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    Guerra Musical…4th edition

    Hello again salseros!

    It has been a while since I last wrote here but with a busy summer, it was to be expected. So now I am going to pull myself away from these sometimes thrilling, sometimes sleep inducing, political conventions and return with another edition of guerra musical. For this edition I’ve decided to pick a couple of songs that are quite direct in their imagery yet are classics of salsa (and have actually been redone many times). Let’s get to it.

    The contenders:

    1. Ven Devorame Otra Vez. Charlie Cruz & Jennifer Pena; album “Como Nunca” (2004).
    2. Desnudate Mujer. Frankie Ruiz; album “El Papa de la Salsa” (2008, though the version is actually much older than that as Frankie Ruiz suffered a Lavoe type lifestyle and died at the age of 40 in 1998).

    These songs are openly and directly about sex, no beating around the bush. However, each song approaches the topic from a much different perspective, as you will soon see. One is about a straight physical desire between two people; the other is about vindication (for lack of a better term). Anyways, let’s allow the songs to speak for themselves.

    I’ve filled my free time with more adventures
    And my mind grows with nostalgia over not seeing you
    And without thinking I’ve said your name while making love
    Because I always look for your wild sex, my love.

    Even in my dreams I’ve imagined you devouring me (pretty steamy)
    And I’ve moistened my white sheets crying for you

    In my bed there is no one like you

    I haven’t been able to find that being
    That caresses my body in every place
    Without missing a bit of skin.

    Devour me again, come devour me again
    Punish me with your desires because I’ve held my vigor for you

    Devour me again, come devour me again

    My mouth tastes like your body and it heightens my desire for you.

    Whew! Pretty hot if you ask me. Needless to say, the rest of the song follows a similar train of thought. These two people obviously have a level of lust for each other that can’t be denied any longer. The idea of becoming so consumed by someone that it is as if they are devouring you is the premise of the song and works well as a duet. Most versions of this song are sung as a single voice but the dynamic of adding a second voice with a reciprocating desire is very effective for the tone. Now for a different tone.

    I don’t know why you deceive me if I adore you
    Perhaps it was my fault for not knowing how to take charge from the beginning.

    But I didn’t know that you’d be capable of betraying me
    Capable of deceiving me.

    Undress yourself, woman
    I also want to see the art with which you make love.
    Undress yourself, woman
    I’m trembling, a little pale and a little shocked by you.
    You deceived me, your body is foreign to me
    You’re just another naked woman.

    I don’t know why you deceive me if I adore you
    I searched for you among a thousand women but I was mistaken.
    With your innocent face you played the role of a great actress.
    Its over now, the comedy is done,
    I’ve removed that mask I loved so much.

    This song is completely different in tone. This man feels betrayed and angry over what this woman that he idolized did to him (presumably cheating on him). His demand for sex is more about debasing her and making her into nothing more than an object, which is how her betrayal has made him see her. It almost seems as if he’s asking for something he never had but that other(s) that weren’t her “love” did. I find it noteworthy that the lyrics of this song are quite harsh and acerbic yet the if you simply heard the music you wouldn’t get the same sense. Let’s see how the songs fare in judging.

    Sound of the song

    I remember both these songs from my youth. In the case of Devorame, the original was a more tame version, not quite as moving but still catchy. As I said before, the duet style works for this song and I really enjoy the slightly more full sound of this version compared to older ones. One of my favourite parts is actually the base that introduces the song and the slow build up to the full instrumentation and clave. I think it is a very upbeat song with a catchy tune. The harmony between the two singers is enjoyable and helps express the desire by both of them (though not as fully as I would’ve liked). Desnudate provides a steady salsa rhythm and is simple yet effective. There are no big flares and the star of the song is the vocals. I like the ‘less is more’ instrumentation in this piece, never overpowering but just accenting the story being told. Neither of these songs is overly flashy but the sounds are undeniably addictive. Due to the extra savour given to Devorame by its intro, I will give it a slight edge here, 4.5-4.

