I LOVE Salsa. Well, I guess that’s kind of obvious.
This week I am gonna interview someone who loves Salsa too. She goes by the name of *Sorrel but her pen name & blog is – Salsera In The City. She has recently joined the ranks of Salsa Bloggers (you know, one of those annoying people who likes talking about salsa so damn much they now have to write about it. As if talking about it 24/7 is not bad enough).
So read about what got her dancing, inspires her to write and keeps her going. After you are done, I urge you to head over to her blog, read a post or 2, make a comment and subscribe and keep up to date with what goes on in the mind of a Salsera In the City….
When did you start your salsa blog? Why did you start it & which post is a MUST read?
I literally started my blog about three weeks ago! It’s still a bit of a baby of course and the audience so far is limited, but that’s ok with me for the moment. It’s cool seeing someone in Japan has stumbled on to your blog… or the day when I wrote about Jose Diaz I had views from the US. I wrote some of the first blog posts and set everything up in about 48 hours! The first night I kept waking up to write down blog post ideas for the future, haha. It was a bit frenzied to be honest, and I think that’s part of why I started it up. I’m always talking about salsa to people who perhaps know very little about it…. so whilst my friend’s are very understanding and do show genuine interest, when I start talking about why I think ‘syncopation is the key to a great performance’, they begin to nod off…and obviously I don’t blame them! The blog is a bit of an outlet for me and I think it’s a great opportunity to get to speak with other people in the salsa world.
In terms of a must read, I really think my post about asking men to dance is great for girls who have just started dancing, and then for the more advanced dancers, perhaps: ‘’Why I like dancing On2..’. I’ve been working on some awesome new blog posts, including an interview with a salsera in Barcelona (you know who I’m talking about Chilly) which is so fascinating if you want to know what it’s like to take up your passion more seriously and that will definitely be a must read! I also have an AWESOME interview coming soon…! It’s a surprise! 😉
When did you discover salsa dancing?
My dad used to play salsa music when he took me out at weekends as a young child and I still get the same feeling of joy from it today. Barely a day goes by where I don’t listen to salsa in all its forms, latin jazz, cha cha etc; So I guess I would say the music lead me to the dance… Because salsa, in the UK especially, is still something of a night club dance I didn’t get the opportunity to take lessons until I joined university. I signed up in the first week, paid my subscription bam…done. I didn’t even know anything about salsa dancing at that point, but I thought… with such great music, how could I go wrong?
How was your first experience taking a salsa lesson?
As it was in a university, my first class was actually run by other students, so there was nothing intimidating about it all. A lot of people in a room trying to peer over each other to follow the basic step. I suppose the first couple of times I found the close proximity of the partner-work strange, but I got over it. After learning the basic step and a girls turn I was so excited I went home and looked up some videos on the internet to help consolidate what I learnt. As soon as an opportunity came up for the beginners to take part in a short choreography, there I was at the audition. It’s strange, but unlike anything else life, salsa didn’t really require too much thought; if it’s there, I’ll do it.
How long have you been salsa dancing for?
It will be three years this October…
How long did you take salsa lessons for?
I took lessons and performed with my uni regularly for 1 and a half years, as well as monthly events in the Midlands with Mauricio’s Latin Motion. I also went to the occasional congress and kept up lessons at places in London like Bar Salsa and Fiesta Havana in the holidays between term-time. This past year, I have really upped my social dancing since being in Paris and I find the level here to be uniformly higher compared to what I was used to back in the UK. I haven’t taken any lessons apart from a 2 day course with Adolfo and Tania and at the Monaco salsa congress. That’s something I really regret, and if I could start again I would get my act together and take lessons at Mouaze’s school.
Any advice for new salsa dancers?
– Make your lessons as regular as possible- if you leave long gaps it is harder to improve at a rate you can see and you might even regress!
-Social dancing in the beginning is terrifying, but don’t let it hold you back. Apologise if you have to, but do it, dance!
