Showing posts with label salsa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salsa. Show all posts

Monday, 20 August 2012

5 Dance Dares To Try Before You Die

**I'm going to make an important disclaimer here. I am not responsible or any injuries that occur on the dance floor because of you attempting these little stunts. Use dares with caution.

1. Swap your roles.
You heard me. Leads will follow, and follows will lead. This is going to screw up both you and your partner's coordination badly, like how the leads are supposed to step with the left foot first for both salsa and West Coast Swing, whereas the follows have to step with their right foot first. Let's not forget that leads have to be the one holding the weight of the follower's hands, and that anything wrong that happens is the lead's fault. So girls, if you're really thinking about doing this dare first, I respect your imaginary balls, now panic and run! Either way, it'll help you respect the other party's role in making the dance look good.

2. Dance blindly.
I would take that phrase literally. Blindfold yourself, or at most squeeze your eyes shut and don't peek. Let the feel of your partner guide you through the dark abyss that is blindness. Pay special attention to the tug, the cushioning, the spins he guides you to, and note every signal you get from your arms properly. Be sure not to auto-pilot...or crash into any object or person for that matter.

3. Be a major chatterbox.
It can be a very distracting thing. Mutter a tongue twister, keep talking about your day. We'll see how much focus can the lead or follow have in a dance while having external distractions such as an annoying voice. It'll be hilarious to see the screw-ups!

4. Get dizzy.
Before a dance, turn on the spot 7 times (without spotting!) And then dance like you've downed 15 shots of booze. All the better for you to move around and adjust to your environment when you realise that your slot is really tiny at the dance floor.

5. Lose a limb
Whether it is by holding a crutch as you dance, or using only one hand to lead, this would help you appreciate the fact that you have all four limbs to dance and express yourself with. I know there are some people who can lead with one hand throughout a dance, but let's see if the follows could do the same!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Reflections: Entries On Socials archive 13-18

The Entries on Socials series have been discontinued. I'm archiving them here for future references.

14th August
So I decided to check out Mosaic's WCS social dance floor (before university work starts to pile in) just to see how different it is than Jitterbugs's scene. Apparently the same people are there (with the exception of some other people who take classes at Jitters)

I found out one of the primary reasons why my knees feel like jelly everytime I'm done with socials - my centre of gravity is too low. So I took Zee's advice and brought it up to the core instead of below it, and I felt a lot better, looked a lot better, and had more stamina.

However, I'm still having a hard time juggling two seemingly contradicting rules in West Coast Swing, that is the travel a lot rule with the take small steps rule. I'll try to figure this out with time.

Acronym of the day: NTU WCS CCA FTW. I am so doing this organising thing.

Update in 2013: I decided to take on a dance scholarship rather than organise a west coast swing club in my university...I wonder how different will my dancing life be then?

17th August
I got really tired on the second half of my socials and I have no idea how. It came like a cloud of lethargy hitting me hard on the face and suddenly I was going off beat in WCS more often than I usually do.

However, in the first half (meaning the salsa half), I felt fine. But I'm beginning to see that my salsa is subpar compared to my west coast swing. I can still follow, but I think I've shied away with styling and became less daring since my shines vocabulary is still limited. I have to buck up somehow, but I am seeing myself enjoy west coast swing a lot better nowadays. Unless my new salsawesome 3 classes kicks my butt and go DO THIS COMBO AND THAT COMBO AND PUT IT TOGETHER YOU GET SOMETHING AWESOME. Or that I'll need to watch more salsa videos. Or stuff. Idk.

One memorable quote from yesterday coming out from a stranger to Zee (aka Mosaic Dance's director) : "How good are you?" (in the context that she was completely new to the scene. She had no idea what was coming.)

25th August
You know you had an eventful social dance night...when you had to sustain multiple leg injuries (aka getting stepped on), having your salsa teacher scream "KING OF THE WORLD!" out of the blue as he lead the titanic in class before socials, and getting cut in to go for a dance while you're trying to lead the whip on your girl friend. Ahh, it was fun for me last night.

I also found out one of the primary reasons why I always take big steps in both partner dances was because I don't clip my inner thighs together (I guess this is where the duck walk comes in) and I still have the bad habit of turning on my heels when I lose balance (mainly because WCS heels have a bigger surface area)

Aside from my faults, I finally figured out how the touch and go New York prep double turn works now! This is how the lead gets you to switch to left over right crossed handhold to lead into the titanic. I may want to elaborate more on the technique soon, but right now I want to catch up with my beauty sleep. Till then!

1st September
Today's socials had more people in it, maybe it's due to Melissa Rutz and Chuck Brown being there to party it up. I didn't have my chance to dance with Chuck though…

I feel like I'm hitting a plateau in my technique nowadays. Hopefully by going to Melissa and Chuck's workshop I can better myself in West Coast Swing. As for salsa, I'm beginning to lose my interest in it, but hopefully it's something temporary, it's still a fun dance!

8th September
It's fun to be the lead once you grasp the concepts down for WCS. The only pain is that I gotta know how to balance and root myself down so that I can redirect the follow better in the whip.

I've also got my salsa game back on! I feel like I can follow better now, but I still have to stop taking such big steps when dancing. The weird thing is that I find that the steps I take in west coast swing feels ideal, yet in salsa they feel too big. I wonder why?

16th September
I now realise what is it I'm doing wrong with the whip. I'm not squaring out during 3 & a 4, and not whipping the follower during 5 6. I shall get to a tutorial on the whip soon.

Anyway, doing salsa 3 moves on socials have been fun. Observing the tense look of the leads while I try to execute what was learnt in class - it's quite like doing choreographed partner work. If your guy fails, you have to make up for the mistake and still make him look like he's doing the move right. Along with that, I realised that I haven't been using my salsa heels for a long time, so my calves have been hurting since two days ago.

Moreover, I'm thinking about refining my dance technique further and joining the DAP programme, but I'm not sure how that would affect my studies. I don't want it to be like last time when I got into the salsa team and set my expectations up high, only to turn the offer down later because my parents don't agree to it...

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Trite Trivia: Dance Progress 1

Couple of techniques I keep doing wrong:

1. Taking big steps. Waaaay too big. Social dances aren't supposed to have a lot of room, unlike solo dances like tap. So I have the tendency to step out more than I should. I should focus on taking small steps within a small slot that I'm allowed to dance in. Maybe entering a simulation of walking a small corridor might help lol.

2. In west coast swing, I either slide my foot, or take them off the ground too much. I have to practice moving elegantly. Someone I met from socials was nice enough to point out that I need to walk the basic moves for sugar push and left side/underarm pass in front of a mirror and determine which movement makes me look the most elegant, and aim to walk that way all the time by practice.

3. I still have the tendency to break the frame with moves that require a back to back and having my arms raised. This causes me to feel inconsistent with different guys, I'll feel too soft then too hard, with one guy I'll feel too relaxed or soft, and then another I'll feel too tense or noisy. I should inquire more into this with my dance instructors.

4. In salsa, its really easy for me to go off beat and step the shines step instead of partnerwork steps. Especially if I went too slow for some difficult combo, I'll fall back in tempo and then step the footwork wrong.

Alright, next entry I'm going to blog about socials again.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Trite Trivia: To a Second Home

On Monday, I decided to visit a new cafe in town called Home@68 while dragging my friend along. The cafe also organises dance socials, and the fact that they had one in the middle of the afternoon was the one thing that pulled me in.

So, I formulated my game plan - to have a light lunch before dancing, and then going out after the socials to shop at China Square or something else. However, that plan deviated badly. The menu of the day didn't have the ham and cheese panini, so my friend and I had a set meal. IT WAS GOOD. I tried out their Asiatic Mushroom Soup, and they made it in such a way that there's a burst of flavour as you chew on to the chunk :P I'm making myself hungry as I type away. Then I had the Tom Yum Fish and Chips, which isn't as  spicy as I thought, but it's still good since I can't really take in spicy.

Asiatic Mushroom soup. Notice the amount of cream in it, yum!

Then I went to the dance floor to find that no one is there...except for the owner (who can dance). Hence I was able to try out his leads and dance salsa, west coast swing, and sample out bachata and zouk! The ambience of the dance floor is really Christmas-y - table top disco ball and fairy lights ftw. I guess not many people come by on a Monday afternoon.

And here's where the plan completely deviated - we went to the second floor and chilled out at the lazy boy couches...and let time fly by completely unnoticed while enjoying hot chocolate and Gryphon tea. They also sold bags and little trinkets there, so it can be something interesting to check out. As time flew, my friend's sister decided to join the fun and played card games with the owner before dinner (and ordered a set dinner which I couldn't finish because my eyes are big and my stomach can only take that much :T)

Cream Shrimps in Drunken Sauce (wordplay with drunken prawn, a local Singaporean delicacy.) This was the dinner that I couldn't finish lol

After dinner I expected to see more people filling in on the dance floor, but there wasn't anybody. Again. So I left early around 7:30 pm, and I wasn't really sure if people came late. But at least I used the dance floor to work on my salsa styling so not all is lost (other than lots of cash on their tasty food & drinks. But it's money well spent nevertheless.) Hopefully this blogpost can urge the other local salseros & salseras about this great new place to social dance!

Credits to Dingyan (photographer) and Eugene (owner of Home@68) for letting me use their pictures!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Trite Trivia - Guest blogging

I have appeared elsewhere (like a ninja) on the internet. I decided to guest blog at and here's my post. Hopefully I can tempt more people to join the dark side- I mean, join the fun and excitement of dancing some spicy salsa with a hot hunk. (Gentlemen, I'm sorry. My hormones are spiking out of control so you'll have to excuse my language.)

ps: In that blogpost, there's supposed to be a link to a salsa starter kit. If for some reason whatsoever the link doesn't work for you, I've also placed the widget here so it's easier for all to see.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Digging up some old stuff

Oh my goodness, this is precious. I found this really old video of one of my favourite online video instructors, and it's fun to compare the difference of the quality then and now. I have the addicted2salsa app on my iPhone, and compared to this old video, it's more slick and professional. This old video already assumes that you know the basic steps. However, its teaching style is so unique to Anthony Persaud. You should check out his channel at Hooray free dance lessons!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Reflections: Entries on Socials archive 1-6

I have discontinued the entries on socials series. I have now compiled them into an archive for future references.

26th May
I felt that I could've done better on the dance floor last night. Especially in WCS, where I kept on breaking my frame for the whip, and traveling out of my slot. One thing I also realised while dancing both salsa and WCS in the same night is that I find it hard to move back into the basic step for salsa and kept on finding tension from the lead right after dancing WCS.

I should also start finding YouTube videos to link here for some west coast swing styling. It's not fun when one is unable to express your interpretation of the music because of the lack of dancing vocabulary. Gonna keep you all posted!

2nd June
Yesterday's socials also happens to be my birthday (not that it's important for my readers to know, but I'm just pointing out that due to this reason, social dancing was more fun and I got to stay past my curfew.) Yep, this swinging salsera's got her game on, but before I talk about my socials, I'll be a shameless promoter and say I've signed up for this.

Hang on Amanda, you haven't been dancing salsa for more than 4 months and you already wanna perform? Well I figure that I should step up my game first before university sinks in. So yeah. I'm going for it. All I gotta worry about is if there'll be equal number of guys who are interested. During salsa socials I also managed to figure out that not all raised hand signals equate to a turn. Strange, I know, but I break my frame and end up doing turns from anticipating the move. I'm probably thinking too much about doing the pattern rather than leaving it up to the leader's discretion.

As for West Coast Swing, I managed to be more brave with styling, and received compliments on that. Less thinking and more feeling works! That and I got a bonus "private" lesson from my instructor on how to maintain my frame on my fingers. So I'm tensing less now, which also means my arms aren't sore (thankfully. How will I type if my arms feel like I've been suspended on pull up bars for hours?) One of my classmates are also brave enough to add his salsa leads into WCS. Great experimental work, really.

To conclude it legs hurt (wish me luck surviving Tap classes today.) But dang it was fun (and tempting to do this every social night.) It's also a wonder how I'm up now typing this away, I should catch up on sleep. Catch you all later!

8th June
Note to self: RELAX! Even if salsa auditions are coming up tomorrow, RELAX!

I can't remember how many spins I done during the salsa socials. I'm still told to relax, but I'm not really getting how relaxing will help me hold my frame. Perhaps it is one of those things where I need to keep on practicing before I can finally get that feeling where I can balance both a relaxed posture and a good frame. One of the main highlights of the night was dancing with a guy who could style like mad while I let my hands get tossed around, and I'm left with that flabbergasted look. I wonder when will JBugs teach the guys to style like that?

I didn't do much swinging last night. But I did try to do some leading moves with a salsa classmate of mine and it's pretty hilarious. While she was able to follow my signals, I think our footwork was messy, but we still had fun.

