Monthly Archives: August 2008

Alex Da Silva Comes To Toronto!

Here is a really cool event that is being held in Toronto that you may all be interested in – Alex Da Silva from So You Think You Can Dance is coming to Toronto for this event:


We have another great event lined up for the September 20th weekend starring Alex Da Silva from ‘So you think you can Dance’, World Professional South American Show Dance Champions Andre & Natalie Paramonov, four-time World Swing Dance Champion Yuval Hod, Nino Digiulio, Julie Epplett, Latin Energy and more….

* Over 30 hours of dance workshops
* Performances by Yuval Hod, Alex Da Silva, Natalie & Andre Paramonov, Latin Energy, and more
* Dinner on Saturday Evening
* General Dancing from DJ Pat Gullo playing Latin & Ballroom Music and DJ Nino Digiulio playing Salsa & West Coast Swing Music in a Separate Room
* And our new feature, STUDENT PERFORMANCES. There will be two groups of approximately 30 people in each group that will dedicate 4 classes over the course of 2 days to do a choreographed routine on Sunday. One routine will be choreographed by Alex Da Silva, and the other by Andre Paramonov.

Complete Package *BEST DEAL*
$199.00 or $179.00 for group of 10 or more
Saturday Workshops Only $90.00
Saturday Evening Only $85.00
Sunday Workshops Only $90.00

After AUG 31st
Complete Package * BEST DEAL*
$229.00 or $205.00 for group of 10 or more
Saturday Workshops Only $99.00
Saturday Evening Only $95.00
Sunday Workshops Only $99.00

Saturday Late Night Pass (11:00pm – 2:00am) Available only at the event for $15.00 ea
Sunday Spectator Pass (5:00- 6:00pm) Available only at the event for $10.00 ea and

For further details of thisupcoming event, please visit

America’s Got Talent…and Salsa!

Have you guys seen the show America’s Got Talent? Well they have a salsa act that is in their top 8 for the first time. It is a brother and sister combination – Emily and Junior and they are very young, very fun to watch and very popular. The video above shows their audition footage.

I think it’s great that salsa is so mainstream now that it can potentially win a talent show and that salsa dancers are confident enough about the dance to audition. We have to thank shows like So You Think You Can Dance for really showcasing the art form.

America’s Got Talent is actually having the public vote for the winners. If you are interested in voting on the website visit You can vote as many times as you like – I just voted once to cheer on my fellow salsa dancers.

Congratulations to Emily and Junior!!

My First Argentine Tango Class

Tuesday evening Evan and I arrived at Empress as students for the first time to take our first Argentine Tango class. Evan had given me a private lesson two Valentine’s Day ago and that is when I first met Bryant Lopez. Since then I have always wanted to learn how to do this sensual dance and we had a chance to get started last night to a sold out level 1 class.

It was great to see many of my students and helpers in the class. I think everyone really enjoyed the class. It is a condensed intensive class which means we do 2hrs a session once per week for 4 weeks. The vibe in the class was excellent and even after 2 hours of dancing the students were super excited.

Bryant is a fun, dynamic instructor that has great passion for his art form. I like the way he uses all the students to demonstrate moves, whether he grabs a female in the class or asks a couple to demonstrate the right way of doing a move.

Argentine Tango is interesting because it is not as structured as salsa in the sense that there is no basic to learn that is a structured basic. The man choose which leg to use and the woman follows his lead. He can change directions when he wants and with a slight lean and use of abs, chest and shoulders the woman can follow.

With salsa most of the leading comes from the man’s right hand on the woman’s back. With Argentine Tango it is the man’s left hand so that is something to get used to and adapt. But the hardest thing by far is not using your hips! Salsa dancers are going to find it challenging to avoid hip movement when dancing and I personally think that will be my biggest challenge.

Overall a great first class! For anyone who is interested in Argentine Tango we have just posted a level 1 class starting September on Thursdays at 9pm and our first ever level 2 class on Tuesdays at 9pm.


