Salsa Addiction Centre
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    Competition 2010 – Salsa Love Is In The Air…

    Do you ever get taken aback and remember why you fell in love with something, or someone? One day you’re rushing to work and then a bird flies past you and you just stop and watch it in all of it’s beauty. Perhaps your partner is sleeping in, yet again and then you spend a few moments watching them sleep and seeing them so peaceful brings everything into perspective. Last night at the TDS competition I fell in love with Salsa… again.

    Perhaps I never fell out of love, but there have been rough patches. Last night energized me as everything thats’ amazing about Salsa was present, in full-force!

    The Joys of Beginning…
    It was apparent as soon as I walked in that it was going to be a special night as everyone in the Beginner class were smiling and having a blast! If you’re ever in a slump, take the beginners’ class and you’ll find a sea of smiles. Seeing people connect for the first time on the dance floor is a sacred thing.

    Seeing Old Friends, Making New Ones…
    I almost immediately ran into a Salsera who had taken a break of roughly 8 months. It was so nice to see her radiating and dancing up a storm! I remember having a really bad night a while back and she made me feel like a million bucks with a really great dance.

    I also ran into 3 people I had the pleasure of helping in their level 1 class last term. It was truly amazing to see them on the dance floor all night and having a blast! I don’t think I had the guts when I first started out and am almost certain that within a few months that they’ll be salsa addicts.

    At Least One Great Dance…
    One of my personal goals is to try to have 1 great dance each time I go out. Last night I had about 6! I guess the stars were aligned, but something was in the air and it all came together. Mind you, I did a few bad ones and apologize for those.

    One of the greatest things about the TDS Competition is that you get to see students, teachers and performances from many of the dance schools in Toronto. I love how all of the schools in Toronto are so supportive of each other big events like last night are always a blast because diversity in dance makes us all better dancers.

    Mind-Blowing Performances…
    9 performances and all of them were rock-solid and unique! From the flawless United Salseros to the Show-Stopping iFreeStyle teams and Passionate GoDance team! I also have to say that the pre-teen champions of Latin Energy blew me away!

    Pretty in Pink…
    The TDS Ladies brought the house down in fine form! With amazing formations, shines and an insane amount of pink sparkles; they made all of us proud!

    Clash of the Titans…
    As I watched each of the five couples I found different elements of salsa that helped reignite my salsa passions. Joanna and Orlando’s routine was spicy hot, from the flamenco-esque entrance to the heart-stopping lifts they were elegance personified.

    Omid and Maysa’s routine was all about the powerful sex appeal of Salsa. Featuring insane-acrobatics and some serious show-boating; I was loving every second of it!

    Steve and Jamie were so synched and tight watching their routine reminded me of ‘Burn the Floor’ as their steps were perfect and movements were stunning.

    Miro and Julia’s performance was Salsa in it’s purest form. Who could forget Julia’s amazing floor spin?! A flawless ending to boot!

    Last but not least, Olivier and Elise’s routine was a perfect combination of shines, tight movements, stunning tricks and brilliant costumes! Something really special happened on stage and I was really happy to witness it. Congrats to all of you as it was a most amazing night.

    All I can say is thank you to everyone who made the night so amazing! I can’t wait till next year!!!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    A New Look After A Short Pause…

    Sorry it’s been a little while since my last blog, but seeing the new TDS site and now you know why. With much effort, patience and love Sharon, Evan and I have launched the new TDS site! I’m really happy with the final result, and hope that you like it both aesthetically and functionally.

    Onto the subject at hand… Last week at our outing, I found that while the energy/vibe was really great; many etiquette rules were being broken. In order for all of us to have great outings and more importantly safe outings, we need to follow these simple, common sense guides to keep our salsa from going sour.

    A small list of things I noticed that made me a sad panda:

    People walking through the dance floor, not around it
    Seriously, this is not only super dangerous for the people dancing, but if you’re walking through dancers, you’re going to get hurt.

    Massive moves on crowded floors
    Unless you’re quite experienced and can pull off big moves in tiny space, then keep them to a minimum when the dance floor gets packed. If you find that you and your partner are taking up a lot of space, here are a few suggestions:
    -take smaller steps (seems simple, but many people don’t do this!)
    -when you break-back, dont fully extend your arms. I always try to keep my arms around the 90 degree mark to keep the moves tight and small
    -if you’re dancing with someone who takes massive steps, do moves that don’t require much travelling OR, leaders keep your frames a bit stronger, so she gets the hint that she has to stay within the boundries you set

    Polite People Dance Most
    Always be polite about asking someone to dance. There’s nothing worse than someone who’s pushy or a little on the creepy side. All it takes is a simple, ‘Would you like to dance?’ If the person refuses, don’t be upset as chances are they need to rest or a little tired. On that note, please try to only refuse a dance when you’re tired, need to use the washroom or feel that the person asking is being rude.

