Monthly Archives: May 2008

Peridot On Sunday

Thanks to everyone who came out to Peridot – it was a blast as usual! We started off at 7pm with three different lessons. Velina and Stella taught the absolute beginner class, Emely and Sonya taught the level 1 class and Evan and I taught the intermediate class. I reminded everyone as usual to execute the combination they learned at least 10 if not 20 times that evening to engage muscle memory and make it a regular part of their repertoire.

With almost 200 students in attendance there were partners for everyone. Many of the instructors came out as well which is great to see – Sara, Velina, Emely, Alfred, Nina, Evan and myself were all enjoying the night along with the 40 helpers that came out and all the students and guests.

It was Evan’ birthday this past week and as per tradition we put him on the spot for a birthday dance (photo above is from that dance). He was awesome and managed to get through a great deal of partners in a short amount of time. Thanks to everyone for participating and to Evan for being a great sport regardless of the partner (nice body wave Alfred :) .

Our next outing is actually the Toronto Dance Salsa Amateur Competition preliminaries on Sunday June 8th at 7pm at 6 Degrees. We can’t wait to see all the work the competitors have put into their freestyle round. There are also performances by Latin Energy and iFreestyle so come out and support the competitors, watch some great performances and have a blast! More details to follow!

World Salsa Championships on ESPN2

I just received this media alert – not sure which Canadian channel (if any) is broadcasting it so if anyone has any idea let me know!!

“Media Alert

For the first time in the history ESPN2 network will Broadcast World Salsa Championships

Broadcasts will begin May 27, 2008 at 9:00pm EST.

ORLANDO, Florida, May 27 – The Salsa Seven Inc., the company producing the World Salsa Championships for the ESPN television network, today announced that the TV channel will begin broadcasting the most anticipated dance competition of the year.


Broadcast of the 3rd Salsa World Championships, held last December at Walt Disney World’s(R) Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida. Dancers from 34 countries compete at this major international competition, where they put their artistic skills to the test in the following categories: Salsa Group, Salsa Individual, and Salsa Group/Cabaret. The championship’s grand prize is $80,000. Contestants from Australia, Colombia, Mexico, United States, Puerto Rico and Venezuela will be defending their titles.


On ESPN2, available nationwide in the U.S. to more than 90 million homes.


Event broadcasts will begin Wednesday, May 27,at 9:00 p.m. EST (eastern standard time);6:00 p.m. Pacific time.

For the third consecutive year, the Third Annual Salsa World Championships have been produced by Rob Beiner, famed producer and winner of 12 Emmy Awards. Beiner has produced or directed more than 2,000 sports and Entertainment broadcasts for leading TV networks such as ABC Sports, CBS, NBC Sports, USA Network and ESPN. Beiner considers salsa competitions to be a new sport or “dance-sport”, due to the rigors of training and the skills the dancers must demonstrate in order to qualify for a world event he calls “the Salsa Olympics”.

For more information, go to: 4th Annual World Salsa Championships will be celebrated at the Disney’s Wide World of Sports from December 3-6,2008.”

Super Mario’s Goals…

I love asking salsa dancers about how salsa has changed their lives because it is always so inspiring and makes you remember all the reasons you started dancing and all that you have received personally, spiritually (and even professionally for some) from salsa dancing. Here is Super Mario’s story…

SG – “What does salsa mean to you and how has it changed your”

SM – “Phew, this story is long but to keep it short…Salsa has changed my life completely. From a person who was overweight with no confidence to who I am today – it was a loooooong journey. But you know who I am today and what I am, and that is important. I love my dancing and traveling – meeting people and saying what I am saying now, to get everyone together. I am sorry if I come across as a sad salsa loving teacher but I do love everything about it and more……I love teaching and sharing this knowledge that was given to me and dancing with so many lovely dancers around the world. It’s all good.”

SG – “What are some of your salsa goals for 2008?”

SM – “Salsa Goals….hmmm….I always like to go to 2 new countries every year. And this year, I have Taiwan and Lithuania. So goals achieved. ;)

Fore more info on Super Mario and to try a free online class, visit his new website:

Thanks Super Mario! By the way Super Mario is visiting mid June and I am taking him to Babaluus. Will let you know closer to the date so you can come and experience some of his awesome moves. He is also donating 20 DVDs to the competitors of the the Toronto Dance Salsa Amateur Salsa competition so thank you to him for all his support and help!!

