six degrees of (salsa) separation.

My daily routine of scouring the interweb consists of:

  • checking facebook (darn it)
  • checking work email
  • checking personal email
  • checking my RSS feeds on Bloglines

My uncle Reno has a photography blog which is included in my feeds. What do I find in my feed today but a number of his shots of salsa dancing at the Howard Johnson hotel, which has become my Thursday night salsa haunt of late…

My guess is that he knows Susi, the instructor giving lessons last Friday, and thus came out to take photos. I would have been there too, had a few of my friends not convinced me to check out the opening night of salsa at Diavolo.

Small world.

return to salsa.

I think I do this every year: I go for a few months of the winter being sick of salsa, only to be rejuvenated by the onslaught of spring and spurring a hectic schedule of dancing non-stop. 2007 is no different. I was working overtime, had started to miss swing, and was getting tired of hearing the same old music, so before I knew it, 3 months had gone by without going to the usual salsa haunts. Then came, in some order, 1) a stupid chest infection that also gave me cabin fever 2) a renewed confidence in driving our new car around town and 3) the realization that salsa night at Atlantis is free before 10.

Consequently, the past two weeks have been chock full of salsa. 4 days last week; workshops galore; new dance lessons; and awesome new dance partners. However, it does come with a cost–especially tonight. I have just arrived home from 3 hours at Atlantis sporting an uber-collagenesque lower lip and a bruise and cut on my right shin that looks suspiciously like a man’s dance heel. Each wound bled a good 10 minutes but neither are serious. I guess things like this just come with the territory!

On the plus side, got to dance with my favourite old and new dance partners, and was dipped over and over again by this wicked Montreal dancer that Lumi knows. Oooh…that dance gave me shivers!

Looking forward to yet another week of salsamania…

salsa-less wednesday evening.

So I get a new haircut and am all psyched to go dancing tonight…and arrive at an empty studio. Crap. Called Jason to see if there were any other salsa venues open. No luck.

Now I’m home and trying to compensate by blaring salsa music out of the laptop.


change of lindy plans.

My grandmother’s birthday party is on Saturday, so rather than risk her awesome wrath at being a no-show, lindyhopping is rescheduled to … tonight! Lumi and I are going to the Legion on Commercial Drive. I’ll be there from 9pm onwards. Give me a call or an email if you can make it.

If I don’t see you tonight, come out to some salsa action at the Law Courts tomorrow.

anybody for lindy hopping?

I have been ignoring one of my two dance passions. It’s been nearly two years since the last time I went swing dancing, and the pain of withdrawal has been slowly but surely building. And since Jason sent me this amazing lindy video, I’m thinking that it’s time to ditch salsa for a couple of weeks and get re-acquainted with the swing scene in Vancouver. Who’d be up for it?



fun afternoon with rueda.

When Kurt and I lived in Winnipeg and took salsa lessons, part of the advanced course was to learn a bit of rueda (wheel) salsa. Think of it as Latin square dancing: several couples form a circle and a caller is selected to shout out the different patterns to execute. It’s fast-paced and very exciting to be a part of. Unfortunately, rueda is not common on the salsa scene in Vancouver.

That being said, it was my privilege to be dragged into a couple of rueda dances at the Robson Sqaure dance on Sunday. It was the same set of kids from New West that had been taught by Peter (you may recall the video I took of them earlier). Not having done this for a few years, the first few minutes of the first song were very confusing. Obstacle #1: the calls are always in Spanish. Obstacle #2: the calls they were yelling out were mostly unfamiliar, like jumping in the air clapping and yelling, or squatting to the floor and slapping it with your hand. Obstacle #3: some of the leads didn’t know a few of the calls either!

Thank goodness for Spanish lessons! I eventually figured out the new moves and began to really enjoy the dance. For any of you salsaseros that haven’t tried rueda yet, you should totally try getting into the circle next Sunday.

Below is Peter’s rueda dance from a few weeks back:

more sunday afternoon salsa.

Raf and I made it out to the free Sunday salsa at Robson Square this weekend, and this time I was armed with my trusty Canon S2. I’m in the middle of uploading the videos to youtube, so in the meantime, please enjoy the photos on Flickr. Below are some highlights.

Raf decides to be a goof:

raf is a goof
Geoff makes my twirly skirt twirl:

geoff and kare dancing
Honouring numerous requests to photograph the “caliente” salsa girl:

salsa caliente dancer
Vinod and Gia smile for the camera before dancing up a storm:

vinod and gia
Videos listed below, and will hyperlink to the clip as soon as they go live on youtube.

wednesday salsa folks.

Raf, Bruce, and I went to visiting LA instructor Josie Neglia’s salsa workshop, hosted by Urban Beat Dance Co. Some interesting combo patterns later, the usual salsa mixer started up, and this time I had my camera handy. Besides the video clip of my salsa dance with Vinod, we stuck to say-cheese shots with the guys that I normally hang out with on Wednesdays.

Click on each photo for commentary.


jason and karen

vinod and karen

chad and karen

karen and bruce
The usual Wednesday crowd:

boys of wednesday salsa
Vinod tries a dip:

vinod and karen
Video bonus: Jason filmed a clip of Vinod and I dancing to a non-Gipsy King version of Bamboleo.

Happy salsa birthday party, Daudi.

Dominic and Daudi’s cameras took lots of photos at Daudi’s birthday at the Polish Hall on Friday. It was the first time I had returned since I became addicted to Fridays at the Law Courts. It was also the first time in a long while that I got to dance with some of my favourite Polish Hall dancers: Jason, Daudi, Dominic, and William. Danny’s still missing in action…boo-urns.

A good time was had by all and the birthday cake was super yummy!

Some more Urban Beat promotion.

I found out that one of my favourite dance partners, Laureano, is the author of an article on the history of salsa that I had posted to my other blog. It’s part of a larger article by Urban Beat Dance Co, written for beginner salseros. You can jump directly to Laureano’s section if you like–very interesting!

Since Urban Beat and the people I’ve met there have been instrumental in my falling back in love with salsa, I hope you will be intrigued enough to take a look at their website and try a class or two. Raf, Albert, and I have all taken lessons there and it’s almost like a little family to go to the salsa mixer on Wednesdays.

That’s my testimonial! Go check them out: Urban Beat Dance Co.