All in all, I wish I could spend more time during socials last night because I didn't manage to feel that same level of enjoyment as before (please tell me that this isn't the start of a bad addiction.) I had so many things going on: choreographing for my tap dance recital, my internship, and just preparing for the auditions. Why do Fridays always have to end so soon?

23rd June
FINALLY! A SALSA DIP! And I don't mean the sauce dips for nachos, I'm finally lead to the actual move itself. Speaking of which, the lead was really strong. From close hold, he was even able to guide me to do side steps and double back breaks. How awesome is that?! Another awesome part was I also managed to get to know a few girls during yesterday's socials as well, which is quite a rare occurrence, since most of the time I'm paying attention to the guys instead. This sounds politically incorrect. I feel quite rusty with some spinning techniques though, wearing west coast swing heels forges a bad habit of relying on the heel to turn. That's really bad, I need to stop neglecting my actual salsa shoes.

West Coast Swing didn't fare too good with me either. My shoes were annoying while I was swinging, the strap kept on unbuckling, and my constant paranoia of tripping over the strap spoilt a bit of the fun. I should get more holes punched through it, or safety pin it I guess...While I did have tons of fun styling (especially since being introduced to extensions and the 2A class sneak peek,) I've neglected the basics - the flashlight, train tracks, and anchor, oh my. My WCS instructor's words ring true in my head, "You can never practice your anchor enough." Getting critique from him made me realise where I stand - can look good grooving, but totally messing up the footwork LOL. I love critique, seriously. It acts as a good motivator.

Along with that...I unintentionally showered holy water upon one of my leads. (It was accidental, I swear!) I don't recall exactly how it happened, but I think I was anticipating too much and when it didn't go as I expected, the waters flew. Luckily enough it was with one of my established friends. If it had been with that cute stranger I met, I would've died and not update this dance journal/blog!

To end it all, I have no idea how I managed to wake up at 7:15 in the morning, and I still have this funny churning feeling in the stomach like I have some sort of motion sickness. My fingers are crossed that I don't puke out my breakfast during tap class today.

30th June
WOOWHEE another dip! This time in WCS socials, aww yeah. While I was able to have that adrenaline rush (albeit underwhelming when compared to a roller coaster ride) socials didn't feel as fun because my WCS classmates aren't there, le sigh.

However, I came across a new group of people, one of them did ballroom dancing before, and the rest are there just to hang out. So I showed them the ropes of west coast swing, and boy was it hard to explain all the technical details! So I stuck to teaching them footwork and paying attention to the tension (hah, that rhymed.) I felt that I could do a bit better with my anchoring though, along with the styling, I felt like a dancing drunkard.

Along with that, I also tried shutting down my brain for salsa socials, to try and be a zombie that follows what the guy wants you to do, but I guess that gave the impression of me looking really lost to one of my guy friends LOL. I didn't think I was making that many mistakes as I danced that night as well, but I wouldn't be too sure about that.

It was nice meeting new people and showing the ropes. It helps test my patience, and makes me a bit more confident in being a potential dance teacher too. I'm also quite hungover, but I didn't even drink anything more than Coke.

7th July
Yesterday was a big blur. I only recall practicing a Salsa 3 move with some of the Salsa Swingapore team, and it was really complicated - the spinning has to be really quick in order to execute the move and now I can't remember how the hand gestures are done either.

Was I also mixing up salsa with swing yesterday? I guess so. I couldn't even remember the 123, 567 counts yesterday after swinging and then moving into salsa. This is bad. But I can sort of forgive myself for that because my Orientation Camp left me disoriented anyway. I'll try not to be this bad the next week.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Fashion Fiesta: Shoe Spotting!

I spotted these pair of salsa shoes while browsing on, and they looked really similar to the ones used by the girls of Salsa Swingapore during the recital. Clicking on the picture will take you to to buy this pair of shoes.

Like all other salsa shoes, they're padded for comfort, and this one's a bit different since the heel is slightly lower than the usual (2 inches than my own 2.5 inches) which will be a bigger advantage for some who don't know how to walk in heels, let alone dance in them. The copper colour of the shoes should make it easy to pair up with bold, vibrant colours (that is if you don't want to worry about matching them with your bag. But girls, come on, when do you dance with your little handbags on the dance floor?)