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    thank you!

    While I’m not one for self-promotion, I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank everyone who took the time to send positive helper comments my way and to those who have made a big difference in the past year. Seeing how there are so many great helpers, I was amazing to have won the award and am quite honoured. Thank you once again and am looking forward to seeing you all on the dance floor.

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    New Years Salsa Resolutions…

    With the last few days of the ‘aughts in our midsts, it’s time to state for the record my salsa resolutions for 2010. While not all of these may apply to you, I encourage anyone else to join me in fulfilling these during the new year…

    1-Dance with more people
    2-Work on body styling (finally get that cool weight-shifting mambo hip action)
    3-Working on strengthening my lead
    4-Work on taking smaller steps and executing moves with less space
    5-Learn 20-30 new moves and improve my coca colas
    6-Practice the moves learned in the workshops (dips, casino and most importantly, on2)
    7-Put my all into the performance team (and dance enough weight off to look good in those crazy-tight performance outfits)
    8-Writing more blogs that hopefully will inspire and inform
    9-Attend at least 3 days at the salsa congress and show love to all salsa schools by attending their parties and events
    10-Attending way more Sunday Socials at Empress
    I’m sure there are a ton of more resolutions to make, but I think ultimately the key is to get out there, try new things and dance, dance, dance!
    Till then, 
    Stay Shining in 2010 Salseros! (see you at Acrobat NYE)

    A little dose of salsa…

    Need a quick fix of salsa songs? The Salsa addiction centre will be posting a few tracks each week to keep your playlists fresh and spicy!

    Here are a few songs that I’ve heard in class, at clubs and outings…

    Speaking of Salsa music, have you checked out Dj Duck’s Salsa mixes? Each month he posts great tracks from current hits to Salsa classics!

    Hope you like these as much as we do!
    Till next time,
    Stay Shining, Salseros!

    Get the lead out – A few survival tips to becoming a better leader

    It was roughly one year ago where I went out to a salsa club, dug up the courage to ask a girl to dance and try out some of my new salsa moves. It was roughly 30 seconds later that she politely ended the dance and I decided that I had enough of dancing for the night. It was somewhere in between a few misdirected turns and prematurely losing a dance partners’ interest that I made a pact with myself to become a solid salsa leader, at any cost necessary.

    Here are some of the things that I’ve done to improve my lead over the past 12 months:

    Learning to dance on time.
    Dancing on time is paramount and I recommend practicing as much as possible to stay on time. Need help with timing? Check out my previous post on timing.

    Learning to read your partner.
    Solid leading isn’t about doing a million turn-patterns, it’s about observing your partners’ body language and adjusting your moves/style to better match hers. Starting with the basics and throwing in a few turns will give you a good sense if you should amp up the moves or keep it simple. Learn to read your partners well and your dance card will always be full.

    Guide, not force your partner.
    This is easier said than done and the number one cause of frustration for beginners. Simply put, a leader guides their partner by using confident signals (J-stroke for a right turn, hand flags for in-and-outs, etc) and not by forcing them with Wookie-like strength. If you feel that you must make your partner do a move by adding more force then fall back to moves that they do feel comfortable with. It’s not ‘he who has the most moves wins, its he who has the most dances’.

    As for developing the proper amount of resistance, the best way to learn is to dance with as many partners as much as possible. Whether it’s at the Sunday Social or a friend from class, ask them to let you know if you need to apply more or less ‘juice’ in your leads. While it may hurt at first, after a while you’ll instinctively develop the right pressure for everyone you dance with.

    After I made my pact to become a better leader I practiced the basics and all of the moves I was learning every chance I could get. This meant everything from one-hour drill sessions in my living room to getting out to the outings and clubs as much as possible.

    Observe other leaders.
    When you’re not dancing, use the opportunity to see more experienced Salseros on the dance floor. See how they style, move and communicate with their partners as they dance. It may seem weird at first but trust me, you’ll pick up little things here and there and will be a true leader in no time.

    Fake it till you make it.
    I’m a huge believer in this one. Be confident even if you are not even close. Take comfort in the fact that you’re just beginning and that you’ve got a lot to learn. It’s the learning that’s the fun part and every step you take out there is one step closer to leading mastery!

    Have some tips of your own, I would love to hear from you!

