Monthly Archives: February 2008

So You Think You Can Dance Canada!

To all the amazing Canadian dancers out there, here is an exciting opportunity to see some Canadian dance talent. This press release was taken from the ctv.ca website. Anyone going to audition?

“CTV’s ‘So You Think You Can Dance Canada’ embarks on audition tour”

Canada, it’s time to prove you’ve got the moves!

CTV announced Thursday that “So You Think You Can Dance Canada,” a Canadian version of the hit international series, will embark on a cross-country search for the finest dancer in the land.

“Whether they hone their craft at ballet school, in the clubs or on the streets, dancers share the same dream: to express their passion for dance on stage,” says Susanne Boyce, President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc.

“‘So You Think You Can Dance Canada’ provides that stage for the broad spectrum of dance talent this country has to offer in a way never seen before.”

“So You Think You Can Dance Canada” will showcase dancers as they compete to impress an expert panel of judges during a cross-country audition process.

Selected competitors will be invited to call-backs where they will work with some of Canada’s top choreographers. The panel will then choose the Top 20 dancers to move on in the competition.

Then, it’s up to Canada to decide who stays and who goes as the public votes for their favourites following weekly performance episodes in which the competitors are assigned different partners and dance styles to perform, from hip-hop, krump and pop-and-lock to salsa, quickstep, ballroom, and jive.

The five-city tour will visit Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and one more city yet to be announced.

Complete audition information, including dates, locations and eligibility requirements, will be revealed soon.

CTV and production partner Danse TV Productions are also currently casting for the host and judging panel for “So You Think You Can Dance Canada.”

The series premieres this fall on CTV.

“So You Think You Can Dance Canada” is based on the Emmy Award-winning smash hit series created by Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe that premiered in 2005.

Canada joins the United States, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Greece, Poland, Turkey, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa and Israel as markets with an original “So You Think You Can Dance” production.

The original “So You Think You Can Dance” is a Top three summer series in Canada on CTV with an average audience of 1.25 million viewers.”

2nd Annual Toronto Dance Salsa Competition?

Well it is that time of the year to start to think about holding our annual competition. We had our first competition last year with great success. Over 600 people attended the finale with 10 couples competing and many local great salsa dance teams performing.

Here are the rough details of the competition. We will only hold the competition if we have 10 couples interested so please let me know who is interested in competing so we can get the ball rolling.

Any current Toronto Dance Salsa student, helper or assistant who has finished level 2 is eligible to compete. If you have been paid to teach your own group salsa class or to perform salsa professionally you will not be eligible.

There will be a preliminary round where couples will not know the song being played so it is a freestyle round. The music will play for 2 minutes and couples will compete for 1 of 5 spots in the finals round.

For those who make the finals round, they will have to choreograph a 2 minute routine to their own choice of salsa music.

Prizes last year included congress passes, dance shoes and much more.

Holding the competition takes a lot of time and energy. So if you are interested in competing or assisting, please email me at info@torontodancesalsa.ca

Looking forward to hearing from you all!

Saturday’s Helpers Get Together

As per tradition many of the helpers gathered at our place Saturday evening for a potluck and games night. We had about 40 helpers in attendance which was great to see and everyone had a chance to get to know the new helpers and catch up with everyone else.

This is the second helper party at our place and I think it is going to become tradition to move all our furniture, blast the salsa music and dance the night away. The Dance-All-Night Award would probably go to John Radke and Emely Tapar – I don’t think I saw them stop dancing which is a good thing because the food and dessert tables were overflowing.

We also surprised Alfred for his 35th birthday. Nina dropped off a huge cake and decorations the day before and all the helpers hid upstairs and shocked poor Alfred. It was Alfred’ first surprise party and hopefully we didn’t scar him for life. Happy birthday Alfred!

Our next helper get-together is on March 15th. I am treating all the helpers to a snowtubing and dinner experience at Horseshoe Resort. Should be a blast – photos to come!

How to become a better dancer off the dancefloor

Even on your days off from attending salsa classes, salsa outings and salsa practice sessions, you can still improve your dancing!

Here are some things that you can do to keep yourself developing and growing as a dancer:

- Practice spins, body movement, footwork, shines at home
- Stands on one leg to gain balance while doing chores, waiting for the bus, etc.
- Listen to salsa music and pick up the different instruments, beats, accents
- Take other dance classes and exercise classes to improve flexibility, agility, strength, choreography and more – hip hop, jazz, ballet, belly dancing – everything helps!
- Drum along to the different parts of the salsa beats
- Visualize the dance moves you have just learned before falling asleep at night
- Practice shoulder rolls and shimmies while driving in your car
- Follow a salsa instructional DVD at home
- Read salsa forums and articles to gain more knowledge and info on the dance
- Stretch daily to improve flexibility
- Write down the moves you have learned and how to execute them

These are just a few things you can do while you are away from the dance floor that can help your dancing…anyone have any other tips?

Ladies Styling Class

Hey ladies!