Country Dancing Etiquette!

I read this funny article on about dance floor etiquette. Although their focus is on Country and Ballroom dancing, the ideas are the same on a salsa floor and hopefully you get the gist of the big no nos of dancing. Enjoy!

“Learning proper dance-floor etiquette rules

Raymond V. Whelan
Special to the Wilson County News
August 12, 2008

If you are a single person who is really earnest about meeting and making friends with the opposite gender, learn to dance.

Take social dance lessons from accomplished relatives, friends, neighbors, or professional instructors, whatever it may take to get you out on the dance floor. And don’t let anyone, including yourself, say you can’t dance because you have two left feet or some other reason.

Furthermore, don’t ever let anyone tell you tough guys don’t dance. Look at James Cagney. He was a tough guy who tap-danced all through the movie Yankee Doodle Dandy, and he won an Academy Award for doing so.

Whether you enjoy blues, country, pop, salsa, or swing, or any other kind of music, you can learn to dance well to a particular style of music with reasonable effort and practice.

Learning how to dance is really simple. The most difficult and important part of dance is knowing and understanding dance-floor etiquette, no matter if the dance is for a birthday party, block party, homecoming, hootenanny, high school prom, family reunion, or wedding reception.

Most dance floor “rules of the road” involve nothing more than common sense. For instance, don’t allow your body or clothes to look or smell like old unwashed laundry, and don’t let your breath reek of alcohol or tobacco before you meet your partner on the dance floor.

Frequently, both men and women can be quite shy while searching for a dance partner. However, when you decide to ask someone to dance, it ought not be a complicated operation. Just extend your hand toward a prospective partner and ask politely, “Would you like to dance?”.

Anyone may decline someone’s offer to dance at any time, for any reason, without any explanation. Certainly, you can just say “No” whenever you decline an offer to dance. However, “No, thank you” sounds better.

Take care not to leap from your seat and dance with somebody during a dance number immediately after you have declined to dance with someone else during the same dance number. To do so would be the height of dance-floor tackiness.

If you are terribly afraid or paralyzed by the thought of a potential dance partner refusing your invitation to step onto the dance floor, you may resort to a defense mechanism.

Before you ask potential Partner A to dance, keep potential Partner B within your peripheral vision. If potential Partner A refuses your offer to dance, proceed without complaint to potential Partner B and ask him or her to dance. You should be able to move to the alternative partner without actual or visible discomfort to your ego.

It is a very good idea to wear proper shoes on the dance floor. Boots are cool for country two-step and country waltz, but they tend to be wrong for foxtrot, tango, swing, and other ballroom dance styles. Depending on the type of event, music, and dance floor, sneakers may be OK.

If you maintain eye contact with your partner, it will help you anticipate movement and always make you look more confident during a dance number. So, do not stare at your feet while you dance, because eyeballing your feet will make the dance much more difficult than it should be.

And please, don’t get downhearted when you mess up the proper steps on the dance floor!

Women seem especially prone to express embarrassment when they fumble on hand or foot maneuvers. Truth be known, most gentlemen do not pay much heed to their lady partners’ missteps, because they are happy enough just to enjoy dancing with an attractive person in the first place. If your dance partner has any grace or experience at all, he or she should reassure you when you make some minor mistake during a dance number.

Take some time to show your partner some appreciation for taking the time to dance with you after the end of a dance number. For ladies, it could be a simple “Thank you”. For gentlemen, it could be “Thank you”…

Remember what Ella Fitzgerald said “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing” meaning that dance should enhance your social skills, add some exercise and energy, and who knows, maybe even some romance to your life.” by Raymond V. Whelan.

