Toronto Dance Salsa
Amateur Salsa Competition 2012
- 2012 Date and Location
- Who Qualifies?
- Rules & Regulations
- Judging Criteria
- How to Register
- 2012 Prizes and Sponsors
- 2012 Competitors - Bios and Photos
- 2012 Judges Biographies
- 2010 Finals Results and Photos
- 2010 Competitors - Bios and Photos
- 2009 Finals Results and Photos
- 2009 Competitors - Bios and Photos
- 2008 Finals Results and Photos
- 2008 Five Finalists
- 2007 Finals Results and Photos
- 2007 Five Finalists
- SalsaTO Article About the 2007 Competition
Thursday April 19th, 2012 at 8pm at Six Degrees Nightclub (Yonge & Eglinton)
Finals: Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 8pm at Six Degrees Nightclub (Yonge & Eglinton)
The mission of the Toronto Dance Salsa Amateur Salsa Competition is to inspire students to develop their performance skills to enhance their dance journey and showcase their dancing ability to an audience of friends and family as well as current and future salsa lovers.
Date and Location:
Preliminary Round: Thursday April 19th, 2012 at 8pm at 6 Degrees Nightclub (Yonge & Eglinton)
Lesson: 8:00 - 9:00pm, Competition: 10:00 - 11:00pm, Social Dancing: 9:00 - 10:00pm, 11pm onwards
Final Round: Thursday May 31st, 2012 at 7pm at 6 Degrees Nightclub (Yonge & Eglinton)
Lesson: 8:00 - 9:00pm, Competition: 10:00 - 11:00pm, Social Dancing: 9:00 - 10:00pm, 11pm onwards
- Competitors must be 19 years old or over.
- Competitors must be current Toronto Dance Salsa students in level 3 or up either through group classes or private lessons and/or helpers and/or assistant instructors enrolled or assisting in the spring or summer 2012 semester.
- This is an amateur competition. Competitors cannot have been paid to be the main instructor in a class or to perform salsa at any point prior to the preliminary day (assisting with a club class or group class i permitted).
- Competitors cannot have previously placed in first place in a prior salsa competition.
- The competition will comprise of two rounds: the preliminary round and the finals round. The preliminary round will have a maximum of 15 couples with registration in advance on a first come, first serve basis. The 5 couples with the top scores, as determined by the panel of judges, will qualify to perform in the final round.
- There will be no change of partners allowed once partners have qualified for the finals.
- All competitors will conduct themselves appropriately demonstrating good sportsmanship and support to all contestants and judges.
- Choreography, costumes and music must be in good taste.
- Judges decisions are final.
- Any style of salsa dancing is permitted.
- The event will be recorded by camera and film which may be used for promotional purposes without any obligation.
- Competitors will only be allowed to start over if there has been a technical problem that is out of competitors’ control.
- Competitors cannot pay anyone to choreograph their routine. Routines must be choreographed by the couple themselves. They are welcome to seek advice from friends and family but actual choreography must come from the couple. Resources such as you tube videos, salsa DVDs and websites can be utilized to assist with ideas.
Preliminary Round - Freestyle:
- Competitors must arrive by 8pm and sign in with the Competition Coordinator.
- All couples will be assigned a number and a draw will determine the order of performance.
- All competitors will be asked to warm up together to a 2 minute pre-determined unidentified medium tempo salsa song.
- In order determined by the draw, each couple will perform a 2 minute freestyle routine to a pre-determined unidentified medium tempo salsa song. The song will be the same for each couple.
- The freestyle routine has to have a dance content of 90% salsa.
- Maximum 2 dips per routine.
- No lifts allowed in the preliminary round.
Final Round - Choreographed:
- Competitors must arrive by 8pm and sign in with the Competition Coordinator.
- Each couple must bring and hand in to the DJ their own CD with only the performance song on the CD. CD must be identified with both dancers’ names, couple number and song title. DJ will not speed up or slow down music - it will be played as is.
- All couples will be assigned a number and a draw will determine the order of performance.
- All competitors will be asked to warm up together to a 2 minute pre-determined unidentified medium tempo salsa song.
- In order determined by the draw, each couple will perform a choreographed routine in the length of 2.0 minutes to 2.5 minutes (points will be deducted if full choreography is under 2.0 minutes or exceeds 2.5 minutes) to their own chosen song. The choreography and song must be 90% salsa.
- Maximum 2 dips and 2 lifts allowed per routine.
- Contestants are highly encouraged to wear matching or themed costumes. Emphasis is placed not on the cost of the costume but on the creativity of the costume and how it ties in to the theme of the performance.
- Judges will determine, using the formal judging criteria, the 3rd, 2nd and 1st place winners.
Timing and Musicality 20%
Consistency in timing throughout entire routine and an understanding and interpretation of the music emphasized in the dance
Originality and creativity of choreography, difficulty of execution, choreography compliments the accents of the music
Partner Dynamics 10%
Leading and following techniques, unity of moves, synchronization, partner connection and chemistry
Proper execution of moves and dance practices
Hand, arm, leg and body styling compliments the routine
Creativity of costume or outfit that compliments both dancers, applicability to theme of choreography, confidence, facial expression, posture
Stage Presence 10%
Showmanship, audience reaction
Overall Presentation 10%
All categories in general, judges discretion
Deduction of Points – up to 15%
5% - final choreography is under 2.0 minutes or exceeds 2.5 minutes
10% - not following rules such as 90% salsa dancing, lifts/dips limitations, etc
How to Register: Please send an email confirming your participation along with partner information to Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration which is based on a first come first serve basis will be limited to 10 couples. There is absolutely no cost to register and all couples will receive prizes regardless of placement.
More prizes and sponsors coming soon!
Natural Spin Dance Shoes
7310 Woodbine Ave., Unit 7A, Toronto, ON, Canada, L3R1A4
Tel: 905-944 9696
Addicted to Dance Shoes
647-439-8423 or 416-508-8940
45 Brisbane Rd. Unit #7, Toronto, ON
Century Wide Shoes
416-293-3303, cell: (416) 822-8684
8 Glen Watford Dr. Unit#29, Scarborough, ON
1585 Dundas Street West
Mary Kay Team Leader
Six Degrees Nightclub
2335 Yonge Street
Sweet Flour Bakery
2352 Bloor Street West
Daily Deal Tips
430 College St
Toronto, ON , Canada, M5T 1T3
Phone: (416) 921-2752
Paris Ubuntu Salsa Congress
Tél. 00 33 6 63 70 99 94
Peridot Resto Lounge
81 Bloor Street East, Toronto, ON, M4W 1A9
Limburg Salsa Festival
Salsa Beach Splash Festival
Monterrey Salsa & Bachata Congress
India Interational Salsa Congress
Toronto Open Swing / Hustle Championships
Euro Dance Festival
Malta Salsa Congress
Summer Bachata Festival
Symposium International de Salsa
Sexy Latin Festival
Tennessee Salsa Congress
Venezuela Es Latina
Tenerife Salsa Festival
Amsterdam Zouk Congress
Istanbul Tango Festival
Portland Salsa Congress
Scottish Salsa Congress
Balaton Summer Congress
Greek Salsa Bootcamp
8 BH Zouk
Baltic Latino Congress
Afro-Cuban Salsa Congress
Paris Ubuntu Salsa Congress
Montreal Dance Fest
Afro-Bailar Multicultural Festival
DC Bachata Congress
Emoke has been dancing with the TDS family for about 3 years now, and continues to love and look forward to every salsa class and night! Salsa has introduced her to some great people (with one special person in particular!) Having experienced the thrill of a competition before, she (and her female dance partner) are looking to break new ground, do things a bit differently, and make the salsa scene more accessible for all couples! She is also looking to improve her performance skills and just to simply have a blast and experience the competition craze with a girlfriend! What better way to spend a girls night out?
