Some of you might be wondering what you can wear for the upcoming 1950s Havana Party. So I decided to give you some ideas:
What you need to be thinking is Cuba: Cigars, hats, smart shirts, brightly coloured and braces. Much like these:
Your dress (yes, it should be a dress) should be along the lines of a sexy, classic style, cocktail dress- floral or brightly coloured. Flowers in the hair would be a GREAT idea- but make sure you have secured them well- you will be spinning quite a bit! Think ‘Dirty Dancing 2’ and you will be on the right track! Here is some inspiration:
See you all on the 13th October, if not before!!
That moment when the music pounds in your heart
Adrenaline surges through your every vain
You connect with the band
You connect with your partner across the floor
You dance towards each other
Every speedy beat is expressed in your body and in his
You meet in the middle
You do not touch
Rather you dance around each other
The music creating the strongest bond
Swift notes move your limbs
A drum roll shakes your hips
A slight pause causes an intake of breath
He takes your hand and spins you around him
The music surges through you both
He leads two quick combs
Spontaneously you roll your bodies towards each other
The music slows
You are spun
Ah! That moment!
See you at the Havana 1950s Salsa Party! 13 October!
Arriving in the car park of Barbosa was nerve-wracking- you were wearing a mask and feeling a little bit silly… but as soon as you get out of the car another car load of people get out across the way and they too are masked! Immediately your feelings turn to hope! You smile at them and begin to walk inside.
Outside, the tables are empty- it is still winter and early in the evening, but when you round the corner you walk into another group of people- dressed to the nines and masked! Now you are nervously excited, this party could potentially be one to remember! Inside the DJ has begun playing and a much larger crowd is waiting at the bar, masked and hopeful!
The lesson begins, some are masked and some not, but the vibe is electric. It is an absolute squeeze! You would never have thought so many people could be in this room at the same time, never mind learning how to salsa in it! But nonetheless everyone is moving, everyone is learning! The music is played after a few steps have been explained, and the fun begins- some people are falling over their feet, others are getting their groove on, everyone is loving it! Masked faces are smiling and laughing! Partners change, a new mask is dancing in front of you; you move with the music, the congas are by now beating in your heart. The lesson finishes, you have learnt your moves and are ready to party!
DJ Crazy A starts with a great song, people around you are hugging and greeting, chatting or running to replenish at the bar. Next to you a couple starts dancing, then you notice couples around you all spinning and moving while the music just gets better. Determined to join on the fun, you grab a partner and put into effect the moves you just learnt, soon you start playing with other moves. The happy bubble in your stomach grows and grows!
The song ends, you thank your partner, get a new one and dance the next song also. And the next one, and the next one. Eventually your thirst is greater than your need to dance and you finally make it to the bar. You get a drink and move to your group of friends. The hours roll swiftly by but you notice no time, you are having a blast- between friends and salsa, the bar and meeting new people and great music, you are loving it!
During a dance you notice the drums are highlighted in the current song, you look up and see a percussionist next to the DJ. He is rocking it out! DJ Crazy A lowers the music and the beat of percussionist Keith Coxon rises to a new level. Your blood pounds along with his salsa rhythm and you are bursting to match your movement to his exhilarating drumming. In the following songs Keith and the DJ get a brilliant groove going- an amazing party just got even better!
By the end of the night, or rather early the next morning your feet are burning, yet your heart is as high as a kite having spent your Saturday night in the perfect way!
Is this something of your experience last Saturday?
Welcome to Salsa, Masquerader!
Come and check out our weekly classes to up your moves…
THE NEXT PARTY: 13 OCTOBER! Watch this space for more info!!
Salsa, like anything in life is learnt by practice. Therefore, the quickest way to learn how to dance salsa is by immersion. Immerse yourself in the dance. Find a place to dance as many nights of the week as possible. Contact us if you are unsure of where you can go in Cape Town.
We have lately taken a beginner to an advanced level within 6 weeks merely because she danced 5 nights a week! The more hours you put in, the quicker your ability and confidence will grow.
When you are out dancing, dance with everyone! Be certain to dance with those who are better than you as well as with those who are at your level. Dancing with someone at your own level is great, you learn and play and practice together. Dancing with someone who is above your level is like a free 4 minute private lesson. Every move is a lesson learnt- cherish it! Every track is an opportunity- don’t waste the music!
Another means of immersion is to listen to salsa music- all the time. Salsa music is very complex and many hear it simply as a whole lot of noise in the beginning of their salsa journey. The more you listen to Salsa music the more your ear and then your body will be able to understand it and respond to it. So, fill up your Ipod with some amazing salsa tunes and play it all day.
Here’s to hours and hours of fun!
Arriving at Cape-Town & Just Dancing Salsa!
It’s pouring with rain in CPT, cold and wet. How very inspiring!
Coming from Hamburg I’m on business & time out at the other end of the world. So there are many evenings to fill even with a full schedule… I brought my dancing shoes, not really knowing what to do with them. Finally, I am a female social scientist, past my fifties, mother of five great kids – and not thoroughly a dancing queen and definitely not in a totally unknown country.