Ritmo Masacote’s Fantagious CD Release!

Thanks to Ana from Masacote for sharing some great advice and tips for our readers. Here is an event she has been working on for some time and would like to share with you all:



May 16, 2008…..

Ritmo Masacote’s “Fantagious” CD Release!

A NOT TO BE MISSED 2 HOUR THEATER Concert Featuring Ritmo Masacote AND Masacote Dance Company LIVE!

Buy Your Tickets Online Now! NO Tickets sold @ door!

– LAST DAY TO PURCHASE YOUR TICKET AT THE DISCOUNT RATE OF $25 IS APRIL 18TH! Prices will increase to $35 after!

– Student Discount: $20; Contact us for Group Rates!

Tickets Not Sold @ Door!

What to Expect

– A 2-hour Theater Production
– A Latin Jazz concert with Ritmo Masacote Live!
– Dance Performances by Masacote Dance Company!
– Special Guest Artists from Bermuda, Atlanta, Texas!
– Singing DEBUT of Gordon Neil, Masacote Records!
– Special Surprises!
– An Afterparty to top it all off!!!


– $25 Discount Until April 18th! Buy Now! Prices will increase to $35 after!
– Student Discount: $20
– Contact Us for Group Rates!

Official Website:

More Info on Ritmo Masacote:

More Info on Masacote Dance Company:

More Info on Masacote Dance Company Feature Dancers:

More Info on Special Guests Flown in Specifically for show!


Dance with the Stars

I have to say this may be the first season I actually am enjoying Dancing with the Stars. In the past I have held a love/hate relationship with the show, mainly due to the fact that although I love dance show and anything to do with dancing, the show always rubbed me the wrong way. The songs choices especially for the Latin dances, the choreographies, the judges’ comments and scoring, were all inconsistent and so gimmicky.

I find this season to be a little bit more consistent. I still disagree with the judges on a regular basis. They seem to have their favourites and will come down hard on one participant when another has done much worse. However this isn’t as noticeable as in the previous seasons.

The stars are also nicer to watch. Kristy and Mark are lovely as a couple to see dancing and you can see that their choreographies are a lot more complex and complicated then the others. Jason and Esyta are exciting and beautiful to watch and although the routines are not as complex as Kristy and Mark, there is still more skill in their routines then most prior participants. Christian and Cheryl are fun and add the spice, even with an injury.

Glad to see these are the finalists. I am cheering for Kristy and Mark – who are you all cheering for???

Peridot on Friday

Once again Peridot over-exceeded our expectations in terms of ambiance, service, space and turnout this past Friday at our last outing. We had the biggest turnout in some time with almost 350 people. Because of Mother’s Day weekend, we couldn’t start the lesson until later and were only supposed to do one lesson upstairs but when we arrived there was space in the back area and thankfully Alfred and Nina arrived early and were game to teaching a last minute bachata workshop for beginners downstairs so that Evan and I could concentrate on the intermediate dancers upstairs.

As usual the workshop were very busy but everyone ended up getting the fun and sexy combinations. At 10:30pm DJ Duck began spinning the tunes and made sure to include lots of bachata songs so that everyone could practice their new routines.

It was also the birthday of Karina and Kamil (two of Toronto Dance Salsa’s most seniour helpers)and we had a joint birthday dance for them at midnight. Thanks to both of them for being great sports and everyone who participated!

It was great to see lots of beginner students out. If you haven’t gotten to an outing yet here are some upcoming outings that will be amazing!

1) Peridot Sunday May 25th at 7pm
2) 6 Degrees Sunday June 8th at 7pm – Preliminaries of competition with performances
3) Tentative outing to Lula Lounge Friday June 20th at 10pm
4) 6 Degrees Friday July 4th at 9pm – Finals of competition with performances

Happy dancing!

Argentine Tango!

I swore that the minute I got my own dance studio I would get a fabulous Argentine Tango instructor and hold lessons there. I know I definitely want to learn this sensual, passionate dance and I know many of you have a lot of curiosity and interest in the dance.

Well I am so happy to announce that Bryant Lopez from Tango Soul will be teaching our first ever Argentine Tango class in our new studio at Empress Walk. I first met Bryant when Evan surprised me last Valentine’s Day 2007 with a private Argentine Tango class – it was so much fun. Very different from salsa but just as fun and exciting. I loved Bryants passionate and intense teaching style and hoped that one day he would be able to teach a class for us. So to make things short, beginning Thursday June 12th at 9pm, Bryant will be teaching a 9 week class that will focus on the dance basics including technique, leading, following and footwork.

