Basically it’s a type of ’round’ dancing where everyone gets in a circle and does the moves the caller yells/signs out. The best part of it is that you continuously switch partners and it’s super fun. Think double-dutch ala grade 4 but with a dozen or more couples all dancing with each other!
Instructed by Daniel Guajardo and Tracie Yee, you’ll definitely be in good hands as you learn the moves and signals of Casino. Having attended the Dips & Tricks workshop, I was extremely impressed with their excellent instructional skills and look forward to Casino-ing with you all next weekend! And while you’re out to the workshop, why not stick around and check out the Sunday social?! Make sure you ask your helpers and instructors for a dance.
Stay Shining Salseros!
One of the most common requests I hear from people is for a list of salsa songs to practice to. Whether you’re new to the scene or on your way to advanced moves, having a solid arsenal of salsa songs will improve your timing, styling and steps! With this, I’ve put together a quick list of slow, medium and fast songs. Remember if you’re looking for amazing lists of songs, check out DJ Duck’s great blog where he lists his fav songs every month!
Thinking of you (salsa version) – lenny kravitz
Chinita – Gilberto Santa Rosa
Juliana – DLG
Fuiste Mia – Maelo Ruiz
Micaela – La Sonora Carruseles
Lloraras – Oscar De Leon
Yay Boy – Africando
Yamulemao – Joe Arroyo
La Comay – Sonora Carruselles
Cumbia Boogaloo – King Bongo
La Cura – Frankie Ruiz
La Pantera Mambo – Orquesta La 33
Me Libere – El Gran Combo
Ni Frio Ni Calor – Oscar De Leon
Yo No Se Manana
Ran Kan Kan – Tito Puente
Aguanile – Marc Anthony
Comerte a besos – Frankie Negron
El Avion de la Salsa – Jimmy Bosch
Meniando La Cola – Sexappeal
I hope these help! Remember if you do decide to procure these songs, be sure to do so legally!
Stay Shining Salseros!
I’m quite nervous to say, but I’ve decided to join the Helper Only Performance Class. While I’m not too sure if I’m ready for it, I’m really looking forward to challenge that lies ahead.
I always feel so good when I finish a level and while 9 weeks can just fly by, you learn so much that it would be a crime to lose that knowledge over the weeks from one level to the next. Here are a few practice tips that I use so that when I show up to the first class of my next level that I haven’t completely rusty.
Ladies Right Turn:1-2-3: Prep the Right Turn using a J-stroke (left arm makes a J type movement and ends up in a high-five position), do normal salsa basic steps.4-5-6: Apply a little pressure and give the girl a right turn by drawing a little halo over her head, complete the basic by stepping back on 5.
Musically-speaking, salsa is bold, sexy and romantic but if you don’t understand Spanish, it’s very easy to miss that lyrically, the songs are written about heartbreak, pain and suffering. The Weeping Salsa, a play currently playing at the Zocalo Theatre (Queen & Dovercourt), exudes heartbreak, pain and suffering through a masterful combination of drama and dance. While at times I found the themes were on the dark and disturbing side, the acting, dancing and production were phenomenal, making the Weeping Salsa a great event for the salsa lover.
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!
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!
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!
While being relatively new to the Toronto Dance Helping scene, one thing I keep getting asked about is timing. This makes total sense as being on beat is essential to all dance styles and couldn’t be more true for the highly syncopated rhythms of salsa. Trust me, learn to be on time and your dance card will fill up faster than the off-time person who knows a million moves.
With Dancing With The Stars’ Melissa Rycroft catching H1N1 (as well as the endless media coverage about Swine Flu), I thought it may be wise to talk about how it could affect the salsa scene. While I’m no doctor, H1N1 seems to be a highly communicable disease that could be ‘bad news bears’ for the dance floor (especially with all of you bachata-lovers out there After checking out many websites, pamphlets and reports, I thought that it would be good to list some of the precautions that the government recommends when it comes to protecting yourself and the community from the Swine Flu…
-Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use an alchohol-based hand sanitizer.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
-Cough an sneeze into your arm, not your hand.
-Keep common surfaces clean and disinfected.
-Don’t over-exert yourself (take a break when Ran Kan Kan plays)
You may have noticed that I didn’t include ‘getting the H1N1 flu shot’ with my list, but I feel that’s a very personal choice that one must make for themselves. I would love to hear your opinions about the shot as well as giving suggestions as to how we can keep the dance floors spicy AND hygienic.
Till next time, keep shining salseros!