Maria's friends dragged her kicking and screaming to a TDS level one class back in 2009, but she’s not holding a grudge... in fact, she can’t thank them enough! She fell in love with salsa and now nothing makes her happier than being out on the dance floor. More recently, Maria began learning to lead, which has been challenging, exciting, and just plain fun. Maria loves that she can still look and feel feminine and sexy when leading, which has made her realize that there is absolutely no reason why girls only dance with guys, and vice versa. So this year, Maria decided to try something different and is competing with a female dance partner. Maria would love to see more salsa dancers break free of traditional gender roles and hopes that there will be many female leads – and male follows – in the coming years!
Thanks to her friends who introduced her to the salsa scene, Olesia has been dancing since January 2011. A bit hesitant at first, her now fellow-TDSers claimed she would love salsa and convinced her to attend an outing. They were absolutely right and after one night, she was hooked and couldn't seem to dance enough to feed her newfound salsa addiction. She can't resist the friendly and welcoming community and deeply values the friendships she has formed through dance. In addition, she appreciates how dancing is great exercise yet doesn't feel like a workout. Entering into the TDS Amateur Competition is the next step in her salsa journey as she strives to continue learning and growing as a dancer.
For the past 10 years, Armando Aquino has been on and off dancing but has relit his passion of dance when he joined TDS. He has a background in Freestyle and Hip Hop which led him to work in some performances back in Montreal. His decision of joining the competition encourage him to get better and hope that he can still improve in the future. His objective is to inspire others to not only keep on dancing but to never stop learning.
Galina was thrown into the wild swirl of the Salsa world thanks to big sister Nina, who invited her to tag along for her first Sunday Social at TDS. She immediately fell in love with the energy and the spontaneity of the dance and to this day looks forward to being surprised on the dance floor! After a few months of on-the-go learning from others, Galina signed up for a Level 3 class and has been a part of the TDS community ever since. She especially loves that there are so many ways to get involved—beyond lessons, Galina has also volunteered as a helper, and is still a regular at those splendid Sunday Socials that started it all. This year she decided to participate in the Competition as a way to challenge herself to continue to improve as a dancer—she’s excited about how far she has already come on this Salsa journey and can’t wait to see where it might take her next!
Being born with two left feet, he had always had trouble when friends would drag him to go clubbing. Struggling with coordination he knew there must be a dance that could mastered as long as you follow the rules. By accident 2 years ago taking the escalator up to catch a movie at Empress Walk he saw a Salsa class being run. It was love at first sight. After 3 months he worked up the courage and signed up for level 1, it's been less then two years that Aleks has been dancing Salsa and he has not looked back. Thanks to the great support of Toronto Dance Salsa teachers, helpers and friends, he decided to sign up for the 2012 Amateur Competition. This way he can prove to himself and others that a guy with two left feet can succeed through sheer hard work.
Ultimately, dance runs through Vanessa's veins. From the age of 3 to 19, she focused all energies on her classical training as a competitive dancer in jazz, tap, contemporary, hip hop and ballet. Having always found the world of Latin styles to be both captivating and alluring, she jumped at the opportunity when invited to one of Toronto Dance Salsa's famous Acrobat Lounge Outings – and one spin on the dance floor is all it took! Vanessa registered for classes with TDS and in no time fell in love. Finding a new avenue to channel her passion for dance has been an incredible experience and a journey that she cherishes wholeheartedly. In just over a year, salsa dancing has transformed into an absolute need in her life.
Dancing used to be a missing part of my life; I did lots of painting, music, acting, sports, etc. but never danced! It went on like this until fall 2011 when I walked by TDS studio at Empress and saw the view of so many people dancing and having fun and decided to sign up. Soon I found myself in love with Salsa and the amazing TDS family.
I began dancing when I was 3 years old in a Polish Dance group. I really enjoyed any type of dancing, so when I saw posters advertising free lessons on the college campus, I was ready to learn! I attended almost all of their lessons regularly for two years. At the end of the second year, we had a performance in front of the school population, which was very exciting! Then for my third year on campus, I decided to help run the club and I just had so much doing it that I, along with my partner enrolled in lessons at TDS!! Although we were dancing on2 for a few months, the switch back to on1 has presented its challenges... but everyone needs to be challenged in order to get better! I've come a long way and there is still a long way to go in terms of technique and styling, but the fun is all in the way you get there!! I'm so excited to compete this April and show off my salsa moves!!
Currently an engineering student in University. Started dancing salsa last year at the school's student run salsa club. I have always been in awe of good dancing; use of the music, capabilities of the body and the connection between dancers. I consider myself a pretty passionate guy and it didn't take long for the hypnotic latin rhythms and pure fun of dancing to push salsa from a curiosity to full on adornment. My cement dancing feet were quickly liberated, and the liberating was exacerbated when my partner and I found the quirky crew at TDS. They have stoked our dance passion and expanded our awe factor. I am very excited to compete this year as my ultimate goal is to compete at the highest level I can achieve. Also to tear up dance floors all over the globe. Best of luck to all in this years event!!
Rachel is on the hunt to discover lost civilizations...and the best salsa venues around the world! She began her salsa-dancing journey by learning rueda de casino and subsequently joined TDS in the fall of 2011 as a Level 4 student and a helper. Inspired by her amazing instructors and fellow students, Rachel is thrilled by the opportunity to continue improving her salsa repertoire and to share the stage with fellow TDS dancer!
Asef Garcia Levy
Initially Asef was not particularly interested in any type of dancing, but everything changed while he was living abroad as an exchange student. With some friends, he joined a Salsa school (maybe he had too much free time :-) After taking classes for a few months, there was no doubt that he had
fallen in love with salsa and had become a salsa addict. Once in Toronto, he joined TDS and quickly discovered the great family that TDS is and the amazing lessons taught by its professional and talented instructors.
I was introduced to Toronto Dance Salsa three years ago by my personal trainer at university, who shall remain nameless, TERRY NG!! He wanted someone to practice with and because I’d done some salsa dancing before, I agreed to practice with him in the squash courts between classes. Well, I had so much fun helping him that I decided to sign up for classes. Coincidentally, the first outing I attended was with Terry and was the preliminary Amateur competition in 2009. I’ve stayed connected to TDS ever since and have had the privilege of being a helper for just over a year. I’m very happy to be a part of the salsa family that Sharon has created at TDS and I’m so excited to be taking my turn on the stage this year!
After deciding that I needed a change in my life I decided to learn salsa dancing. Keep in mind I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I made the plunge and started salsa dancing in October 2011 and I had two left feet. One day a light bulb turned on and salsa dancing started to make sense. Since then you will likely see me dancing everywhere. I am currently taking classes and I enjoy every moment of it. One of my goals is to continue to make it fun for everyone that I dance with. I like them to always keep on guessing what is coming next. You never know when you might be sitting in the CHAIR position or experience an unexpected BAM!