    Danceability

    Danceability is never really a problem with salsa; if it doesn’t get your feet tapping, then nothing will. I will echo what I said earlier, these are simple salsas and finding the rhythm is not difficult. For that matter, maintaining it is also easy. This allows your mind to wander into the territory of creativity and allows your feet to simply move on muscle memory. This may not be a large deal to seasoned dancers but to those in their salsa infancy, it can be a blessing. Having said that, one song does offer a little bit more in terms of musical expression and its translation to the dance floor. Many people won’t readily recognize what the song is about so they will rely on the music to lead them and give them opportunities to change things up. It is here that Devorame has an edge as it provides a little more pure instrumentation and even some complete stops (resets if you will) to the music. This may not seem like much but it does, in fact, provide a chance to accent things. This is not to say the Desnudate does not provide it but that Devorame makes it a little more clear. So again, the edge goes to Devorame by a score of 4.5-4.

    Musical and lyrical sync

    This is one of the few times where I didn’t quite see an obvious sync with the songs and their lyrics. In the case of Devorame, it may have been because I didn’t quite feel the desire in the voices of the singers. Don’t get me wrong, they were good voices, but not quite as expressive as I would’ve liked for the tone of the song. The situation with Desnudate was different. At first hearing, the music sounds too upbeat for the lyrics but I think it is because of the sting of the lyrics that the song is that way, to lessen the bite. The question is does it work in that tone? I would personally prefer something a little more angry (a la Marc Anthony) but respect the vision of the artist. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and credit its sarcastic (I think) nature. I will also give it the edge, 4-3.5.

    Verdict

    I really enjoyed both these songs. While both deal with sex, one is clearly more happy and joyous whereas the other is bitter and sarcastic. I think both work well though they don’t necessarily sync up completely with their music. I would have a hard time saying which one I like better but the numbers clarify it for me. The winner is Devorame 12.5-12.

    Hasta la proxima,

    Sigan Bailando!

    Manuel

    Act 1, Scene 2, Song 4

    The club was especially hot on that summer night and the driving rhythms of the music propelled more and more people on to the dance floor. Exhausted from the continuous dancing, Emilio, James and Ozzy decided to take a break for some water.

    “Man, it is hot out there.”
    “I know, just like all those lovely salseras.”
    “I hear that. Wouldn’t you agree, Emilio?”
    “You’re right, Oz, no argument here. But you know, what’s stopping you guys?”
    “Hah, the problem is I can’t decide on just one. And as for James, well…”
    “Hey!”
    “What’s going on? Come on, don’t hold back on me here.”
    “Well, what can I say, someone has captured me like no other.”
    “Yeah, and you’ll never guess who?”
    “Whoa! Come on, who is it?”
    “Let me tell you about her…”

    There’s this girl that drives me crazy
    When she walks by I get all worked up
    And I don’t know what to do with that woman
    Her mouth tastes like coconut candy
    And I like to kiss her little by little
    And I don’t know what to do with that woman
    Because she is so good and so pretty
    She is the medicine my body needs
    And there is only one like her
    To me she is worth a fortune

    She drives me crazy
    She drives me crazy
    And I don’t know what to do with that woman

    “Sounds like you’ve fallen, so who is this mystery woman?”
    “Well, let’s just say she’s no stranger…”
    “What’s that suppposed to mean?”
    “Haha, looks like someone is being a bit of a snoop.”

    I have a girl that drives me crazy
    Its as if I’ve won the lottery
    And I don’t know what to do with that woman
    If she looks at me my knees go weak
    And my body shakes like an earthquake
    And I don’t know what to do with that woman
    Because she is so good and so pretty
    She is the medicine my body needs
    And there is only one like her
    To me she is worth a fortune


    “Ok, I’m going crazy wondering who it is. Come on, aren’t you going to tell your best friend?”
    “Well, the fact you don’t know yet and Oz here does means you’re clueless. I guess I’ll have to let you in on it.”
    “Oh Emilio, sometimes you’re so caught up in your own world you don’t notice those around you.”
    “Fine, fine, who is it?”
    “You see that girl over there in the red top?”
    “You mean Kim?”
    “Ta-da!”
    “Since when?”
    “Hey sometimes things just happen.”

    If she asks me to dance
    I don’t know what to do
    And whenever I see her
    I don’t know what to do
    If she sends me an e-mail
    I don’t know what to do

    “Well man, that’s awesome…no point in keeping the ladies waiting. Let’s get back out there.”

    Sigan Bailando!

    Manuel

    Act 1, Scene 2, Song 3

    The evening’s plan was simple, a night out dancing with friends. Stella and Emilio were joined by two of Emilio’s closest friends, James and Ozzy, and two of Stella’s friends, Kim and Nicole. It was a good circle and even though loyalties were obvious there was a respect and overall joy amongst all members of the party. Throughout the night, both at dinner and on the way to the club, Emilio had seemed a little detached, as if something was bothering him. Knowing him as well as they do, James and Ozzy take him aside and ask him if everything is alright.