But then friends told me about “Just dancing Salsa” at the Barbosa, near the Waterfront. Hmmm.
“Why not give it a try,” I asked myself?
After some bad cancer events I had two Salsa classes in Hamburg which taught me at least when and where to put my feet, not with too much fun. That was not really “dancing”, that was more sort of jumping around rather clumsily. And so I felt: just clumsy. Should I really try again…???
I did, one Wednesday, stepping in on one of the Salsa classes with Lani & Carlos, Just dancing Salsa, being more scared than excited.
But what a surprise?! Even after only a few minutes it was good fun, though I was clumsily tapping around, getting confused with steps and rhythm in a foreign language and scarcely getting my feet out of the way of others. But Lani & Carlos just focussed on the positive results. So there were some veritable remarks like “awesome!” and “great!” every now and then coming from Carlos and they sound truthful, despite how I felt.
“This was hope,” I thought!
After this first lesson, which had brought me right in the middle of an advanced class, Carlos & Lani talked to me, suggesting stepping into the running courses and as well having “some additional private lessons” with both of them in order to keep up with the rest of the group and “to get the feeling of Salsa”. Well, this sounds reasonable! They also suggested joining the Bachata beginner class in order to develop a better rhythm-feeling.
Now let’s talk plain stuff: Bachata was the least I wanted to experience in CPT after two of those dances in Hamburg!
Me? No! Never ever! Not this knee bumping, hip wagging, dancing-with-my-legs-apart what-ever-it-was-thing!
But both were smiling at me. “You’ll just improve your understanding of dancing Latin rhythm…!” Carlos said with a broad and cheeky smile coming from under his fancy little hat while Lani just looked sweet and calm at me. Could I resist this innocent smile? No, I couldn’t.
So we agreed on me having an additional Bachata class as well.
When I was driving home that night, with rain pouring out of all heavenly doors and corners, I was happily smiling while trying to get my car right on the wrong side of the road. After all, everything was on the wrong side in this country: cars, gearstick, windscreen wiper, blinker, even the crossing lights. So why not do things which I promised myself never to do?
So from that moment onwards I was learning to dance Salsa & Bachata as well as driving on the left side of the road: Lani & Carlos made it easy, always indicating that Salsa was a social dance – and men were supposed to lead the way.
This was going to be a major topic during our dancing lessons. I realized this from my first private lesson onwards.
Now, how can I accept that, being an old German business lady used to living a sort of self-determined life for many, many decades??? My mind would get the message but my body was just resisting. What was I supposed to do? How can you a man let lead the way? It really was a hard time for me…
I realized very soon that it was one thing to understand mentally of how to. But it was something totally different to have your body and steps being moved by a man! It was also especially because this moving & looking into the women’s eyes – my eyes! – actually was looking & feeling very sexy. Even if I felt unsure, I just had to watch Lani & Carlos: Yes, it was sexy! Very sexy indeed.
“One –two – three – and heeep! Five – six – seven – and heeep!” Lani’s teaching expertise kept us all busy, learning and laughing. This Bachata rhythm you will never forget, I tell you! So finally I fell in love with dancing Bachata.
Anyhow – it was all simply studying and training and both Lani & Carlos were encouraging all their students to dance: after the classes, in between the classes, on every possible occasion! Since we regularly changed partners, being couples or not, everybody learned to dance with everybody else, and everybody got the same chances to experience to dance with either Lani or Carlos, meaning to experience the difference of dancing styles and levels. What varied experiences!
And very often there was this inspiring comment from Carlos, “Awesome!” when a turn was ok. And even if the person did not really believe the truth of his judgement, it still was giving confidence and certitude. Is there anything else you need on the dance-floor when you are a beginner?
I decided not!
So finally I ended up dancing Salsa or Bachata four times per week, taking every advantage of dancing Salsa in town. When walking up Lion’s Head, I still tried to do my Salsa rhythm and turns when nobody was watching. So sometimes people would look funnily at me on my way down.
And the really nice experience was: Very often Lani & Carlos would turn up at the Salsa Parties in town and we could watch them. It was always amazing to see how beautifully they were dancing, Lani swirling around and bending like an elf while Carlos seemed to lead her very soft and gently. But however beautiful they were dancing together, Carlos later would always be dancing with all their students while Lani was swirled around the dance floor by the other guys.
Even on the party floor Carlos would comment on the progress everybody had made with an “awesome…!” you just had to believe.
There is a moment when you really start believing that! And then progress starts by itself.
So after 6 weeks of training, fun, enjoying and party, I felt safe on the Salsa dance-floor! My turns are swift and gentle, I get the rhythm right (ok, mostly…), my partner runs a fair chance of leading me – and I had a wonderful time, much fun and lots of new and inspiring experiences!
And then I even found somebody to make my personally designed Salsa dress, which is now swirling around my legs when I turn…! IT IS really awesome!
August 5th, 2012, back home in Hamburg: