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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Salsa in Toronto

Lady's Ballroom Dance Shoes Signature S1001My Sexy Shoes (Salsa Remix)Salsa aficionados are called 'Salseros'. There's just something about this social dance form that can become quite addictive.
I have not danced regularly for several years, with some half-hearted on and off attempts last year and a couple years before. But what is it about the memories of being at one with the rhythm which draws you back... I have salsa fever again!
I think music and dance are the quintessential drug of abandon. Latin music is mesmerizing and latin dance can be a channel for unleashing those passions which we keep under wraps. This is NOT ballroom dancing!
In the moments when you dance and feel the perfect balance with your partner, when you perfectly play off each other... those are the moments when everything else disappears and you and the rhythm are one. There are times when there is nothing but the music and your feet move of their own accord in this expressive art form.

I'm not sure that any salsero can quit completely. I had other priorities for a few years and salsa was pretty much at the bottom of the list. But now there is a compulsion to to succumb to it again.

There are several dances popular in the latin social circuit in Toronto. There's salsa, merengue, cha cha , bachata. I have recently been trying out the Sunday Socials at  Toronto Dance Salsa  at the Empress Walk and I find the standard of dancing there pretty good. The floor is spacious and excellent for spinning and the temperature is controlled. I also like the wall of mirrors which must come in very handy for learning the moves. I've had experience teaching salsa in the past and the benefit of mirrors is not to be underestimated. Seeing how you execute the moves can be very revealing...( a LOT unsaid!).
I also found the amateur competition hosted by Toronto Dance Salsa last Sunday at 6 Degrees to be quite entertaining. I would say the standard of amateur competition in TO to be pretty on the same level with that of Trinidad. ( I should know, having helped host some of the Trinidadian competitions with Walter Diaz who is now back in Peru)... (Maybe I am a little biased...)

The Saturday Socials hosted by Toronto Salsa Practice at the Trinity-St. Paul's church, at 427 Bloor Street West is also worth attending. Jim welcomes everyone and is a great guy. The floor is quite large and pretty good for dancing when you get the large room for the 3.30pm session. It's not airconditioned but you get used to it. Unfortunately sometimes you get the small rooms for the 5.30 session and that's not so good for keeping out of other people's way!. However last two Saturdays we got the large room, so here's to hoping it continues.

I have also been to the Sunday Socials at Go Dance Mambo located at Dovercourt House on Bloor West, but not for some time now. But the floor there is large and pretty good as well.

There are many other venues in TO which I have not had the opportunity to try yet.
But dancing in the Socials is a wonderful way to release some tension and loosen up while you prepare mentally for the work week ahead. In these places you meet new people and it matters not that you don't  have a partner. The guys generally ask everyone to dance and if they don't, the salsa etiquette encourages women to ask the men. They will not refuse you ladies, Just ask as graciously as you expect them to ask you. (And at least TRY not to refuse humble offers!)

And remember people...dancing is supposed to be fun and mistakes are always going to happen. Don't feel you must always correct your partner and make it obvious that she did not turn exactly how you wanted, or did not execute the school move correctly. It's not about being correct, but about how you harmonise with each other on the dance floor. The hallmark of a good latin dancer is not that you don't make any mistakes at all, but how stylishly you cover up your missteps. Put your heart into the music and your body will follow.
You are one hell of a passionate person!

 

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