    Begrudgingly, Emilio admits that something has been bothering him but that he’d rather not talk about it at the moment. Understanding the tone, James and Ozzy drop it, knowing that it is something that will be revisited when the time is right. However, before completely abandoning the topic, they ask Emilio if he’s sure he wants to continue with the nights festivities, to which he has only one response (a sentiment shared by all members of the group)…

    You hear it from Puerto Rico to New York
    Doesn’t matter the generation
    They recognize this song.

    From Columbia to Venezuela, Japan to Panama
    They say it in their own unique way and style
    Its a contagious rhythm that makes everyone dance
    If the people ask me for salsa than that is what I’ll give them
    I love salsa!

    As long as there are people who sing this song
    Salsa will live on in every generation
    I like merengue, bachata and reggaeton
    But I carry that flavourful salsa in my heart
    I love salsa!
    (I’m sure you all recognize this song as the one used by James and Therese in their competition performance)

    Livened once again by the promise of the fun to come, the group arrives at the club, ready to dance the night away.

    Sigan bailando!

    Manuel

    Gilberto Gil and Omara Portuondo

    Whew! Let’s take a second to catch our breaths from a frantic few weeks. It began 3 weeks ago when I attended two concerts on back-to-back days and wrapped up with the grand opening of the new TDS studio. On Friday June 27th I attended a concert at Massey Hall. The performer was an entertaining act from Brazil, Gilberto Gil and the Broadband Band. This was a highly enjoyable show with traditional and modern brazilian sounds ranging from calypso, samba, forro and reggae to name a few. As is the nature of the music, all songs were upbeat and had your toes tapping in no time. One of my favourite pieces was the reggae interpretation of the Beatles classic “Don’t want to leave her now.” Audience participation was encouraged and by the end of the night everyone was having a good time, up on their feet dancing the night away. Composed of various guitars, basses, percussion and keyboards, the harmony was complex yet simple in its enjoyment. Every song had a joyous feel and was sung with such dedication that you couldn’t help but experience the music (a sentiment echoed of the performance given the following night by Omara Portuondo, but more on that later). I only wish I knew Portuguese, my spanish allowed me to understand some but not all of what was said. Still, musically, the show was well put together and did not disappoint.

    The following night brought a performance by the legendary Cuban songstress, Omara Portuondo. This act was closer to what is known as salsa but to call it a salsa act would be an injustice to the range of music performed. Perhaps most famous for being a part of the Buena Vista Social Club, Omara’s music consists or stories from her native Cuba expressed with tenderness, love and power. The group was the topic of a PBS documentary which I recommend to anyone interested in the afro-cuban rhythm and its influence to modern day musica tropical. I must say that Roy Thomson Hall is a great place for a musical experience and the nuances of her voice carried well in the venue. Consider one piece where she sings about spurned love with the passion and scorn expected of such a song. Each note carried the emotion precisely and with equal conviction. Now, imagine following that up with a song intended as a lullaby for a little baby. The power in the voice was replaced by playful, hushed tones, making you feel as if you are in the room, looking down at the baby in its crib. For a woman well into her 70′s, Ms. Portuondo’s voice carries a quality seen in performers more than half her age, a truly great voice.

    Still, I must admit, even with two amazing acts the highlight for me was the opening act for Ms. Portuondo. The group charged with this task was the Roberto Fonseca group. The best way I could describe this group would be as a latin jazz ensemble. Consisting of drums, percussion, guitar, bass, various other instruments (flute and sax to name a couple) and Mr. Fonseca on the piano, this group delivered one great song after another. For an interview click here, with the second part here. As a former jazz musician, I have always had an affinity for the many permutations of jazz; add to that my love for latin rhythms and this group was a delicacy to my ears. As I listened to the music I could feel the layers being built on each other until the final product which was just mind blowing, a collective melody of simple complexity. The groups ability to incorporate different sounds was especially evident in the piece titled “Congo Arabe.” As you can probably guess from the title, the idea is an afro-cuban rhythm with a distinctly arabian feel. I just have to say in closing that I’ve never quite heard the piano played that way…what a treat.

    Hasta la proxima.

    Sigan bailando!