Having a background in Egyptian Belly-Dancing, this Salsa newbie decided to finally stop faking salsa steps in clubs and learn some proper technique. She has taken the salsa for only a few short months, but has big plans to skyrocket into the salsa world. Hoping to continue to grow and improve and in different styles, this talented and creative muse hopes to add salsa to her long list of artistic interests she wishes to master.
After taking beginner classes in university, Carlos put Salsa dancing in his back pocket and forgot all about it. That all changed last year when he got a Cuban roommate. It only took a few house parties for him to realize that he needed to learn Salsa…and quick! "It's not fun to be at a party and get destroyed! I needed to fend for myself on the dance floor." He jokes that "I am the only person I know that is taking Salsa lessons for self defense reasons". TDS had been recommended by a friend and former student. It so far has surpassed expectations. The classes are well thought out. The staff is fantastic. Carlos sees the competition as way to increase his skills to the next level.
Teddy Olaso - United Salseros/Mambo Mosaic
Teddy Olaso started Salsa in 1997, and along with Rene Delgado, established UnitedSalseros; one of Canada’s finest instructional companies. He studied and took Salsa workshops with various international instructors and started locally with Yasmina Ramzy and Maya DaSilva of Arabesque Dance Company, and then continued with Afro-Cuban lessons with Ana Machado and its practical applications to Salsa.
He has an educational background in Office Administration, Social Work, Corporate Communications and NLP, as well as progressive training in internal martial arts. Furthermore, he worked for Toronto Casting Talent Agency for 5 years and had exposure about the arts community in general.
Teddy is credited for developing innovative, comprehensive and challenging training program for all levels of dancers, instructors and performers in order to develop their technical, choreography and artistic development with a balanced vision. He continues to be sought by students, some of whom are well-established performers and teachers, simply by referral or from his international congress workshop instructions.
Along with UnitedSalseros’ Assistant Instructor’s Training Program, he also developed his pet project, Mambo Mosaic, a professional and amateur dance company that have had more than 300 members due to Teddy’s ability to manage and transform students of all levels, various learning capability, and different types of size and height into skilled performers. Most importantly, however, be believes that beauty of social dancing in Salsa has no equal and must be present in both the dance floor and on stage no matter what medium it may take and should be stressed accordingly.
Angus Dirnbeck - iFreestyle.ca
Angus Dirnbeck is the cofounder of iFreeStyle.ca, a Toronto based salsa On2 dance school and performance company. He has been dancing with his partner and iFreeStyle.ca cofounder, Caryl Cuizon, since the spring of 2000. He has been a featured dancer and instructor on stage, tv and film and is regularly sought out as a competition judge. Along with Caryl, Angus is currently choreographing for the upcoming theatre production: "The Weeping Salsa".
Vanesa Stay - Latin Energy
Vanesa Stay founded Latin Energy Dance Company in the year 2002. Just a few years later she became the Vice World Champion at the "World Salsa Federation" Pro Classic Salsa Championships held in Miami. Vanesa has traveled all over Canada and around the world performing and teaching. She has been featured in many TV SHOWS, commercials & movies such as "Take the Lead" movie staring Antonio Banderas, "Party Mamas" TV show - Slice TV, "Style by Jury" Makeover TV show - W Network, "T.O. Latino" TV show Rogers Television, Fall 2008, "Paso a Paso por el Mundo" Televisa (Mexico),"Daytime Toronto" TV show - Rogers Television, "First Local" TV show - Rogers Television Mississauga, Fall 2008, "Mansions" TV show - HGTV Fall 2008.
Oscar Naranjo - Latin Groove Productions
Oscar Naranjo started Latin Groove Productions with a vision of a sharing his passion and love for latin dance. Latin Groove is new, fresh, innovative dance company using a fusion of different rhythms and movements. We thrive on high energy and quality performances! Our dancers come from various dance backgrounds and come together to deliver the spirit, the groove and the rhythm of dance. Our performance team would be happy to provide high quality entertainment for all your private or corporate events.Oscar discovered his passion for Latin dances when he was only 16. With each opportunity, he continued to improve his skills by training with world renowned dance instructors.
Oscar has been performing, teaching, and competing since 1989. He has an extensive dance background consisting of salsa, merengue, cumbia, bachata, tango and cha cha cha. He has also trained with Tango World Champion "Fabian Peralta" during his trip to Argentina in Feb. 2007. His hard work and dedication have always paid off. He was awarded first place in 25 salsa competitions and proudly represented Canada in various Congresses around the world among other important events.Oscar's dream is to travel the world teaching, dancing, competing and sharing his Latin roots. With each journey he hopes to acquire new experiences and techniques to help him grow as a dancer, choreographer and instructor.
Jennifer Aucoin - Steps Dance Studio
Jennifer Aucoin is a full-time salsa instructor, performer, choreographer and event organizer. She is the founder and director of STEPS Dance Studio and co-founder of the Women's Salsa Retreat. She organized the annual Berlin Salsa Competition for 6 years, helping it to become the most prestigious salsa competition in Canada, and now represents Canada on the judging panel for the World Salsa Championships in Las Vegas, one of the largest competitions in the world.
Jennifer is the organizer of the annual Canada Salsa Congress, an international salsa festival that takes place in Toronto every October. This 4-day extravaganza is the largest salsa event in Canada and features nightly performances by dance companies from all over the world and daily salsa workshops given by world-renowned instructors.
Jennifer has been involved in dance and the performing arts her entire life and has extensive training in gymnastics, ballet, flamenco, Argentine tango and, of course, salsa. To keep progressive, she continues to travel extensively to learn from the world's best dancers and instructors, and has attended dozens of salsa congresses in Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Boston, Detroit, Ottawa and Montreal. Jennifer also teaches salsa workshops internationally and has taught in Puerto Rico, Holland, Washington, Detroit, Montreal and Ottawa.
Gulsaya Tuleubayeva - Baila Society
Gulsaya Tuleubayeva was born and raised in Kazakhstan. She joined a classical ballet and world dance company at the age of 7 and continued to dance throughout her childhood, winning several city-wide competitions for solo pieces in bellydancing and the traditional dances of India and Uzbekistan. At the age of 16, Gulsaya won a competitive scholarship from the Freedom Support Act Future Leaders Exchange Program sponsored by US Government. This gave her the opportunity to come to the United States as a cultural ambassador of Kazakhstan while going to high school and living with an American family. She found opportunities to dance in school productions as well as sports dance teams and eventually decided to pursue dance as a career, double majoring in dance and business at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles. This was when she was introduced to a wide range of dance styles, including hip-hop, jazz, tap, African, Cuban, and Salsa. As soon as she heard salsa music, she fell in love with it. She learned LA style salsa "on 1" by first taking a performance class, and only later did she discover social dancing, the aspect of salsa that she loves most. Gulsaya then moved to New York City to attend Baruch College.After graduating from Baruch College with a degree in Real Estate and Metropolitan Development, Gulsaya returned to her most intense passion – salsa – this time taking the opposite approach. She learned New York Style "on 2" entirely through social dancing and then decided to dance professionally with BAILA Society, where she is now a principal dancer and instructor.
Rene Delgado - United Salseros
Bio coming soon!
Congratulations to all the competitors who "brought it" to the stage on Sunday April 25th at Six Degrees. With over 500 people in attendance, the crowd was jumping and the excitement of the event was immense. Thank you to George for his 4th year straight "Host with the Most" title as well as all our amazing judges: Teddy, Angus, Vanesa, Caryl and Oscar. Thank you to all the schools that performed including Go Dance Mambo, Latin Energy
and Latin Groove Productions as well as our very own TDS Helper Team and our sexy TDS Pro Team that debuted their new Cha Cha routine.