Some students have been asking me what the Ladies Styling class is all about so here is some info:

I know you have heard about ladies styling and sometimes do a little styling in your classes but if you want to take your dancing to a whole new level and look smoother and sexier you will have to dedicate time and practice to the art of ladies styling.

Every 9 to 12 months we hold a Ladies Styling class for women only. Caryl, who is an amazing stylist, teaches this class on Wednesdays at 9:15pm at the Adelaide Club. It begins on March 26th for 9 weeks. In this class you will learn how to incorporate body waves, ripples and shimmies into your salsa dancing. Footwork, body movement, and body styling is emphasized. You will be able to add some personality to your dancing while looking sexy and stylish. There will be styling added to your turn patterns, to your shines and to your basics.

If you have completed level 2 (or with instructor permission) then this class is for you. It is limited to 25 women. There are no men in the class so it is a comfortable environment to really work on your body movement and styling without feeling self-conscious.

Hopefully this gives you some idea as to the style of the class. Enjoy!

Which class should you choose?

So we still get a lot of level 1 students who attend the intermediate club class at our outings and I thought it would be a good idea to discuss this because it isn’t a good idea in general.

I am always very clear to say if you haven’t completed level 1 then it isn’t really fair for you, for the students and for the instructors if you go to the higher class. This is because you may think the combination isn’t too difficult because that is what good salsa is supposed to do: make you think it is easy! However the truth is there is a lot of technique, repetition, muscle memory and skill involved in doing intermediate level turn patters and if you haven’t learned it in a classroom you will not get the breakdown you need in a club class to successfully lead/follow the turn pattern. This can end up with you hurting your partner, yourself of someone on the dance floor.

I really enjoy teaching club classes but the quality of the class is obviously not comparable to that of a classroom. In the classroom there are less people, more lighting, more quiet and you have a chance to really breakdown the lead, the follow, the timing, the movement, the footwork and much more. There is time to slowly gain muscle memory and speed up the execution. Those who attend group classes have a much easier time and have a better quality final product when they attend a club class.

So you would be doing yourself a disservice in attending a class that is above your current skill level. It is also not fair to the group because we have to slow down the class to accommodate those that can’t keep up, your partner will not be able to learn well because they will have to spend time teaching you the basic moves, and the instructors will have to spend time teaching moves that are not necessary for us to teach in that level.

In our group classes we insist that everyone who hasn’t taken level 1 with us and wants to go to a higher level pass an assessment to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to keep up to that particular class. But obviously this can’t happen in a club. So hopefully everyone can attend the class we have set up for them and very soon you will be graduating to the higher levels!

El Rancho Last Night!

It was amazing to see so many people in attendance yesterday at our outing to El Rancho. It has been a while since we have visited El Rancho and the vibe was awesome. The DJ played some really energetic, fun salsa and people really burned the floor dancing all night! We had over 250 people attend and when we were leaving after being there for 5 hours people were still coming in!

Velina and Mildred taught the level 1 lesson upstairs and had a full floor of students. Evan and I taught downstairs a complicated turnpattern and even with the packed floor everyone seemed to get the combination.

It was great to see some old faces of past students as well as so many new students who were attending their first outing. I also loved seeing all the helpers and instructors in attendance showing some amazing new moves and styling – go team!

Our next outing is scheduled for Friday January 29 at 9:30pm at Plaza Flamingo. This will also be a huge outing as the helper team is performing at 11:15pm so come out to support them, learn new moves and have a blast!

A Good Article…

I found a nice simple article called “10 Things You Didn’t Know bout Salsa Dancing” on a webiste called GoArticles.com by Vanessa Wennerstrom.

It does a nice job of explaining some great benefits and the history of salsa.

Here it is:

“10 Things you didn’t know about Salsa dancing by Vanessa Wennerstrom

Salsa dancing, like salsa dip, is hot, hot, hot! Here are a few things you might not know about the wonderful and sensuous dance that is the Salsa…

1) On average, you can hope to burn around 350 calories an hour whilst Salsa Dancing. That’s a great reason to get yourself off the couch and start grinding those hips.

2) Salsa dance music usually has 180 to 210 beats per minute (no wonder you can burn so many calories!).

3) The origins of salsa dancing are widely disputed as it is a fusion of a number of different influences. It is generally accepted that the Salsa we know today was mainly developed in the Latin Quarter of New York City.

4) Salsa dancing does not travel the floor, in general, salsa dancers aim to keep their feet less than one foot apart – this of course excludes the occasions where your leg is draped over your partner’s shoulder!

5) Salsa is considered a Club or Street dance and so is not part of the ballroom dance curriculum.

6) The Einstein Aging Study found that dancing was the only one out of eleven physical activities they studied which helps prevent dementia. The reasons for this could be:

- The need to learn and remember the sometimes complicated moves and sequences.

- The positive social interaction.

- The relaxation and pleasure.

- The sense of accomplishment and confidence boosting when mastering a new skill.

These are all good for the brain and Salsa ticks all those boxes, so that’s another good reason to start dancing the fabulous Salsa.

7) Salsa is the Spanish word for sauce.