    Don’t Just Stand There
    One of my biggest pet peeves are people who stand on the dance floor. I find that this is worse than people who walk through the floor as they are becoming a permanent fixture getting into everyone’s line of dance. Speaking of which…

    Stay On Line
    On a few occasions I had different Salseros do moves that led their women onto my line of dance, forcing a dangerous course-correction. Not only can serious injuries occur, but you throw all of the hard work of becoming a precise and great lead out the window. Did I mention that it drives me insane? There’s nothing worse than having to end a dance early because the guy beside you launched his partner into your line and onto your partner’s foot!

    Always Give Your Partner One Song
    So let’s say that the lovely person you’ve asked to dance is way below your level and not really staying on time. The best and coolest thing you can do is to try to follow/lead them as well as possible for one whole song. We were all there at one time and you’d be surprised at how quickly someone can go from novice to advanced!

    Sadie Had it Right
    Some nights I’ll see ladies sit at the side of the dance floor and wait to be asked. I say, wait no longer ladies as us Gents love love love to be asked to dance! Not only will you get to dance more but you’ll make a guy’s night!

    So while I saw a fair amount of Salsa No-No’s, I did have a wonderful time last outing and was so happy to see many new Salsero/as out on the floor! Hopefully, with these thoughts as a bit of guidance, your next salsa outing will be a bit more civil and much more fun!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    Salsa Hygiene: A few tips to stay fresh on the dance floor

    I rarely hear people make complaints about their experiences with Salsa Dancing, but nine times out of ten it has to do with personal hygiene. While it’s easy to assume that most of the odour offenders are Salseros; I’ve heard just as many complaints from men about the fairer-sex. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, one thing is for sure; unpleasant odours make for an unpleasant dancing experience.

    So what should a dancer do? Here are a few tips that I’ve discovered during my dancing experience that has kept everything in check:

    Put the following in your shoe bag:
    deodorant, body spray, breath mints/gum/melts, hand towel – with these items in your shoe bag, you’ll be reminded to freshen up each time you put on your dancing shoes.

    Refrain from smoking right before or during dancing:
    As someone who’s really sensitive to cigarette smoke, it’s very hard to enjoy a dance when it’s hard to breathe.

    Try to have breath-friendly meals before dancing:
    If you do partake in that oh-so-tempting garlic spinach dip, be sure to brush your teeth or breath mint it up before dancing.

    Bonus Tip:
    One item that I find keeps me smelling good is sun tan lotion. Not only will it keep your from getting sun-burned; but you’ll also smell like the beach: in my opinion, the greatest smell of all time!

    On a final note:
    Salsa is a sweaty, calorie-burning affair and if you don’t keep on track with your personal hygiene; you’re going to lose out on a lot of great dance opportunities. Hopefully with a few of these tips in mind, you’ll be smelling and dancing great at all of your outings, classes and performances!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    100th Post! TDS Helper Team Debut Video!!!

    Well, it’s official, the Salsa Addiction Centre has hit it’s 100th post! From Nina and Alfred to Manuel, it’s been a fun journey this far and I hope to continue the great tradition of providing great salsa info to you all! Here’s to 100 more!

    So the Helper Team’s first performance was this past Sunday and we thought we’d give you a little treat by posting the video taken to give you a sample of what to expect when we do it again on April 25th, when we, and many other great performers hit 6 Degrees for the Annual TDS Competition!

    I hope you like the video and that it inspires you to take the stage whether its performing or competing!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    Helper Only Performance Choreography: WE DID IT!

    Performing a salsa routine is like riding the scariest roller coaster of your life. The whole time that you’re waiting to go on you’re over-thinking all of dips, drops and safety but then when you get on, feel the rush and hear the cheers all you want to do when you’re done is get back on for another go.

    I don’t know if I have ever been as nervous as I was last night, waiting for our team to go on at Dovercourt house. With a packed house featuring some of the greatest dancers in the city we took the stage and really nailed it! The funny thing is that once you take the stage, all of your nerves, worries and counts seem to melt away to just having one of the best experiences of your life.

    Trust me, as of today there are 4 spots left on the student performance team… sign up, you will not regret it.

    Don’t feel like you’re not good enough or ready, Tracie will take you to the next level of dancing. When my dance partner Elise started she had just finished level 3… now she rocks level 6 moves like she’s been dancing for years… all in a span of two months!
    There is nothing better than performing and I want to say thank you to Sharon, Evan, Tracie, The Pro Team for their constant support/advice, the people who came out and cheered us on and mostly, the great TDS Helpers who challenged and inspired me on this incredible experience!
    If you haven’t seen the routine yet, come to the TDS Competition at 6 Degrees on April 25th as we’re doing our first home-team performance and can’t wait to tear the roof off!
    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    A little Dose of Salsa…

    Here are a few more tracks to check out while you’re practicing for the Salsa Competition or warming up for Sunday night’s performance from the Helper Team at Dovercourt!