    Manuel

    2008 Amateur Competition–final wrap up


    Well, what did you all think? Friday saw the end of the 2008 TDS amateur competition…and what a show it was. 5 couples, all of them outstanding. In case you missed it, the winning performance was given by Kelly Elliott and Barry Ip. They put on a show worthy of the top prize. I wish to congratulate all of the competitors, the creativity, skill and joy on stage was visible from everyone.
    The top 3 were as follows:
    1. Kelly Elliott & Barry Ip
    2. Camela Adams & Manuel Alvarez
    3. Therese Maceda & James Kalfin
    Also deserving of recognition are Marsha Soefreddie & John Radtke and Jennifer Botelho & Tyrone Sterling, who all showed why they deserved to be in the top 5.

    Of course, none of what the performers did on stage would have been possible without those people behind the scenes. With that in mind, I’d like to thank Sharon and Evan for all the work they put into the event; George for being one hell of an MC and all the others who helped organize.

    It seems hard to believe that this journey began 3 months ago and is now done. I remember looking for a partner back towards the end of March and having Sharon suggest someone who I knew nothing about. However, I figured, let’s do it. I am so thankful that that partner turned out to be Camela Adams. We clicked instantly as a dancing duo. From our first informal meeting all through the rehearsals and choreography, our compatibility was obvious and strengthened. It was a blast putting together our final routine with her.

    Our routine began as I was researching music for this blog and came across a cd of old tango standards made into salsa by Jerry Rivera. Two songs specifically caught my attention for having a stronger tango feel. Of the two, one was my preferred choice, luckily, upon presenting Camela with 4 song options, she picked the one that I had in mind. Having decided on a song, it was time to choreograph. Taking into account that it was based on a tango and that the song (Yira Yira!) dealt with overcoming despite the world being cruel and unfair, I decided that we should make it a passionate, “us vs. the world” type of performance. In a couple of days I had carefully timed movement to music, working in moves that fit with the song. When it came time for our first practice, Camela gave her input and slowly but surely, the final piece took shape.

    From the very beginning, we both had a very exact idea in mind for costumes. All in all, the final piece was one we were both proud of and which we felt did a good job of combining tango and salsa elements into one fun package. I think what surprised me most was the expression we both put into the final performance; at no point during practice had it ever come out the way it came out on the stage. Camela had always been very good on the stage, it was about time I kept up. Right before the performance, Camela told me she would be adding a special touch to the routine. In a strange way, this brought out a certain side of me that played off extremely well with her stage presence. The way it all came together was great, a justification of the work we had put into it. I’ve never been more expressive on stage than I was on that night.

    And now it is done. No more 3 hours of practice a week, which oddly enough I kind of miss. It was quite an experience and it won’t be soon forgotten. The difference within me this year from last was stark and obvious. I can say with certainty that I have grown as a dancer and encourage everyone to cast their fear or apprehensions away and do it…it might surprise you how much you gain from it. In closing, a giant note of recognition to everyone involved, you’ve made this year’s competition memorable for many reasons….can’t wait to see next year’s version.

    Sigan bailando!

    Manuel

    Finals prep.

    Well, Happy Canada day to all. Due to the long weekend I will make this entry short. I recently attended two concerts, Gilberto Gil and Omara Portuondo. The concerts were a treat and I will review them in a later entry. For now, I will express some thoughts on the final preparations Camela and I have been going through for the final on July 4. Prior to the prelims, we had chosen a song and worked on some choreography, in case we advanced. I’ve noticed that the performance we had envisioned at that point has evolved in the past 3 weeks into something we are both very proud of and eager to perform. On Monday we had our dress rehearsal and it seemed that putting everything together gave a certain energy that had started to fade with the repetition of straight up practice. I have no doubt that the other entrants are going to have amazing performances and we only hope ours can be considered on the same level. Its going to be fun and I hope a little bit different but above all, we hope you all enjoy it as much as we do. At this point I will end this entry, enjoy this Canada day and I’ll see you at the competition.

    Sigan bailando!

    Manuel

    Guerra musical…3rd edition

    Hola salseros. For this edition I thought I’d do a merengue battle. The songs I’ve chosen may not be mainstream but they are from artists well known to fans of merengue. The first is a song by Tono Rosario and the second is by the king himself, Elvis Crespo (though not the one most automatically think of). Merengue tends to tell funny stories, or happy upbeat ones, which makes sense when you hear the music. The two contenders today do something a little differently, as you will soon see. So, let’s get to it.

