Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I’m still recovering from the Palm Springs salsa weekend (the twice yearly SalsaMambo Festival). Four nights of dancing until early morning, combined with teaching workshops during the day. I arrived Thursday afternoon, taught the opening classes in the evening, danced and taught four hours per day the next two days. Six hours of my classes were working with Edie in her bootcamp classes, and the others were my Salsa intro and musicality classes.

Eat, teach, eat, nap, eat, and dance from around 9 pm until early morning, then sleep a few hours and repeat. Throw in some energy drinks (Hansen’s new “Rumba” orange juice) and stay on the dance floor a few more hours.

I had a blast dancing with lots of great dancers who I never meet before. I danced with an excellent dancer from France who said “No English” at the beginning of our first dance. One time she did an exceptionally sexy move and I said “nice!” (out of habit), and she said “Oh… I know that word…” in broken English and laughed. We danced a couple songs each night and dancing was our only common language. When the songs ended it was just a smile and a hug, and it was obvious during the dance we had a strong dance connection and we both enjoyed it.

One thing I noticed was how many people danced with people from their hometown. They may have traveled hundreds of miles, then they danced with the others they dance with on a normal weekend at home. Even stranger to me, during the social dance time, many of the couples who performed together, also social danced together.

My theory is if you travel to an event, that is the perfect time to dance with new people, since there are so many others traveling as well. The ratio of known to unknowns is totally reversed compared to my local scene, where I see a set of people every week or so.

Because I've done this event a few years, I do see a subset of people who I meet in the past. It's great dancing with people I saw last year, but why dance with someone who I'll see next weekend at my local club?

I have some theories on why this is, and I’ll expand on them over the next couple days.

Your thoughts are welcomed as well! (If you went, let me know how it was for you.)
The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is
no good evidence either way.
-Bertrand Russell


  1. I spent a good part of your music class at the Doral wondering what a Clave was! I figured out later! I enjoy your posts and you give good suggestions about learning better, and making friends. Thanks Mr. Salsagray!

  2. You are not alone! Clave is very important to Salsa, but I don't think it's the first thing most people should do in terms of ear training/listening.

    If you listen to the Susie Hansen tune we discussed, the sound is the first sound heard. I have an article that discusses clave so you can see how it usually looks today and hear the sound if you take the links.

    I'll post something tomorrow with direct links to those articles to make things easier.

    Thanks for the feedback! See you at the clubs.


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Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero