Albert Torres was here!

Who is Albert?

On the inside Albert is just another guy who loves Salsa, he loves the music and he loves the dance. Because of his love for Salsa and his Puerto Rican heritage he now dedicates his life to promoting Salsa and Latin Music and Dance all around the world.

And he is good at it!!

Albert Torres has organised over 350 Salsa congresses internationally in all kinds of exotic places, including, Dubai, The United Arab Emirates, Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Bulgaria, Romania, China, Colombia, Venezuela, Spain, Mexico, Peru, Holland, Hamburg, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Ecuador, New Zealand, Australia, Puerto Rico, and in numerous cities across America. These congresses happen annually and are attended by thousands of people from the entire globe.

Why was Albert here?

Albert Torres came to Cape Town thanks to the careful planning of our friends Theo (TeddyBear) Mseka and Marcel Stevens. He came with two objectives. One was to visit the Salsa Community of Cape Town and to give a talk on the History of Salsa which happened on the 14th October 2012.

His second objective was to experience Cape Town, South Africa in order to plan the Cape Town Salsa Congress 2013…! Albert must have liked what he saw for the dates for the Cape Town Salsa Congress 2013 are 31 October to 3rd November 2013!!! It already has 2 international acts confirmed and is promising to be an amazing few days!

Albert  also visited Just Dancing Salsa…

On Wednesday 10 October 2012, Albert Torres visited Just Dancing Salsa at Barbosa Social Café!

 The evening started with our usual incredibly fun Improvers and Intermediate classes. With a great turn out, a photographer, and a bar two steps away, the evening rapidly turned into an absolute party. After the classes, the ladies put on some pretty dress and we all joined the awesome Wesley Solomon (from Tren Latino) and the incredibly talented Keith Coxon for some live latin and salsa beats on the deck. Here Albert was having his dinner, but he soon joined in and did his thing on the dance floor along with everyone else.  

With fun spins and foot leads, he lead the salseras  around the floor and shook hands with all the salseros. In this way we all met the man who was under the cap and behind the dark glasses, the man who has put into effect the Cape Town Salsa Congress 2013!!!

 Exciting times!!

That moment…

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

He moves

You respond

 

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

 

Another shimmy

He leads two quick combs

Spontaneously you roll your bodies towards each other

The music slows

You are spun

And caught

And lowered

A dip!

 

Ah! That moment!

See you at the Havana 1950s Salsa Party! 13 October!

The story of a Masquerader…

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!!

From the mouth of a salsera…

Arriving at Cape-Town & Just Dancing Salsa!

 June 25th,  2012.

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.

“Hmmmmm.”

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.

“Men lead the way on the dance floor, Cilia! Wait for me!” Carlos kept repeating.

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.

Oh boy…!

“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:

Thank you Lani, thank you Carlos, for those great weeks in Cape-Town!
Will be back soon.
xxx Cilia