    The contenders:

    1. Cortame las venas: Tono Rosario; album “Tu Gusto” (2007).
    2. Nuestra cancion: Elvis Crespo; album “Suavemente” (1998).

    Now, remember how I said these songs were different than your typical happy merengue beats? Well, one look at the translation of the title will give you an indication as to why. Cortame las venas means “cut my veins.” Now, before we get too macabre, let me put it in context for you. This is a song about the pain we go through for love, nothing more. Let’s see what the lyrics tell us.

    Cut my veins and let me bleed
    Because you live for another and you’re not coming back
    Cut my veins, do me that favour
    Because I don’t want this life if I don’t have your passion
    And I just can’t live anymore, I miss your love, sweetheart
    Come cut my veins, please, and end this pain
    And I just can’t live anymore, save me from this perdition
    Come cut my veins, please, and end this pain.

    Once you’ve stopped laughing at the video (bad video, bad hair, need I say more) and read the lyrics, you can see how the song still conveys a light mood, even if the lyrics are somewhat strong. However, this is the beauty of merengue, it has a way of making heartache seem manageable. The song speaks of a serious emotion without weighing itself down in it. The first time I heard this song I was so caught up with the catchy beat that the words struck me only after hearing the chorus a few times. It was only after really listening to all the lyrics that I understood what was trying to be said and why the lyrics weren’t necessarily shocking as much as they were perfect with the feel of the instrumentation. Close your eyes and listen to the instrumentation. It is clearly merengue but with a slightly somber sound, not quite as rambunctious as others.

    Nuestra cancion (Our Song) is a bittersweet tune. Read these lyrics and see what you think.

    I want you to remember me with this song that used to make us still
    That song that used to tell us that one day the end would come
    No, it isn’t out of spite, its just something that I want to ask of you
    Now and forever so that you will remember me

    Goodbye,
    I’m so sad ’cause today that you left I heard our song
    So that neither of us would ever forget it

    Goodbye,
    We can’t go on anymore
    I’m sorry, I couldn’t make you happy
    I’m leaving, but I take with me
    The love I felt for you
    Search your dreams and don’t think of me anymore.

    I hope you can see why this song is so bittersweet. It is a reluctant release of a relationship that was at its end yet whose memories and feelings left an indelible effect. This sounds like the lingering tremors of a romance that didn’t so much end bitterly as it simply ran its course. I know that personally this song always brings a smile to my face because it seems that Elvis Crespo manages to perfectly convey the respect deserved by the situation and capture the sentiment that both people are better off apart yet still miss each other due to the importance they each played in each other’s lives. Simple lyrics, yet effective nonetheless with a similarly subdued sound as its fellow competitor.

    Judging

    Sound of the song
    As I’ve said, the songs are both more subdued than a ‘typical’ merengue yet still clearly of the genre. On a personal note, I love the slower tempo, it provides a nice change of pace from the other hip shaking merengues. Listening to the voices, both do an excellent job expressing the emotion. Tono Rosario’s voice just seems to be crying at times which goes hand in hand with his feeling of loss and despair. Elvis Crespo interprets the song with a more composed voice that still manages to make you feel the respectful nostalgia of the song. Cortame las venas has a more complex instrumentation but I enjoy the “oh-oh oh-oh” backup vocalization in Nuestra cancion. A tough category to call and I don’t think I can. Draw: 5-5.

    Danceability
    The first thing required here is to be able to slow down the merengue moves in your head. The ususal tendency is to just go nuts and move those hips like there’s no tomorrow and drive the song to its conclusion. However, a slower merengue can give so much more opportunity for the little things that make a dance special. Having said that, there is more opportunity to do that with Cortame las venas, provided mainly by the extra instrumentation and pauses. Also notice how the lessened pace gives the chance for a little more closeness ;) . I have to give the edge to Cortame las venas, 4.5-4.

    Musical and lyrical sync
    To me, this is where the songs differ most. Not because they aren’t synced well in regards to lyrics and music, but because I feel that the emotion of one is more difficult to express than the other. Pain of loss is a strong feeling and an essential part of the human condition yet it is also easier to express. This is not to say that it is insignificant, just that it is a very real, obvious and universally understood sentiment. Being at ease with a respectful and nostalgic longing takes time. Furthermore, being happy with that longing (not in spite of or because of it) is an emotion most people know yet would have a hard time verbalizing. The lyrics of Nuestra cancion do a great job of making that clear but even in the absence of knowledge of the lyrics, Crespo’s vocals just bring it to life. In the end, merengue as a vehicle for that sentiment makes perfect sense. Category goes to Nuestra cancion, 5-4.