A Salsa/Mambo Documentary

I just received this information regarding a new full length documentary about salsa dancing versus mambo. I don’t know how big this film will be and if there will be a chance for us to view it but I will keep you posted. Here is the info I found on

“Feature-Length movie filmed in Greenville, SC premieres Friday, Aug 29

Submitted by Lynne Anne Merrill • August 11, 2008

August 29, Friday, an EXTRAORDINARY experience will take place in Greenville, SC EXCLUSIVELY at Bongos Nightclub! Latin dancers of Mambo, Salsa, and the general public are invited to come WATCH the movie showing of “La Epoca – The Palladium Era” – a film about the roots behind the umbrella term “Salsa,” and its affects on the generations of musicians and dancers that have followed since its conception. Come and sit side-by-side with some of the film’s cast members – and meet, up close and personal – the producers of the film! The film uncovers who the inventor of the mambo rhythm was and how Latin music and dance have become what they are, today.

This movie is jammed-packed with Latin dancing, original Latin music, black and white footage of the Palladium-era during the 1950′s and AMAZING information!!

“La Epoca,” a feature-length documentary-film, is about the evolution of Latin music and dance from the Palladium-era (1948-1970) to present day. The film covers in-depth detail regarding the controversy over dancing “on 1″ versus dancing “on 2,” Mambo versus Salsa, and the film focuses heavily on the controversy over the the umbrella term “Salsa” and its affects on the musicians and dancers since the conception of the word’s use to describe Latin music.

The film features music and rhythms that are very rarely heard in present day. Producers welcome all walks of life to view the movie and to live INSIDE the memories and experiences of the high-profile LEGENDARY musicians and dancers who appear in the film, such as “Cuban Pete,” Charlie Rodriguez and Agustin Caraballoso and many others.

Very well-known are the names of Celia Cruz and Tito Puente – but how many times have you heard of the musicians who made THEM sound so good?

What makes this evening SO special is that a portion of the movie was ACTUALLY FILMED AT this SAME location earlier this year – and many of the dancers who were filmed – do appear in the movie – and some will be present to watch the movie! Greenville residents Erica Roldan, Mariana Rodon and Jonathan Zapata were among those filmed at Bongos in May this year for this very film.

Watch and listen to the musicians who were among the legends that USHERED IN all of the Latin music and rhythms that, in present day, have been meshed together – all under one umbrella term: “Salsa.”"

My New York Birthday Weekend

I had such a fun birthday weekend in New York! Evan surprised me with this trip and with an afternoon of salsa in the middle of Manhattan. Just like in Toronto there are lots of salsa related events both indoors and outdoors that are free and available for everyone to enjoy. This specific event was an afternoon live salsa session in a beautiful courtyard in midtown at 600 Third Ave.

The band was an all-woman band called Cocomama and they were awesome! The played mostly salsa with some cha cha cha and it was sexy, jazzy and very nice to dance to in the middle of the afternoon. The courtyard was packed although I was surprised that we were one of the only couples dancing. If you are interested in checking out the band website click here.

If you are in New York make sure you get in some salsa/mambo. It is a fabulous experience!

So You Think You Can Dance

I can’t believe the end is finally here…I am so sad that the So You Think You Can Dance season is over and the winner will be announced tonight. This season, more then ever, I have been addicted to the show, the choreographies and the dancers. There have been some serious surprises, with the loss of Will especially, but overall a great season.

I was mildly disappointed with last night’s performances but I’m quite sympathetic to how hard it must have been to perfect 4 different choreographies as well as their solos. I can imagine how physically, mentally and emotionally draining the last few weeks have been on the dancers. I thought Twitch stood out the most last night followed very closely by Joshua, then Katie and then Courtney.

The performances that stood out for me last night were the Wade modern routine with Katie and Joshua as well as the crazy Russian routine with the boys. That must have killed Twitch’s legs!

So who do you guys think is going to win?? I have a hunch it will be something like this: 4th place Courtney, 3rd place Katy, 2nd place Twitch, 1st place Joshua but truthfully I think it is anyone’s game (other than Courtney).

I hope the Canadian version is as addictive and well made. I guess I will just have to be satisfied with the repeats of the show until it begins! I’ll be off to watch the finals tonight with Velina, my fellow addict. Enjoy the show everyone!!