Here are the results of the evening!
Elise & Olivier
Julia & Miro
Jamie & Steve
Maysa & Omid
Joanna & Orlando
The 5 Other Competing Couples:
Andreanne & Daniel
Emoke & Mahyar
Angela & Mustafa
Junko & Anthony
Alexandra & Branco
Maysa has always loved the feeling that she gets when she's able to express herself through dancing, but only started with formal training in high school. It wasn't until her university years that she had the opportunity to enjoy a salsa performance, which ignited her interest in latin dances. Her journey led her to join TDS and, almost two years later, her passion for salsa and dancing is still going strong!
As a youth, Omid was always a fan of music and dance. In university, he studied capoeira for a year. Soon after, he took up salsa for brief time before school work took its toll on his free time. A few years later and with plenty of motivation, Omid returned to salsa and has been happily dancing regularly for six months. He owes all this to TDS and the wonderful dance community of which he is now a part.
Jamie has been taking dance lessons and performing in various styles of dance since she was 5 years old. She left dancing behind when shestarted University life, but always knew shecouldn't stay away for long. Salsa was one of the only dances that she never learned so when hermother started taking classes at TDS, she soon followed. Jamie has now been taking classes with TDS for almost a year, and she is going into her second semester as a helper. This is her first time ever competing.
Steve never knew that salsa dancing would become one of his favourite hobbies when he took his first beginner salsa class in 2007 with few friends. His interest in salsa dancing grew as he advanced through the various levels at TDS. Steve became a helper in 2009 and joined the 4th annual TDS helper performance group, which gave him an even greater appreciation for the dance. Steve continues to improve his knowledge and skills in musicality, timing, leading and following. He looks forward to sharing his love for salsa and giving his very best in front of the warm and supportive TDS community at this year’s competition.
Angela started her dancing career at a young age. After taking ballroom dance classes on and off for several years she decided to try something new. Thanks to Jorge C. and Tanya F., two of her ballroom friends, she got exposed to salsa dancing by attending her first TDS outing. Did she have fun? Well after 3 years with TDS it is safe to say that “YES” she did! Through this competition she hopes to continue to improve her salsa skills and just enjoy herself on the dance floor.
It all started in Germany a couple of years ago when friends asked him "Hey, Do you dance Salsa?". It wouldn't have helped if he had replied with "No!". Days later, they all went out for a Salsa night...hmm!...a short time for a big lie. Since then, Mustafa has been keen on learning the New York style, and enjoying the colorful Salsa scenes. Soon after moving to Toronto, he started taking classes again and became a helper at TDS. As a swimmer and a half marathon runner, Mustafa found that Salsa is a great complementary sport with a very unique social flavor.
In an old movie a village elder says to a teenage protagonist, “Learn to dance: your life’s problems will teach you everything else”. Duh! It seemed like one of the problems for Julia for a long time: especially when you describe yourself as directionally challenged and even your mom would give up on teaching you to step correctly. But she just wouldn’t quit, feeling the passion and addiction of Latin rhythms flowing all through her. Fast forward to March 2008 – becoming a member of TDS family transformed for her this Terra Incognita to Terra Santa. So, spreading the Salsa Gospel to new students later that year as a TDS helper seemed a natural progression. Julia admits she is not of a competitive type, but, she quotes, we do not compete because we are good - we become good because we compete. And it is only human to strive to be better in whatever you are doing, especially if you are passionate about it.
Miroslav's passion for music and playing musical instruments from his very young age was just one step away from dancing. Inevitably he made this step from a stage, where he was playing music to the dancing floor during his high school years. Although life circumstances made him take a break from dancing, at the very beginning of 2008 he discovered TDS and his Salsa career took a rocket path. At the end of 2008 he became TDS helper and later on he discovered Salsa On2, Cha Cha Cha, Bachata and most importantly, the life of the performance. He was lucky to join several performance groups, which gave him a greater appreciation for many Latin dances and allowed him to make a step back to the stage in a different and very exciting way. He is always looking for any opportunity to improve his dancing skills and share his experience with others. Salsa definitely changed his personal life and lifestyle in a very positive way.
Alexandra's adventure with salsa began with her cousin dragging her to a drop-in class, ecstatic from the experience she's had with it. Immediately she was hooked – the movement and the flow with which the instructors danced was hypnotizing, the music made her feet move on their own! One of her friends turned out to be an experienced dancer and took her under his wing. She was soon ready for a bigger rush than dancing in a class and, ditching lessons altogether, moved on to the club scene trying to follow whatever she was lead into. Once in university, other priorities emerged and she took a break from salsa. Two years later,she came across a Zumba class at her gym. Being there reminded her how much she enjoyed dancing, especially to Latin music. Another year and quite a few new moves later, in September 2009, she discovered TDS and it gave a new hot spark to her affair with salsa. So much to learn! From then on she just can't seem to stop dancing…
Branco stumbled upon salsa a year ago while looking for new ways to 'keep it real'. Branco's friends suspect he chose salsa only because he was unable to build any serious muscle at the gym and had to find an alternative way to impress the ladies. Be it as it may, Branco is quite fond of salsa and plans to get really good so that he may one day star on 'Dancing With The Stars' and salsa with Brad Pitt!
Joanna was passionate about dancing since a young age and fell in love with Latin music when she was 13, after hearing the "Lambada" song. As time went by, the love for Latin music progressed and intensified, so has the passion for salsa. When she hears music she likes, this music wants to express itself through her or she wants to express herself through music. It is an interchangeable feeling; therefore, dancing provides a sense of freedom of expression. Unfortunately Joanna never had the opportunity to be professionally trained until she took up salsa lessons with TDS in 2008 and was automatically addicted. Since then, she found out about a salsa group in her University and volunteered to help out with basic salsa moves and choreography, which then got to perform with the salsa group at the University cultural show. Currently, signed up with TDS's student performance class and looks forward to learning new moves, choreography and future performances.
Orlando had never really danced salsa up to a year ago except when forced as a little kid to dance with his aunts in family gatherings back in his native South America. Realizing that one cannot play that much soccer in the winter, he decided to prove to his aunts that he could dance after 20 years. What a life changing experience! After seeing great dancers in Toronto nightclubs using their feet and body to draw the complex salsa rhythms, that was it. Orlando had to learn how to do the same: He had to become a painter and the canvas would be the dance floor. So here he is, in his first competition aiming to take his modest salsa skills to the next level!
Junko was introduced to salsa when she was visiting a Mexican bar in New York city. She was fascinated by its sensual, energetic quality and the power of salsa music to lift the spirit . As soon as she got back to the city where she used to live in at the time, she looked for salsa lessons. To her huge disappointment, there was no lessons offered in that city. A few years later she moved to Toronto and was very excited to find out about Toronto Dance Salsa! Now salsa is a very important a part of her life. Salsa brings happiness to her
Anthony first became interested in Salsa during his vacation to Cuba. He was watching one of the nightly performances at the resort when one of the dancers came up to ask him to dance with her. He had a great time dancing with her even thought he had no idea what hewas doing at the time. When he came back he was determine to learn to dance salsa. It was very difficult for him from the beginning because he had no musical or dance background. At one point he was ready to give up but one of his instructors encouraged him to keep going. With lots of help and many lessons he has come to a point where he is comfortable with his dancing. He loves salsa and he hopes he never stops dancing.