Just like salsa there are some discrepancies and arguments as to the history of Argentine Tango but we do know the dance originated in Buenos Aires. Here is a short history lesson for those interested from a website I found online called argentinepolo.

“Although there are many legends and stories about the origins and development of tango, I will attempt to give an outline that is broadly accepted, and I have picked up from a variety of sources. Tango is a dance and music that originated in Buenos Aires at the turn of the century, developing in the melting pot of cultures that was Buenos Aires. Immigrants from Europe – Italy, Spain, Britain, Poland, Russia, Germany and every other European country mixed with earlier generation of settlers of all races from other South American countries. They brought their native music and dances with them, and continued to assimilate new innovations from abroad. Traditional polkas, waltzes and mazurkas were mixed with the popular Habanera from Cuba to form a new dance and music, the milonga, which was popular in the 1870s . This was known as the “poor man’s Habanera”. The word tango was used at the time to describe various music and dance, for example the “tango andaluza” from Spain in the 1880s. The black population had their dances, the candombe, a mix of many different african traditions, and the place they danced and the dance itself have also been referred to as tango.”

Can’t wait to get started! Registration is open for this class so register soon by clicking here to secure your spot!

Part #4 of Ana’s Interview from Masacote

Here is part #4 of my interview with Ana Tinajero Massicot, Co-founder/Artistic Director of Masacote Entertainment, a very popular salsa dance school and performance troupe.

SG – “Are there any obstacles you can remember experiencing in your salsa development and how did you overcome these obstacles?”

ATM – “Where do I start?! I was a broke college student…lol So, I didn’t have much money for classes and such. What I would do is save up as much as possible to take a private once in a blue moon so I could get some individual attention and find out what I really needed to focus on. Then, I would practice the heck out of what I was told to do. This won’t always work for everyone as you have to have a lot of discipline to make it worthwhile, but it definitely helped me.

Time was also a problem. MIT was very demanding, so I had little time to do much else but study and bury myself in my work. Every chance I could get to come up for air, I’d take it. I had to get good at prioritizing. I believe if you really want to do something, you find a way to make it work, no excuses. That’s why I have no sympathy when someone tells me they don’t have the time to practice. You have to make the time.

SG – “What does salsa mean to you and how has it changed your life?”
ATM – “In truth, I’m actually a very shy person unless I know you. I don’t talk much in public unless I’m forced to, but I’ve found myself being more open and much more confident as I’ve improved in my dancing. Salsa has a way of helping you let go of inhibitions.

I’m still very self-conscious about a lot of things, but we all have our insecurities, and I just learn to work through them.

SG – “What are some of your salsa goals for 2008?”
ATM – “Joel and I are working on some big productions. There’s the Fantagious CD Release & Theater production coming up May 16th ( WE’RE REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO IT! It is going to be different from any other dance event or show you’ve been to before. I know there’s a lot of people from Toronto planning to join us. That is taking a lot of prep work.

We have another production to work on after that which we want to finish in a couple years, and I have a couple other projects to embark on before the end of this one, including my first solo, which I’ve been wanting to do since 2004 but wanted to wait till the right time. I’ll be working on that this year. Hopefully you guys will like it :)

To join Masacote Entertainment’s mailing list please click here.

Advanced Turnpattern and Styling Class

I am getting lots of questions regarding our summer specialty class that Caryl will be teaching at the Adelaide Club downtown on Wednesdays at 9:15pm called “Advanced Turnpattern and Styling” class.

Here is the description we posted on the website for it: An advanced class intended for those who have completed level 4 or by permission. This 9 week course will cover the practical application of styling in a turnpattern combination. New turnpatterns will be covered with emphasis on male and female styling during the turnpatterns. Focus to include execution, body movement, musicality, timing and more.

So basically what this means is that this class will please everyone. For men who like learning combinations you will get new combinations that you haven’t seen before. But you will also get to understand how to break down the combination and add some styling moves, body movement and accents to the combination. This is appealing to women as that is our big focus at this level.

So hopefully this clarifies what the class is all about. Remember you have to have completed level 4 or ask for permission to get into this class. Cost is $126 for 9 weeks.