8) Salsa is one of the main dances in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

9) In an attempt to get into the record books for the Longest Non-Stop Salsa Dance, a Salsa Marathon took place in Malaysia in 2007. The dance which lasted for 14 hours raised funds for the Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities and involved 250 dancers, both local and from several other countries including Cuba, South Africa, Japan and South Korea (I wonder how many collective calories were burned off that day…).

10) In the 1988 film ‘Salsa’, the character Rita is seen climbing onto Kent’s motorcycle wearing a blue backpack; in the shot showing them riding around a field, her backpack has mysteriously changed to pink.”

Dance Movies – Who Knew??

Yesterday I talked about a new dance movie that is coming out. I love, love, love dance movies. Writing the blog made me wonder what movies I have missed and I wanted to compile a list of dance movies.

Instead of doing this myself I stumbled upon a great website that lists Latin dance movies by genre…it is an awesome list and spans from 1930 – 2005.

The website is LatinDancePro.com and here is their amazing list:

Tango Films

1972 – Last Tango in Paris
1983 – Tango
1987 – Tango: Our Dance
1988 – Tango Bar
1991 – Danzon
1991 – Naked Tango
1992 – Scent of a Woman
1992 – Tango Argentino
1997 – The Tango Lesson
1998 – Tango: The Obsession
1999 – Tango Passion
2002 – Assassination Tango
2002 – Tango Kabaree
2002 – Tangos Fly
2003 – Assassination Tango
2004 – Chicago
2005 – Shall We Dance

Cha cha cha Films
1934 – Caravan
1955 – Bailando Cha cha cha
1955 – Que lindo Cha cha cha
1956 – Cha-cha-cha-Boom
1957 – Bambalinas
1959 – Girls for the Mambo Bar
Lambada Films
1990 – Lambada
Pachanga Films
1981 – La Pachanga

Mambo/ Salsa Films
1941 – Al Son De La Macumba
1950 – Al Son Del Mambo
1950 – Mambo Madness
1951 – Una Gallega Baila Mambo
1951 – Que Rico El Mambo
1954 – Mambo (Robert Rossen)
1960 – La Dolce Vita
1987 – Dirty Dancing
1988 – Salsa
1992 – Mambo Kings
1998 – Dance With Me
1998 – Mad About Mambo
2000 – Mambo Cafe
2004 – Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights

Paso Doble Films
1984 – Paso Doble
1993 – Strictly Ballroom

Merengue Films
1995 – Manhattan Merengue

Bolero Films
1934 – Bolero
1949 – La Faraona
1952 – Bolero
1958 – Bolero Immortal
1970 – Bolero de Amor
2002 – Bolero

Samba Films

1933 – Flying Down to Rio
1941 – That Night in Rio
1942 – Springtime in The Rockies
1948 – Samba Mania
1948 – Samba Rhythm
1950 – Nancy Goes to Rio
1960 – Black Orpheus
1965 – Samba
1977 – Beat of The Heart: Samba of Brazil
1979 – Bye Bye Brazil
1980 – Brazil
1982 – Spirit of Samba
1999 – Samba Master
2001 – Samba Riachao
2004 – Samba in Mettmann

Rumba/ Son Films

1931 – The Cuban Love Song
1933 – When Yuba Plays the Rumba on the Tuba
1939 – Rumba Land
1941 – Cuban Rhythm
1942 – Harlem Rhumba
1945 – Rhythm of the Rumba
1946 – Let’s Rhumba
1952 – Rumba Caliente
1982 – Rumba
1987 – La Rumba
1989 – Last Rumba in Paris
1990 – Rumba

Step Up 2 the Streets

Well I am a sucker for dance movies, even the really bad ones :)

Lucky for me there is a new dance movie coming out this weekend called “Step Up 2 the Streets” which is the sequel to Step Up which came out about one year ago. I actually really enjoyed the original Step Up. The female lead was the same girl that was in the Tango Threesome in Take the Lead which was a great dance scene. The male lead is the same lead as in Step Up 2 so hopefully it will be filled with some great street dancing scenes!

Here is a blurb from Apple.com:

The follow-up to the smash hit “Step Up,” which ignited theaters in August 2006. When rebellious street dancer Andie (BRIANA EVIGAN) lands at the elite Maryland School of the Arts, she finds herself fighting to fit in while also trying to hold ohttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifnto her old life. When she joins forces with the school’s hottest dancer Chase (ROBERT HOFFMAN) to form a crew of classmate outcasts to compete in Baltimore’s underground dance battle The Streets, she ultimately finds a way to live her dream while building a bridge between her two separate worlds. Featuring the directorial debut of award-winning up-and-comer Jon M. Chu, STEP UP 2 THE STREETS reunites much of the production team behind the original film including “Step Up“‘s cutting-edge hip-hop choreographer Jamal Sims, who is joined this time by choreographers Hi-Hat (“hip-hop’s high diva of dance”) and Dave Scott (“Stomp the Yard”). Patrick Wachsberger and Erik Feig of Summit Entertainment produce with Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot of Offspring Entertainment.

Click here to see the trailer. I will write review as soon as I see it.

Happy watching!