– Don’t wear stilettos… leave that for the time being
– Start listening to salsa music in your spare time and counting
– Watch, watch, watch other people. I actually think this is the number 1 thing that helped me progress very quickly. I knew where I wanted to go. It’s all good going to lesson, but if you don’t have aims, understanding of what is possible and inspiration… where can you really go?
Have you ever considered becoming a salsa performer?
Yes, every night when I close my eyes… Haha. I can say that it’s definitely something I would love to do and of course there are all the little voices in my head that say… “but you didn’t do ballet as a child”or, “you’d need to be ten pounds lighter” etc. I’m going to take a year out after university and in that time I’ve got some goals I want to meet. I’d like to find a partner eventually and just have fun. Frankly, even if I never became a performer, I would be happy teaching, helping to organise events and nights… to me it’s the music, the social scene and if I get creative opportunities to perform where I’m not paid, I would take that too. As long as it is part of my life in some concrete way, it doesn’t need to be as a world touring performer… although, I won’t lie.. that be freakin’ awesome!
Who are your 3 favorite Salsa musicians/bands and your favorite songs from them?
Oh gosh… difficult question Chilly! I would say Jimmy Bosch, Otra Opportunidad is one of my faves… but I suspect that’s quite a predictable answer, sooo…
In support of new salsa bands I would say La Excelencia from New York. I wouldn’t really choose to dance to their music (salsa dura!) but it’s so great to listen to. I’m not a big fan of salsa romantica which is what most modern salsa music seems to be so these guys are definitely up there for me. All I need to do now is learn spanish so I can understand their lyrics, which I’ve heard are about poverty, discrimination etc..
Oscar de leon… absolute classic.. you can’t go to a salsa club and not hear Oscar! ‘A El’ is one of my favourites because it’s a bit different and I like how it changes up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0jP0p-28Vc
Ray Barretto (this one isn’t salsa) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zTW9VWkjUA
I also have to mention Tito Rodriguez, Ismael Rivera and El Gran Combo, I’m a big fan of the sound of old tracks… they have such a great quality.
Your most memorable dance experience?
I think my first congress is something I will always remember. It was the Cyprus congress. Until that point I didn’t really have a grasp of what the salsa ‘world’ was… it was the first time I’d seen professional performers and real high level social dancing. It kind of blew my breath away (so cheesy I know). I also think I find it quite painful too…to see just how much of a beginner I really was: I felt so inferior at that point, but it also gave me a motivation and a purpose.
Your top 3 favorite Salseros.
Adolfo Indacochea, Jose Diaz and Frankie Martinez
Who are your 3 favorite Salsa Dancers and why?
Karel Flores has a really unique and natural style and you can’t help but watch her when she is on stage. She knows how to accentuate certain things and she knows how to make it look like she isn’t putting in too much effort, I love that. Yamulee are genius in general..
I already wrote Adolfo in Salseros category but that left off Tania Cannarsa… she’s such a great partner for him and is really starting to develop her own style… She always looks great and I loved the afro-cuban inspired performance she did with Adolfo:
… in this one I actually look at her more than him! However, my all time favourite performance of their’s is one of their least hyped…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3Y9W6oJJAc I think I’ve watched that performance 30x !
Shani Talmor always looks great social dancing and I enjoy her style. She’s super sexy and if I was ever in NYC I would definitely take her styling class
And… I know this is cheating but I also have to mention..
Selene Tovar and Rodrigo Coratzar do some really great performances, I love their musicality and smoothness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wbmqE3Zh30
Where do you see your salsa dancing five years from now?
I hope I’ll have my spins to perfection. That’s definitely been one of the most challenging things for me and it’s still a work in progress. I also hope that my musicality will be completely manifested through my dancing. I want to spend a year training with my favourite school and this should go a long way to getting me where I need to be with the technical foundations so that my musicality can flourish. I also hope to have taken plenty of dance classes in other styles by this time to be completely at ease with my body and have core strength. And obviously, we will have social danced by then
I would like to thank you Sorrel for taking the time out to feature on my blog. Readers, head over to Salsera in the City and when you like what you read, don’t forget to like & subscribe! 😉
Till next Thursday, Love YOU(R) Life (how do you do that? Simple – Love what you do!) Peace!