    Keep Shining, Salseros!

    I’m too sexy for my (Empress) walk

    Elton & Velina’s ‘Sexy Bachata Workshop’ was so sexy that it drew a massive crowd of passers-by getting a glimpse of the sensual and romantic dance of the Dominican. With a few blushes at the beginning E&V managed to teach proper form, new basic, turns and a pretty complex combo within 90 mins! Having personally experienced the class I highly recommend that if you want to put some spice in your bachata step, I would email TDS and see when the next one will be scheduled!

    Great job Elton & Velina!

    Find going out to salsa dance a little scary? Grab a costume and check out our Halloween Party!

    One major step to becoming a true Salsa addict is to overcome the fear of dancing outside your classroom, ( especially for leaders as it takes time to craft the art). Have no fear, our Halloween Costume party is here! Well, next Saturday to be exact. With the majority of Salseros dressing up, you will have the security of disguise as well as an amazing time dancing with a group of people whom I’ve come to discover as one of the most patient and fun group to dance with.

    Here’s a little story from when I was about 4 classes into my level 1…

    While still very new to the salsa scene, I was getting anxious to get out and see some seasoned salsa dancers in action (as well as to perfect my forward, side-to-side and ‘back-across-together’ steps). It was an outing to Acrobat (which just so happens to be the same location for this weekends’ party). After reviewing the level 1 DVD a few times, I got ready and headed down to check out the event with a friend I met in class. The place was packed and we were amazed to see some of the most amazing moves!

    Within 15 minutes we decided to leave.
    Why? Because everyone was so good and we were so not. What happened next basically forged my love for the dance. As we walked towards the exit we were stopped by our level 1 instructor, Emely. She had noticed that we were leaving and she took the time to give both of us a few dances. It definitely made our night and showed us that the TDS gang are out there to get everyone dancing. After that we noticed a few girls from class and spent the night practicing our basics together.

    The morale of the story?
    Whether you’re a level 1 with 1 class under your belt or maybe even haven’t taken a lesson; TDS outings are the place to break in your dancing shoes. If you see a helper/instructor from your class? Ask to dance with them and they will love to.

    If you’re still feeling nervous you can take comfort knowing that if you weren’t on your ‘A’ game your dance partner will think it was Captain Jack Sparrow, the Sexy Princess or the Zany Zombie that they danced with.

    Have a Spooky Halloween and hopefully a not-so-scary time on the dance floor!!!

    Acrobat Lounge on Saturday October 31st at 8:45pm!
    2464 Yonge Street (N of Eglinton). Beginner/Intermediate lessons from 9:00 – 10:00pm. Cover is $10. Prizes for best costume including $150, Acrobat passes and more. Open to everyone. 300ppl expected.

    Need practice music? The Salsa Beat Machine will blow your mind!

    While I’ve only been a T.D.S. helper for a little while now, one thing that I’ve noticed many students say is that they don’t really know where to start when it comes to music to practice to. While a list of songs is a good start, imagine a free online app that not only allows you to choose the tempo but also the key and instruments that song features! This tool is called the Salsa Beat Machine and an invaluable part to any salsa dancers’ arsenal.

    Check it out here.

    Why would I want to use the Salsa Beat Machine?
    Imagine that you just learned how to do a new move that you couldn’t quite get during your last class. You want to practice the move but find that all of your salsa songs are way too fast to get it right. Just go to the S.B.M.’s website and click on the arrows by BPM to speed up or slow down the song.

    Don’t like the key? feel free to change it.
    Want to change the melody? Click the piano icon in the ‘instruments’ channel and change the ‘program’ options.
    Having trouble finding beat 1 or 5? make sure the ‘instructor’ icon is selected and you’ll hear him call the beats out.

    These are just a few features of the S.B.M. but all in all it provides countless options for melodies, rhythms and instrumentation to give you complete control over your salsa needs!

    Welcome to the Salsa Addiction Centre

    Hello, my name is Tony and I’m a salsa addict. Whether I’m listening to El Gran Combo on my ipod or learning a new move in class, there’s rarely a day where I’m not fueling my addiction. In fact, my love for salsa has consumed me so much that listening is no longer enough and even dancing is no longer enough… that’s where the Salsa addiction center comes in.