    Verdict
    Nuestra Cancion 14, Cortame Las Venas 13.5.

    Hasta la proxima…

    Sigan Bailando!

    Manuel

    TDS amateur salsa competition…the prelims

    8 couples for 5 spots, all deserving and all worthy of advancing. Sunday night was full of excitement, sweat, anticipation and celebration. It was great to see all these talented performers put their skills on the line and just have fun with it. I want to congratulate all the participants, you were all amazing and did a phenomenal job. The night provided many moments of anxiety, such as the draw for order, waiting for your turn on stage and of course, the announcement of the final 5. Its funny how things can change over a year. Talking to one of the competitors, we remarked how unprepared some of us were last year, not totally sure of the grandness of the event. This year, however, everyone was on their game and I think the night’s performances were a testament to that.

    In an odd turn of events, my partner, Camela, and I were pleased to hear a familiar tune chosen as the freestyle song. Juliana by DLG was one of 4 songs we had practiced to every time we got together so right away it put us at ease. We knew we danced well together but the fact that it was a song we were very familiar with made it extra special. We watched as couple after couple delivered and drew the cheers of the crowd until it was finally our turn. To be honest, I don’t recall most of what we did on that stage, and I guess in a way that was perfect because we were just going with what the music inspired us to do. Now comes the final and the fine tuning of what we hope will be an enjoyable performance for the audience and ourselves.

    I just want to give a salute to my fellow competitors…

    Andrea Ferguson & Johnathan Williams
    Marsha Soefredie & John Radtke
    Kelly Elliott & Barry Ip
    Natasha Gibson & Joseph Sackey
    Mildred Quinto & David Charing
    Theresa Maceda & James Kalfin
    Jennifer Botelho & Tyrone Sterling

    …bailaron con mucho sabor!

    Hasta la proxima…Sigan bailando!

    Preparing for the competition…

    Well, the time is here for the second annual TDS amateur salsa competition and my partner, Camela, and I have been preparing for what promises to be an eventful evening. I think I was caught somewhat off guard by what it took to seriously compete last year. My partner and I did not practice as much as we should have and as a result, our stay in the competition was short lived, yet still a valuable learning tool. This year, I can definitely say I’ve prepared better and am accompanied by someone who shares a similar feel and interpretation of the music. This doesn’t guarantee any success, but I definitely feel that we’ll be better prepared. It also puts us in an odd situation where we find ourselves having to prepare for a potential final routine without any promise that we’ll even get to perform it. Still, its been really fun going through ideas and implementing them.

    Now comes the wait. Sunday will come and butterflies will flutter and thoughts will go through minds but in the end, the competitors will just dance and have fun and someone else will choose who performed best and lives to dance another day. I want to wish the best of luck to all the competitors, win or lose, you’ve all earned the spotlight for the work and effort you’ve put into it. See you on the dance floor.

    Sigan bailando!

    Manuel

    Looking back…and ahead.

    Hola salseros y salseras!

    Another semester is near its end and its good to see so many people have continued on with salsa. Its also great to see how those people who started level 1 this semester have improved as dancers. I have to admit that my favourite part of being a helper is seeing how novices take up the dance so quickly and enjoy it as they progress. It really is a joy filled dance. So now I am finishing my first semester as the writer of this blog and I have to say I’ve enjoyed it immensely. It has been exciting thinking of ideas and writing about the music I love so much. Thanks to those of you who have given feedback and have talked to me about it in person. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. So, what is coming up? Well, with summer around the corner there will be a chance to review salsa related events like concerts and the St. Clair street festival. I will continue to write the “Guerra de las canciones” section as well as the project some of you may have recently noticed. This one is a work in progress with an adventurous path and an ultimate destination. There is also preparation for the TDS amateur competition, of which I am deeply into right now. Hope to see you on the 8th at 6 degrees for this event. Trust me, the prep for this is its own separate blog entry which I will write about in future editions (a behind the scenes look at a couples’ preparation would do well here-now let’s just see how far Camela and I go :s). So, this is the immediate direction of the blog. As I said before, feel free to make suggestions and give feedback. As much fun as I have writing it, I definitely want to make it into something you will enjoy reading just as much. In closing, its been a great first semester, let’s get ready for summer and above all…

    Sigan bailando!

    Manuel