Andreanne started dancing ballet when she was 5 years old. She danced for about 15 years, at which point she stopped to concentrate on her studies and professional goals. She was introduced to Latin dances a few years ago during a trip to Cuba.She immediately knew it was something she wanted to pursue.She started dancing in October 2009, and after only a few combos on the dance floor she was addicted to salsa. She recently became a helper at TDS, and she is looking forward to pursuing her salsa journey and sharing her passion with others. She decided to take her dancing to a new level by challenging herself to compete and get out of hercomfort zone. The incredible learning journey that comes along with competing and performing will make her a better dancer and take her dancing to the next level.
t was in 2007 that Daniel discovered Toronto Dance Salsa and Sharon's effective teachings. Daniel completed TDS Level 1 in Aug, 2007. Started TDS Level 2 but was not able to complete it in 2007. Fast forward 2 years later to 2009 and fresh from a championship won after 13 years of recreational and competitive ice hockey, Daniel decides to retire from the sport he loved and to fill it's place with Salsa dancing?! To the dismay of his ice hockey jock buddies, Daniel was actually serious! If you have seen Daniel play ice hockey like a wolverine on skates since he's known for his "aggressive" style of play, it would create quite a cognitive dissonance! In his fashion, he decided to make a commitment to dance salsa seriously (to practice, practice, PRACTICE) for one entire year. He finally did complete TDS Level 2 and then Level 3. Not only is he still holding to his word to give Salsa dancing a fair chance, he's now even crazy enough to compete!
Emoke's salsa journey began several years ago when she was studying art during her undergrad, where she took a beginners salsa class for fun. It turned out that she almost instantly loved the dance and the music. She joined TDS in May of 2009 on the recommendation of a friend, and again her passion for salsa was awakened. This passionate and enjoyable dance comes with a great social scene and opportunity to meet great new people who share her love for the dance. She is currently in Level 4 and this this is her first time ever entering a dance competition. Her goals for the competition are to become a better dancer, experience performing, but most of all to have fun!
It all started from volleyball! Mahyar has been playing volleyball for more than 7 years and last year he was introduced to salsa through his new Cuban volleyball coach. His volleyball mentor believes that Latin dances are a great way to increase muscle coordination. Mahyar has been salsa dancing for 8 months and since then he is a believer that dancing is excellent for your body, mind, and soul! One day he decided to participate in the competition in order to get out of his "Salsa-Comfort-Zone"! This is his first time entering a salsa competition.
Elise studied ballet and modern for four years at an arts high school. She stopped dancing after she graduated she started missing it which is what led her to TDS last year. She started lessons without really knowing the difference between salsa and any other Latin dances but she knew it would be sexy and really fun to learn. She looks forward to competing for her first time and getting better at not stepping on other people's toes while dancing.
Olivier started dancing salsa around February 2008, with no previous dance experience whatsoever, maybe except for awkwardly hopping from one leg to the other to top 40 songs at various "dance" clubs. Olivier was terribly depressed from the harsh Canadian winter when he felt the need to do something more with his life than just becoming a typical couch potato, watching Toronto sports teams lose on TV. Remembering how much fun salsa looked in Dirty Dancing, he googled "Toronto Salsa" and got introduced to salsa with the TDS family…. The rest is history ;)
Thank you to the 600 plus attendees that came out to support our 5 finalist on Sunday May 31st at Six Degrees Nightclub. The evening was an amazing one with a memorable display of turnpatterns, dips, tricks and shines from the competitors. A big thanks to George(ous), our host with the most that kept the evening fun and entertaining as well as the wonderful judges and instructors and assistants who provided a great beginner and intermediate lesson.
Here are the results of the evening!
Mridu & Elton
Winnie & Manuel
Karen & John
Maysa & Dan
Marta & Alex
I‘ve always loved taking dance classes since high school, but it wasn’t until I watched a salsa performance at the CNE that I felt the urge to try out salsa. I signed up for a beginner’s class and caught the salsa bug, but could not find any intermediate level classes that summer. Over a year later, in June 2008, I found TDS, made some great friends and was officially addicted! I love the feeling I get when I dance! And i’m always challenging myself to do the best that I can. Through this competition, I hope to gain performance experience (and get over any stage fright!). There’s just so much to learn about salsa – on2, leading, shines, etc – I plan to be around for a long while. :)
I first became interested in Salsa in Feb. 2008 during my vacation in Trinidad, Cuba. I was sitting at Casa de la Musica watching everyone dance and was captivated by their movements. At that moment I really wished I could dance like that too and participate with the rest of the group. Shortly after, I started taking Casino classes with Vladimir Aranda (I still do) and spending hours upon hours watching youtube videos and teaching myself. I took a break from Salsa during last 4 months of 2008 and finally decided in January 2009 to signup with TDS and take formal classes. I'm a perfectionist so becoming a great salsa dancer is one of my goals. I've also made some great friends along the way and I enjoy teaching others who are interested in learning Salsa.
Eva’s dance history began during her university years. She started taking lessons to learn ballroom dancing in her home country, China. Years later, Eva moved to Toronto where she discovered Toronto Dance Salsa. Captivated by the expressive and social oriented nature of Salsa, Eva took her first class in 2008 and decided to commit to improving her style and technique.
Looking for something new to challenge himself Derek found himself at TDS. Having danced for just under a year, he's known for his determination in refining his technique & timing while consistently improving his shines & styling on the dance floor. The energy of the salsa music is his driving force and the challenges of becoming a more versatile leader is what feeds his will-power to grow as a salsero.
Mridu began to explore and adopt completely opposing forms of dance such as hip-hop over the course of time until her university life roused up her dance life. Her zeal for dancing drove her to explore salsa. With years of Indian classical and hip-hop experience blending with her 6 months of raw salsa energy on the floor, you might wonder what inspires her?! It's the very fact that she enjoys expressing herself with such hunger for rhythm. If you've ever searched for an individual who can shake up their core, drip sweat drops of passion and style as if there was an electric fire then you've found her!
Inspired through his Brazilian roots of samba and other regional rhythms, Elton has a knack of bringing to life the very moving sounds that salsa is known for. With over a year of experience at TDS under his belt, he constantly strives to be a better dancer by exploring the many realms that salsa encompasses. A multitude of dances later into his salsa life, he tries to create an aura of simplicity that can inspire every beginner dancer that he helps at TDS to realize that even a small interest in salsa can be turned into a passion.
Dance has always been one of Michelle's passions. She was trained in ballet and Chinese folk dancing when she was a child. In 2006, a close friend introduced her to Salsa. Although she was captivated by the music and the movements, she didn't start taking salsa lessons until March, 2008 from TDS. Since then, she has caught the salsa bug and became a helper in November, 2008. Through this competition she hopes to improve her dancing and have lots of fun!
Bobby always enjoyed dancing from a young age, but was embarrassed because of his two left feet. So in late in 2006, two friends and he decided to take a class at TDS. He has made many friends of over the past 2 years and joined the helper team in 2008.
Winnie never knew that salsa dancing would become one of her favourite hobbies when she took her first beginner salsa class with TDS in 2007. Her interest in salsa dancing grew as she advanced through the different levels at TDS. Winnie became a helper in 2008 and joined the 3rd annual TDS performance class, which gave her an even greater appreciation for salsa dancing. It also left her with a desire to improve her salsa dancing skills through more performances. Winnie continues to find her dancer-self as she prepares for this year's competition, and she is looking forward to give her best effort on stage in front of the warm and supportive TDS community.