    Welcome to the premier edition of the Salsa addiction centre, a place to get your fix for all things salsa. From tips on timing to doses of dance lessons, the Salsa addiction centre’s goal is to tide you over until the next time you hit the floor! So feel free to give your comments & suggestions on future posts as we’re excited to fueling your addiction as best as we can!

    With that being said, cue up the clavs as the addiction centre is officially open.

    Thanks to all those who took time to read the ‘salsero’s soundtrack’ blog, I appreciate it. I hope I was able to give you some insight into the songs you hear so often, it was a great pleasure writing them. Unfortunately, I have not had the time to update the blog as regularly as I would like or as regularly as the reader deserves. I wish the next person that takes over all the best in providing their own twist to the salsa community.

    Muchas gracias y sigan bailando!


    A Halloween Story…

    As she stepped into the club from the cool October air she could already hear the rhythms taking over her. After a long week this was her way of unwinding. Out on the dance floor nothing else mattered but feeling the music and expressing it with the movements of her body. She usually went out with friends but had decided that this night she just wanted to go on her own. She knew this club and the people, so she was never really alone, still for all intended purposes it was just her tonight.

    Truth was that she was hoping to see him this night, an encounter she wanted to be private. Stepping up to the bar she scanned the room and saw many familiar faces but not the one she was really hoping for. She greeted people who came up to her and danced for a few songs, all the while maintaning a look out. The time was nearing 12:30 and she knew that the DJ consistently changed the music at this time, from the exuberating rhythms of salsa to the sensual sound of bachata. It was like an internal clock the club provided its patrons.

    Sure enough, right on cue, the salsa ended and gave way to the twang of the bachata guitars. She recognized the song, the DJ always played it; she figured it was one of his favourites…it was one of her’s as well. The song was “Llorando Penas” and it was one of the most beautiful songs she could recall. The pace of the song caused partners to hold each other closely and through this she saw him. He was smiling at her from across the room and they both started moving towards each other. They came together with tenderness and passion and started dancing like long time lovers enjoying the ecstasy of being with each other.

    The first words of the song were heard and she rested her head on his shoulder as they began their dance.

    I’m crying of regret

    without your love

    So alone and without your heart

    I cry like a child

    Their bodies move as one. Nothing intricate, just swaying to the music. His arms holding her close, her breath warm on his shoulder.

    I want you to listen well

    To what I say now

    I can’t be without you

    I miss you

    In her mind she remembered the times they’ve shared, many of them in this club and to this very song. It was their own thing, an obvious attraction and longing. Regardless of this, circumstances always kept them apart to the point where this was the only time they could be together. She figured this was why they always made such an effort to share these nights… alone, together.

    Why did you let my poor heart fall in love with you?

    So that today I would be suffering without your love

    Without your presence?

    Why did you let those lips that taste of honey

    Sweeten my soul?

    So that I now feel the bitterness of knowing that you no longer love me?

    They turned to look at each other, staring into each others’ eyes. Tears were forming but so were smiles. There was no need to say anything, the moment said it all. Still, why not say something when you felt it?

    Today I’m crying

    Crying of regret for your love

    Today that you’re no longer here

    I want to know why you don’t love me

    Today I’m crying, its true

    And its something I can’t stand

    You left me, without your love

    And my heart will die of shame.

    The song strikes its final chords and with eyes still locked they each whisper “I love you” and share an embrace. They walk off the dance floor in silence, share a final moment and part ways. The moment is bittersweet but they know they’ll see each other soon, its become a yearly tradition.

    The night has gotten colder as she leaves the club. She reaches into her purse, looking for her cell phone. There is a missed call, her husband has called her, letting her know he’s back from his night out with his friends and that he’ll see her when she gets back. Hearing his voice brings a smile to her face and a warm feeling in her heart. She calls him back and tells him she’ll be home soon. At the moment she wants nothing more than to be in his arms. Just one more thing to do.

    Putting her phone away she reaches for her keys and as she pulls them out they fall to the floor beside a lamppost. She bends down to pick them up and notices the flowers set up around the post. This makeshift memorial had been set up a few years ago to the day, of this she was sure since she had been the one who had mournfully placed the first flowers in honour of the young man whom she had just been dancing with. “Til next year,” she says as she walks off to her car and heads home.

    Happy Halloween!

    Sigan bailando!