Singapore Salsa Festival

The first ever salsa festival in Singapore started with much aplomb on Friday 13th October. When ty and myself arrived at Downtown East on Friday?night after work, we were just in time for the first round of performances. It was truly entertaining, esp this little couple aged 10-11 who got the crowd roaring with delight. We danced till 10 plus and decided to have an early night since the next 2 days would be really exhausting.

?And it did prove to be a wise choice, cos by the end of Saturday, my feet were blistered, aching and my whole body was protesting at the rigorous pace. We attended workshop after workshop, starting from 10am all the way to 6pm. Even lunch was only half an hour. Indeed it felt like salsa bootcamp. :P But it was definitely worth the money and time! We attended workshops conducted by Edie the Salsa freak, Susana Montero, Super Mario and the Cobo Brothers. Each instructor has his/her own style and emphasized on different things. It was quite an eye-opener as well as great exposure. That night, Johnney Polanco, this great salsa band (that comprised men in tuxedos ;P) really set the mood for some high-energy salsa dancing! Unfortunately, we were already washed out, having danced non-stop for the whole day. We left for ty’s place at about 11pm and still managed to stay awake to watch 1 more episode of Grey’s Anatomy (it’s the latest drama series about surgeons cutting up patients which ty got me hooked onto)…in case you’re wondering, we’re into Season 3 already..:P

Sunday was another gruelling day of workshops…and dance accidents…yup I elbowed a few guys, stabbed Bernard (Jitterbugz) in the eye with my finger when I did a pop and probably stepped on some toes. Haha then again I had my fair share of guys with sweaty palms, funny breath and ‘accidental hands’. Nevertheless we learnt some really cool moves and there’s this one which we learnt from Super Mario…one which ty liked immensely…but I don’t..oh well, all in the name of ‘fun’…here goes: Guys, lead the girl into a back brake and then do a neck hammelock (I’m not sure?what you call it but its like a hammelock except that?the girl’s?arm is around her neck rather than around her waist)….okies here’s the gross part…guys, put your?free hand on her head and push?it?out under her arm…yeah its quite funny (if the girl has a sense of humour)?but I wouldn’t recommend you doing this unless you’re?totally chummy with the gal for her to allow you to ruffle her lovely crown (not that I was a willing candidate when ty made me do it…).

All in all, here’s?my opinion?of what we learnt over the 2 days:

Cobo Brothers – I really like the style of this husband and wife team. The feel that I get from watching them dance is a smouldering sizzling chemistry that brings out the sexiness that is?characteristic of salsa. We attended one of their workshops?on leading and following and they gave us some useful tips, esp for the guys.?Guys, instead of?you moving the girl (ie. leading the girl back when you do a back brake) around,?try dancing around the girl, as in YOU move. So for instance when you do a back brake, you move back instead and keep the?girl where she is. So for?any move that you execute, you do the running around and you keep the girl at the exact same spot. In other words, you move the girl as little as possible (from an inital reference point, like if she’s standing under the light, you make sure that she stays under the light after every move). Their rationale: Girls appreciate that more than being thrown about and then being yanked back. This is esp so?during social dance and when there’s limited space on the dance floor. It’s better for the guy to get stepped on by other pple rather than the?girl (YAY!?I totally agree?:P) Apparently its proven that guys who take care of their?partners during social dancing are more likely to score points for future dances.?:)

?Susana Montero and Super Mario – Their workshops are really?fun and funny.?Susana is like this high energy, super enthusiastic and hyper lady packed in a petite frame, and Super Mario is this?BIG and tall strapping man with a dry sense of humour. They make quite an interesting dance couple. They have some very interesting moves and susana taught us a pretty cool short choreo for ladies styling.

Edie – We didn’t go for her workshops but we sat in for her talk on choreo and performance techniques, which became more of a sharing session. It sure revealed a lot into her life, esp her relationship with Al Liquid Silver and the problems they faced when it came to dance. But I have to say she is a very engaging performer. She’s really really funny and she just has a knack for capturing the audience’s attention.

It was unfortunate that we couldn’t get to see Edie perform on Sunday night, cos we had already booked tickets way before, to watch Carmen at The Esplanade. We also missed the record-breaking rueda attempt. Nevertheless, I think we enjoyed that weekend immensely and we brought back some great video clips of the instructors… :P



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