns improperly… you’ll see tons of people in the correct position at the beginning of the turn and suddenly they’re raising their arms straight up in the air mid-turn!

    So ladies, be like Barbie and gents be sure to summon their ‘inner Ken’ in order to keep your partner looking great with proper technique!

    Till then,

    Stay Shining Salseros!

    Summer Salsa Fun

    Summertime is my most favourite season for Salsa dancing! Whether you’re spinning at a sweltering club or open-breaking somewhere outdoors; it just feels like you’re somewhere exotic. I’ve decided to list a few of the great summer dancing events that you can go to truly feel like you’re living the music!

    Sidewalk Salsa
    Every Thursday from 730-930p.m. Break out your clave and burn the pavement at the corner of Bloor and Spadina! Nothing
    beats dancing outdoors with the great people who never miss this event!

    Salsa on St. Clair
    While this event just passed us by; it’s one of the best! Bands, schools and dancers put on one of the most fun Salsa street parties in the world!

    The Beaches Jazz Fest
    Get a tan and dance the weekend away! A dedicated Latin stage means the Salsa, Merengue and Bachata will accompany you while you get that perfect tan!

    Wasaga Beach Party
    A somewhat more informal party, people usually put together a great beach b.b.q. and dancing on one of the nicest beaches in Ontario. Think bikinis and bachata! Woot!

    VIP Thursdays
    Check out our very own, D.J. Duck and Romantico as they heat up the newest Salsa hotspot on Thursday nights.

    Lula Lounge
    One of the greatest clubs to see live bands from across the globe! When you walk in, you’ll swear you’re in Cuba and when you hit the floor, you’ll know it!

    Acrobat Fridays & Tds Saturdays
    A serious dancers’ favourite, Friday nights feature performances, instruction from many teachers and just amazing dancers. Come dance on the special Saturdays when Tds hosts their outing as it’s more relaxed, but still really fun!

    Plaza and El Rancho
    Two of my fav places year-round as the music is a great mix (even playing Reggaeton) and the people come out to just have fun. Be sure to check out the special Brazilian nights as you can dance Samba, Zouk and Lambada (that’s the forbidden dance!)

    A Toronto standard in the heart of Yorkville. Great dancers and new dancers take to the floor in this more upscale club. Be sure to check out the On2 and Cuban nights.

    6 Degrees Salsa Tuesdays
    Put on your finest dancing gear as this club features some of the best and dressiest dancers in the city. Be sure to check out their special long weekend salsa parties, with the amazing ‘White Party’ coming soon!

    Tds and Dovercourt Sunday Socials
    While I’m biased towards the Tds social, both events feature new and advanced dancers having a blast, dancing the weekend away! Whether you missed asking that cutie to dance on the Friday night, be sure to not miss your chance at these Sunday parties!

    I love dancing in the summer and whether you’re outside or indoors; be sure to keep dancing as it’ll help you get closer to having that beach-body ready!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!