    Sey - Thione Seck ( I think this may take over Yo no se mañana as my favourite salsa song )
    Hong Kong Mambo - Tito Puente
    Lo Dudo - Frankie Ruiz 

    Speaking of Salsa/Bachata 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!

    Helper Only Performance Choreography: FIRST PERFORMANCE THIS SUNDAY

    Nervous, excited and a hot pink tie.

    This Sunday, the Helper Team will be tearing up Dovercourt House at 8pm with our very first performance! Let’s just say that while a little anxious, I’m also very pumped to see how we fare outside of Empress Walk and in front of a mixed-school salsa audience. With the ladies looking fantastic in their dresses and the guys rocking pretty sharp ties, it’s going to be a great test-run for our second showing, at the TDS Competition, April 25th!

    Speaking of Performance Teams, I’m glad to see that the Student Performance Team class is filling up quite quickly. Trust me, I’ve learned so much from this experience that I’m sure you’ll have a blast taking the class. I’d also love to hear about your experiences when you start practicing for your performance! If you’re undecided if you want to take the class or not, feel free to come out to Dovercourt this Sunday and hopefully the team will inspire you to get on board!

    On a side note, I must apologize for not posting as many blogs as of late, but I’ve been working on a top-secret project for TDS and it’s been taking much of my time. All will be revealed soon, and I’m striving to get back into my regular posting routine soon enough!

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros! 

    Reader Requested Blog: Why People Get Into Salsa

    At the last outing, I was asked by a reader of the blog to write about why people get into salsa. Hearing the dancer’s interesting back-story (which shall stay in the vault), it inspired me to ask a ton of people for their own backstories. It wasn’t too long before I started to see some common themes so I thought I’d list a few stories as well as some of the more common themes.

    Sharon’s Story:

    “I got into salsa by accident.  I walked into Babaluu with some girlfriends one night and completely fell in love with the dancing and the salsa scene but I was too scared to dance :)  I watched 3 or 4 separate nights without dancing before I accepted a dance with someone, not even knowing my basic step.  It was awful (I was awful!).  I tried it a few more times and was going to give up, thinking I was a terrible dancer, when my friends encouraged me to dance with someone who was a good lead.  I danced with him and completely changed my mind about giving up.  I started going out every night of the week to Babaluu, El Rancho and other clubs that were popular at the time and within a year I started competing and teaching.”

    “I fell in love with the freedom, excitement and fun factor.  Nothing that I have ever tried has allowed me to meet so many people so quickly, gather a whole network of new friends, let me exercise my body and spirit until 2am every morning, keep me in shape, keep me de-stressed and so much more.  It was a real high!”

    Sarah’s Story:

    “I got into salsa because I wanted to do something other than science (Which is what I did when I was doing my masters) while I was doing my PhD. I told myself, I need to be active and social, to complement the brain work and quiet time in the lab work during my PhD, to make the experience of graduate school more pleasant the second time around. The rest was history!”

    Chris’ Story:

    “I signed up originally to learn some merengue then got hooked on salsa and realized most of the moves could be transferred over to merengue…so in a way it was a bonus i guess”

    My Story:
    I was really considering about getting into capoeira when I had a nasty, wrist-breaking fall. Unable to do capoeira, my friend Neel had suggested that I get into salsa as it would help my balance, flexibility and most of all, meet tons of new people. Since I’ve started, I’ve lost close to 30lbs, have met so many great people and have found myself hooked beyond belief.

    Here are some quick quotes that represent a lot of people who get into salsa:

    “I was getting over a bad breakup and didn’t meet anyone worthwhile using i-dating”
    “I really wanted to get fit without spending hours on a boring treadmill”

    “I’ve always loved the music…it’s so romantic”
    “My friends dragged me to a salsa club and I’ve been hooked since!”
    “Thanks to salsa I have one less, left-foot”

    There are so many intriguing salsa origin stories out there. If you ever get tired at a club, just ask anyone about their reasons for learning how to dance and you’ve got yourself a great conversation!

    So, why did you get into salsa? I’d love to hear about it…

    Till then,
    Stay Shining Salseros!

    A Little Dose of Salsa…

    Just wanted to quickly post a few songs that have been repeating on my iphone lately…

    Hasta El Sol De Hoy – Edgar Joel (killer melody, super chorus)
    Cantinero De Cuba - Semino Rossi (this song drips with sex appeal)
    Lagrimas Negras (guitara) - Cachao y Maria Dolores Pradera (another sexy track)

    Non-Latin Songs:
    I Can Transform Ya - Chris Brown (I know, I know, but this song is amazing and it’s more Swizz Beatz than Chris)
    This Too Shall Pass – OkGo (The video is brilliant, the song simply rocks)
    Soldier of Love – Sade (My favourite female singer returns, I’m dying to make a bachata version of this)

    Why Non-Latin Songs you ask? Why not. Get out there, experiencing all genres of music help only improve your understanding of Salsa and the other Latin styles.

    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!