Archive for the 'Reviews' Category

Salsa in Montreal

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

Question (asked by a woman): Could you recommend a good place for salsa lessons?

Answer (specifically for women): It depends on what style you want to learn. The following is my view of the salsa scene in Montreal, don’t take it as the truth.

The more well-known styles that are danced in clubs are Cuban (more improvised and with more displacement) and New York (more codified/choreographed and little displacement) aside from L.A. (lots of dips and lifts), Puerto Rican (like New York but supposedly different, not sure how) and Colombian (few turns and more like cumbia) styles. It’s kinda hard to find a good Cuban style teacher. You can try Odalys Pantoja’s Ritmo Picante, she actually also knows the New York style quite well I believe.

New York style teachers are plenty because it is popular (unfortunately - I like the Cuban style best). Tomas (Tomas Dance, see the URL below) is a good salsa teacher and perhaps he can teach the Cuban style as well. There’s also Monte Christo and Caroline Pare’s school, both heavily into the New York style. But Caroline Pare also does some Cuban style teaching I think. Arthur Murray’s school on Jean Talon is more oriented towards ballroom which can be a little stiff but at least you learn to have a good posture.

I am sure there’s lots more but I don’t keep track of it so much. It’s always good to try different things so as to stimulate development of your own style and not get obsessed with any style/school in particular See Salsapower for a few addresses etc. and/or Google around a little bit.

PS my advice for any woman/girl/follower wanting to learn and be able to join the dancing in a salsa club (not aiming for competitions etc.), is to go to dance class as little as possible but to listen to the music and practice the basic steps until you can dream them or until you can clap the clave rhythm while doing the basic steps (and/or sing the song). Then when partnering, keep a good posture/balance and make sure you really use your right hand to follow the guy/leader by putting your weight behind it, and above all try to dance only with guys/leaders that give you the impression they know what they are doing.

The more you go to classes the more you might start leading and anticipating and the less you learn how to follow which is the essential thing to learn for women/girls/followers (in a club dance setting). This happens because teaching how to follow is usually done while the teachers shows some move/turn which is useful for the guy/leader to learn but it’s irrelevant what the precise move is for the women/girls/followers except for some of the more complicated moves especially dips and lifts. And as long as the follower knows how to follow and the leader knows how to lead … The difficulty for the follower is to learn what to do without knowing it in advance.


Sunday, March 20th, 2005

Here’s a list of musicians, albums and songs that made a lasting impression on me, listed according to date (of impression) in the format [tracknr-]artist_name[-album_name[-song_name]]:


The state of the US of A

Sunday, March 13th, 2005

I have been watching a variety of documentaries about the USA recently and found that the following are really worthwhile to watch (these are bittorrent links):