I started dancing salsa as a kid but didn't take any formal lessons until looking for some distraction during grad school. Upon arriving in Toronto I knew I wanted to continue doing it so one of the first things I did was look for a salsa school and that's how I found TDS. I've enjoyed the the lessons and the people and and am always excited to help new students.
Once upon a time, in a Galaxy far-far away, there were earthlings who could dance...Only a year ago it couldn't look farther away for Julia: her battered starship has been navigating the outskirts of the Universe on a seemingly unapproachable trajectory, for what seemed like light years. Through time/space curves and cosmic challenges, deserving a story of their own, only a third attempt to charter a correct course brought her to a successful landing at TDS in March 2008. (Don't they say, women can't read maps? Well, at least asking for directions worked!). There, in salsa dancing she found and firmly staked her own fantasyland, morphing swiftly and unobtrusively into a proven salsa-addict. Intergalactic thanks to Sharon and everyone at TDS! Jumping into becoming a TDS helper definitely added to feeding the habit. Julia admits that salsa dancing, her formerly closeted, true calling, while being an all-season source of newfound happiness, easily combines in itself the adrenaline rush of a black diamond run, weightless excitement of skydiving, enough mental exercise to keep even directionally challenged brains sharp, a mood drug of choice, and intense workouts with effects similar to those of martial arts training: all this - in a relaxed and friendly social setting. Oh, and did I mention fun? This was the main reason for signing up for a competition; as obviously, wise would not be the right word to describe expecting mastery after only a year of classes. But hey, as now salsa is deeply entrenched within, like a symbiotic life form, it's high time to step out of the comfort zone and take it up a notch - "to boldly go where one has never gone before"!
Vincent's salsa journey started in fall of 2006 at Seneca College as a way to meet other people and have fun. Although he enjoyed the class out there, it wasn't until he joined Toronto Dance Salsa in the beginning of 2007, after a friend's recommendation that he grew a strong passion for the dance. Toronto Dance Salsa fostered an atmosphere where people were friendly and the instructors made the class really fun and enjoyable. Today, he still fondly looks back on those days, and thanks each and every one who has helped him in his salsa journey. It brings him no greater joy when dancing than to see a smile on the partner's face knowing that she is enjoying as much as he is – dancing to the same music to a move well executed.
My passion for Salsa evolved from my interest for Latin Language and Culture. My fascination with dancing led me to discover TDS in 2006. Since joining I quickly learned and realized that Salsa is my true passion and identity. With Salsa dancing came active helping ending up with the desire of perfecting and moving up to perform at the TDS Competition. The intense flavor of Latin music and magic of rhythmical dancing makes me complete! At last the satisfaction of helping others fulfills one of my inner dreams.
Before joining Toronto Dance Salsa Alex couldn't stand any kind of latin music. He started taking lessons with TDS last January only because a friend asked him to and because he needed something to fill up his spare time. Slowly but surely, the salsa beat took him over, and after a few months he was going out salsa dancing constantly. Alex became a helper for TDS in September and is now enjoying a solid diet of 15-20 hours of salsa dancing every week. Alex loves dancing with newcomers to salsa. For him, the look ladies get when he leads them into an unexpected move is priceless.
I am 21 years old and started salsa dancing about two months ago and immediately fell addicted to the scene. At the time i started salsa dancing i was working and busy with life and realized i needed to do something that i love to do and that's when i took up salsa dancing. I find dancing a great way for me to express my love and passion for life.
In 2001, during a corporate outing, a co-worker pulled Nick on the dance floor and showed him some basic salsa steps. Nick had so much fun he wanted to take salsa lessons – being shy he put off the dance classes for the next seven years. In the winter of 2008, he was re-inspired when a close friend started taking lessons and was describing how much fun it was. Nick joined Toronto Dance Salsa in June 2008 and became a helper in February 2009. Realizing it's not as easy as it looks, he is continually practicing and taking lessons to improve.
Karen Di Monte
Karen has been salsa dancing since 2008. While studying law overseas in Leicester, England, she enrolled in Cuban salsa classes and was instantly hooked! Upon returning to Toronto in June 2008, Karen was introduced to Toronto Dance Salsa where she began taking salsa and tango lessons concurrently. Before long, Karen was addicted to the salsa beat, and going out salsa dancing several times a week. Since then, she has developed passion for salsa and loves having fun on the dance floor. Karen continues to seek new and creative ways to improve her dancing skills and technique while attending various workshops, congresses, socials, clubs and most recently, competing in the TDS competition.
John Radtke has been with TDS for almost 4 years, and this is his 3rd year competing in the amateur competition. Aside from helping out in classes, John has performed with a few amateur performance choreography groups including Toronto Dance Helper performance class, and most recently Ifreestyle's 7th Performance class. He continues to better himself as a dancer through lessons, workshops and congresses, and spends much of his free time dancing the night away on the dancefloors of Toronto's amazing Latin club scene.
What an amazing evening the finals turned out to be! We had almost 700 people in attendance to cheer on our 5 finalist couples competing for the title of 2008 TDS Amateur Competition Winners. Congratulations to Kelly Elliott and Barry Ip who won first place, Camela Adams and Manuel Alvarez who placed second, Therese Maceda and James Kalfin who placed third and Marsha Soefrieddie, John Radtke, Jennifer Botelho and Tyrone Sterling for placing as runners up.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped make the evening unforgettable - George(ous) our host, our genrous sponsors, the amazing judges (Teddy Olaso, Rene Delgado, Angus Dirnbeck, Ana Machado and Salsa Steph) and the creative performers (iFreestyle, Mambo Mosaic and GoDanceMambo).
Here are the winners' photos and the prizes that they won!
Kelly Elliott & Barry Ip
1st Place Winners
A full Canada Salsa Congress Pass for each of them, a full Miami Salsa Congress Pass for each of them with 1 night hotel stay, a full World Salsa Competition Pass for each, 3 pairs each of dance shoes from both Century Wide shoes, Gabellini Shoes and Addicted to Dance Shoes, dinner & show from Plaza Flamingo, Peridot Rest Lounge Gift Certificates, 1 year membership to Lula Lounge's salsa Fridays, t-shirts from Shokkwear, Meet Market Adventures Gift Certificate and Trophies
Camela Adams & Manuel Alvarez
2nd Place Winners
2 full passes to the Calgary Salsa Congress, 2 full passes to the Miami Salsa Congress w DVD, 2 pairs of shoes each from Century Wide Shoes and Gabellini Shoes, Salsa T-shirts from Shokkwear, Gift vouchers from Addicted to Dance Shoes, Meet Market Adventures, Peridot Resto Lounge and Trophies
Therese Maceda & James Kalfin
3rd Place Winners
Evening passes to the Miami Salsa Congress, 2 pairs of shoes each from Century Wide Shoes and Gabellini Shoes, Salsa T-shirts from Shokkwear, Gift vouchers from Addicted to Dance Shoes, Meet Market Adventures, Peridot Resto Lounge and Trophies
Jennifer Botelho & Tyrone Sterling
Marsha Soefreddie & John Radtke
Congratulations to the following five finalists who will be battling it out Friday July 4, 2008 at the Finals Round of the competition at Six Degrees Nightclub. Thank you to everyone who participated - it was an amazing evening with lots of excitement, friendships and fun! Thanks to George(ous) for being the host with the most and the judges and performance teams from iFreestyle and Latin Energy for the spectacular performances!
To view photos from the preliminaries please visit:
Jennifer Botelho & Tyrone Sterling
John Radtke & Marsha Soefreddie
James Kalfin & Therese Maceda
Manuel Alvarez & Camela Adams
Barry Ip & Kelly Elliott
Camela was born into a family that has a passion for dancing. Having a grandfather who use to teach dancing in the basement of his home back in South America, to family functions and local Caribbean Carnivals, dancing has always embraced Camela's life and family. After hitting the salsa clubs with friends a few years back, Camela feel in love with the smooth, sultry beats of salsa and was determine to learn how to dance to salsa music. Camela decided to visit a TDS class in order to see the basic steps of salsa dancing. She immediately knew that she wanted to start taking lessons. She joined TDS in June of 2007 and has been taking classes and volunteering as a helper. Camela continues to frequent the local latin clubs and TDS outings simply for the love of the music and dance.
Manuel has grown up with salsa music and is always captivated by the sound. He has been a member of TDS since March 2006 and enjoys the interaction with other students. Through this competition he hopes to continue his salsa growth and just have fun.
Before joining Toronto Dance Salsa, Jennifer enjoyed the sounds of Latin music immensely and hitting the salsa clubs but at some point that wasn't enough. She was so eager to learn more so that she can express her passion for dancing without limitation. It was time for Jennifer to step it up and make dancing a bigger part of her life, which lead her to TDS in July of 2007. Since then Jennifer has been able to improve her dancing techniques and meet some amazing people. Regardless of the outcome of the Toronto Dance Salsa Amateur Competition, she will hold this great experience close to her heart and continue to challenge herself. This is the first of many milestones to come!
Tyrone began dancing in April 2002. After a break Tyrone began classes at Toronto Dance Salsa in the summer of 2006 and became a helper in March 2007. It has been a great experience for him and he continues to learn and challenge himself by learning to dance on 2, joining the Toronto Dance Salsa performance group and now competing.
Therese grew up dancing; Hawaiian and Filipino folk dancing led the way to 12 years of training and competing in tap and jazz. After an extended break from formal dance instruction, she is happy to be back in her dancing shoes once again. Therese began salsa lessons on a lark with a friend and has since re-discovered her passion for all things dance, in particular taking classes and dancing herself. While dancing, her number one goal is always to have fun, but she also enjoys the opportunity to express herself, as well as the mental and physical challenge of learning something new. One of the things about salsa that keeps her interested is that she must rely on a connection with her partner to become a better dancer and that is very different from any style of dancing she has previously learned. Therese hopes to study as many styles of dance as she can possibly squeeze into her free time and vows never to stop dancing again!
In 2000 James moved to Toronto from Montreal. He was exposed to Salsa in Montreal, but never actually built up the nerve to try it. Being a newcomer in Toronto James thought taking on salsa would be a great way to meet people and so in early 2002 he started with Toronto Dance Salsa. Since then he has met many great friends and has been loving dancing ever since.
Mildred's friend invited her to go out to a salsa club for the first time and she was so amazed that the people there danced so well. She became interested and searched for a dance school on the internet. She found a ballroom school and called right away, but had a terrible experience on the phone. So she tried Toronto Dance Salsaand spoke to the instructor who was so warm, nice and very accomodating. She promised to call me as soon as the new class began, and she did, and that was Sharon Galor. From there everything is history. Now Mildred says to herself, 'I am Mildred Quinto and I am a salsa addict." No regrets -because of TDS she is blessed with very nice friends and acquaintances.
David's salsa journey began in the spring of 2006 when he joined TDS. He progressed from Level 1 up to the Toronto Dance Salsa 2nd performance group. Today, he continues to be an active TDS helper and strives to improve his dancing by attending Salsa conventions and workshops. He has never looked back ever since Salsa saved his life last year after his plane went down in northern Muskoka where he was able to make a signal fire by Salsa moves alone.
A friend of Natash took her to a small salsa club in Little Italy and pulled her on stage to dance. Embarassed as she felt, she did what she could, fell in love with the music and found her natural groove. That sparked her interest in salsa and she attended her first salsa cruise summer of 2006. When Natasha saw the dancers and all their snazy combinations, tricks and dips, she had to learn the steps so she could actually dance. She did some research online and found Toronto Dance Salsa and signed up!! From then on, she's been out to various salsa clubs and is having a ball learning new combos!
Joseph Sackey is a stepping choreographer, entertainer,and personal life coach. He recently completed his last semester at the University of Toronto, studying Psychology. He has been a part of Toronto Dance Salsa for over two years, as a student to begin with and later as a helper. Joseph was inspired to learn salsa when he was rejected by a girl at a salsa club. From that moment on, he was determined to learn salsa. Joseph is excited about dancing with Natasha in the competition and hopes his years of dance and performance experience will contribute to their success.
Bio coming soon!
Barry's salsa journey began in April 2006. He was talking to a friend about salsa and from there he was introduced to TDS. Since then, he has taken most of the classes offered by TDS including the Toronto Dance Salsa 2nd Performane Class. He is also currently an active helper at TDS, and enjoys helping others learn. He continues to strive to improve himself by learning from watching other salsa dancers.
Marsha has always found latin music to be so infectious - she can't help but want to dance whenever she hears it. While on vacation a few years ago, someone pulled her on the dance floor and patiently showed her the basic steps, a couple turns and a dip. She was hooked. Marsha was thrilled to finally be able to marry the salsa footwork with the latin rhythms that she so enjoyed. To build on this foundation, she started taking lessons with TDS in spring 2007 and has enjoyed every minute of it. She looks forward to continually improving her dancing as well as meeting people from all walks of life that share one common passion - salsa!
John Radtke joined Toronto Dance Salsa about 2 and a half years ago, and has been a helper for about a year and a half. He was born into a musical family, and the rhythm of latin music is what has kept him dancing until now, and will for years to come. The best part is that it all started with him losing a bet to his sister who dragged him to his first class, and he's been loving it ever since. Although he has many years of experience on stage performing as a singer, last year was the first time he performed as a dancer. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and ended up placing second. He had so much fun with it last year that he's decided to give it another shot. He is very excited to be dancing with Marsha this year, and is confident that they will both enjoy their experience. He was also part of the Toronto Dance Salsa Performance group, which gave him a new perspective on choreographed dancing. He continues to push his salsa limits while attending congresses, workshops, and most recently he has begun studying ON2 Salsa, which he is becoming very passionate about.
Andrea was first intoroduced to salsa when she was given a free introductory lesson and loved it! She has been taking lessons with Toronto Dance Salsa for 7 months and enjoyes showing her new moves off at the clubs. This is her first time entering a salsa competition.
Jonathan is a screenwriter who caught the salsa bug while traveling in Cali, Colombia. After many nights of embarrassing himself and his country on the dance floor, he came back to Canada and started lessons with Toronto Dance Salsa. Now, one year later, this gringo has learned a few things, and he looks forward to the day when he can return to the Salsateques of Cali and hold his own.
Nina Huang & Alfred Kee
1st Place Winners
A full Canada Salsa Congress Pass for each of them, a full Miami Salsa Congress Pass for each of them with 1 night hotel stay, a full World Salsa Competition Pass for each, 2 pairs each of dance shoes from both Century Wide shoes and Addicted to Dance Shoes, $100 at Amaretto's Restaurant, dinner & show from Plaza Flamingo, Eggplant Restaurant Gift Certificates, an Ipod docking station and 1 year membership to Lula Lounge's salsa Fridays, t-shirts from Salstar and Trophies
Monica Della-Quercia & John Radtke
2nd Place Winners
Gift vouchers from Addicted to Dance Shoes and 1 pair of shoes each from Century Wide Shoes, 1 year membership to Lula Lounge Salsa Fridays, Eggplant Restaurant Gift Certificates, Dinner and show at Plaza Flamingo, Canada Salsa Congress Friday Night Passes, Miami Salsa Congress Passes and Trophies
Tania Fertuck & Rajeev Samuel
3rd Place Winners
Gift vouchers from Addicted to Dance Shoes and Century Wide Shoes, 1 year membership to Lula Lounge Salsa Fridays, Eggplant Restaurant Gift Certificates, Gift Certificate for dinner at Green Bamboo, Canada Salsa Congress Thursday Night Passes, and Trophies
Kimberly Robinson & Mark Curtis
Stella Chan & Steve Smith
2007 Performance Groups
Latin Energy Kids
****Photography provided by Quan Zhang ****
A big congratulations to the 5 Finalists of the Preliminary Round. The following 5 Finalists will be performing their choreographed routine in the Finals Round on May 25, 2007 at 6 Degrees.
Tania Fertuck & Rajeev Samuel
Kimberly Robinson & Mark Curtis
Kelly Elliott & Barry Ip
Monica Della-Quercia & John Radtke
Nina Huang & Alfred Kee
The heat outside was nothing compared to the heat inside at 6 Degrees Friday as over 550 people packed the place for the first salsa competition in four years - Toronto Dance Salsa (TDS)'s 1st Amateur Salsa Competion.
Five fearless and intrepid couples - Monica & John, Tania & Rajeev, Steve & Stella, Kimberly & Barry, Nina & Alfred - took the stage to show it off to the judges and to the hundreds in the audience.
Anticipation was in the air. "She was in my Level 5 class. ..." " ... Where did they learn the dips?" Who was going to win?
Some Serious Loot
The stakes were high with the winning couple getting: 2 full Canada Salsa Congress passes, 2 full Miami Salsa Congress passes with a 1 night hotel stay, 2 full World Salsa Federation passes, 2 pairs each of dance shoes from Century Wide Dance Shoes and Addicted 2 Dance Shoes, $100 at Amaretto's Restaurant, a Plaza Flamingo Dinner & Show, Eggplant Restaurant Gift Certificates, an Ipod docking station and two 1 year Lula Lounge's Salsa Fridays membership, Tees from Salstar and Trophies. That's some serious loot!
A full evening was planned, with lessons, the competition, dancing, more dancing, three shows and the winners and a surprise.
A little something for everybody got the night going - a multi-level beginner, intermediate, advanced - lesson taught by TDS instructors with about an hour of DJ Efren's music to practice with before the main event!
MC George, whose 6' 5"+ towered over the stage and Katie's 4' 10 & 1/2" got down to business around 11:00pm. with a quickie salsa step and and Sharon's announcment on her recent engagement.
The five judges, all experienced performers and choreographers were introduced and took their places in front of the stage. iFreestyle's Angus, United Salseros's Teddy, Latin Energy's Oscar & Vanesa and Ana Machado settled in for a challenging night.
The couples came on stage together for a two minute warm-up to get a feel for the floor, shake out any last minute jitters, get used to the lights and the buzz from the crowd. The buzz got louder as glimpses of what was to come flashed by.
Numbers from the hat set the competition order.
MC George introduced each couple with a very brief bio. The crowd could see the faces behind the names or the "couple x."
Kimberly & Mark drew the toughest spot, first up. Warming up the crowd - and the judges - that's really tough. MC George noted that Kimberly caught the salsa bug on a trip to Cuba and started lessons with TDS in the fall of 2005, took all six levels, and started helping Sharon with classes. The feeling of flying during spins is her biggest kick! Summer 2005 was Mark's foray into salsa. A few visits to Ba Ba Luu got him hooked. The bar was set.
Monica & John were second up. MC George mentioned that a Spanish father and an Uruguayan mother infused Monica with rhythm and soul that only salsa could bring out. A busy mom, her 8 and 11 year old girls are very proud of her. John began taking lessons with Toronto Dance Salsa in late 2005 and ran - danced through? through levels one to five.
Stella & Steve were third up. MC George told the crowd that Stella's first salsa experience was at a company salsa party. she got dipped and that was it. She wanted more! Steve caught the salsa bug from the silver screen. Patrick Swayze & Kelly Lynch's Roadhouse was the culprit and the influence on his dance. One sexy routine coming up!
Tania & Rajeev drew the fourth spot. MC George noted that Tania wanted back into dance, and ballroom was one way. She loved her ballroom. But the instructor took the summer off. So Tania took a Level 2 salsa class in May 2006 to kill time waiting for ballroom instructor to come back. Not! It's been Salsa ever since. Rajeev started dancing as it was on his "to do list" before the big three - oh. Salsa's fun factor, the music and its self-expression hooked him!
Alfred & Nina drew lucky 5 and had a warmed up crowd. Nina picked up Salsa during a year teaching down in Medellin, Columbia with her friends. Her Toronto friends started taking her to some of downtown clubs - Ba Ba Luu perhaps? That's how she met Alfred. No formal classes yet, so Nina signed up with TDS in January 2006. No looking back. Alfred's only vice coming away from a job in the notorious Amsterdam was an uncurable salsa bug.
In a blink, it was over - Five 2' to 2' 30" performances gone in a swirl of arms, legs, faces and music.
Now the judges had to retire and thrash out amongst themselves the winners.
How to keep the crowd distracted? Shows! Why Not?
Oscar & Vanessa's Latin Energy Kids filled the stage with their own magic that was seen at the 4th Salsa Congress and the 2nd Winter Salsa Carnival. Little Bria is not so little now, having been performing for several years.
iFreestyle.ca's performance group showed 'em what the ON2 crowd can do - to a Western theme.
United Salseros' Mambo Mosiac mixed a little tango with their salsa to give the crowd a spicy treat.
MC George got everyone's attention again and it was time... The moment everyone in the place was waiting for. Everyone had put in months of practice; finding a partner, choosing music, practicing, practicing, practicing. ... Who won?
Here is the list - in order. Nina & Alfred - 1st; Monica & John 2nd; Tania & Rajeev - 3rd; Runners up Steve & Stella; Kimberly & Mark.
Everyone came away a winner. It takes guts to compete, to put one's dance before the world to see and be judged.
The evening ended with a huge birthday circle for Evan - even George gave him a spin!
The Toronto Dance Salsa gang can look forward to a second salsa competition. If the first one was any indication, a second one will be beyond belief. Start getting in some of those performance classes in now and hunt down some music. If you think the salsa bug is bad, the competition and performance bug is worse...
Sponsors included: Canada Salsa Congress, Miami Salsa Congress, World Salsa Federation, § Century Wide Dance Shoes, Addicted to Dance Shoes, Super Latin Music, Lula Lounge, Plaza Flamingo, Eggplant Restaurant, Amaretto's Restaurant, Plaza flamingo, Super Latin Music, Salstar T-shirts.
People who made the night a succes include: Katie, Nicole, Kimberly, Nina, Anthony, Christianne, Evan, George and more.
Article and Photos Provide by SalsaTO