Adios Passing Clouds. Hola The Jolly Fisherman.

Sam & Nat

Sam & Nat’s Monday Salsa Party (consisting of lessons and a social as before) has now moved to a new venue which is The Jolly Fisherman – which is situated near the Millennium Bridge on the Quayside.

I shot an interview on my girlfriend’s shiny new smart phone (before she fills it with selfies). I had rocked up the venue with my camcorder, with a full battery but air where the memory card should have been (one job!).

You can watch the debut video interview here:

Watch this space for more gorilla filming and sassy posts about Salsa in the glittering metropolis of the north that is Newcastle! 

7 Mind Blowing Mind Hacks to Get More From Your Salsa Class

A nice photo of an attractive couple that bears no relevance to this article.

Unless you’re lucky enough to be born into a culture that dances – or have a  close friend to teach you – then you probably have to pay for classes with your hard earned money.

So to make sure you squeeze out every penny’s worth, its important that you commit as much as you can to memory.

Obviously, the social and fitness benefits are on their own merits to taking classes. But for the thriftier dancer, myself included, I want to get the most for my cash!

1. Put The Wine Glass Down

Sweet merciful nectar of the Gods, deliver me from my awkwardness.

But first put the pitchforks down, I can already smell torches burning outside my apartment.

I’m not saying don’t drink at all (Lordy!). For the sake of a 50 minute lesson, I was personally amazed how much easier it was to learn a routine whilst sober.

By all means, catch up with the other dancers with a few shots after your class and you can effectively have your cake and eat it.

2. Go Feet First

He’s going to get those shoes wet!

It helps to focus on one thing at a time. Sometimes it can feel like information overload.

I find it helps to just get my feet right and my body facing the right way first. Then I worry about leading, and then I can worry about styling.

Sixty percent of the time, every time, if your feet are on point then the rest of you will be.

– Me [just now]

So if you just imagine where your feet are going around the dance floor, you are only having to recall a two dimensional sequence then thinking of the form of yourself and your partner.

3. Use Your Muscles

A picture of a lady who has no problem opening her own jars.

Don’t be afraid to let your muscle memory take over. You can probably walk with enough confidence as to not have to check where your feet are going, or think to hard about where they are (they are usually at the bottom of your legs).

Therefore don’t get to worked up in regards to their positioning being spot on. Just trust your brain to put your feet down where you want them.

The same goes for lead, sometimes you can’t imagine the move, but the arms and hands just remember by themselves.

4. Take Smaller Bites

What a Mad Lad!

A lot of teachers offer multiple classes during an evening. I personally love dipping into two or three different styles over an evening.
If you are are, however, struggling to remember the moves then maybe you should just focus on one class. Giving yourself time to practice what you have learned, and mentally digest it.

5. Repetition

Another generic shot of some dancers to give my blog an air of professionalism.

You won’t remember a routine unless you practice it and commit it to muscle memory.

Muscle Memory isn’t a pseudo scientific term, its a legitimate type of training from gamers playing Street Fighter to infantry stripping weapons.

As early as possible, and as boring as it sounds, rehearse what you have learned – making use of the social time after class.

And then do the same next week as well, or even in the kitchen with your weird invisible dance partner.
This comes with a disclaimed though, as its very easy to commit bad habits and mistakes to muscle memory. So try and exaggerate and do things “correctly” as you’ve been taught, as you’ll naturally take shortcuts in time.

6. Mental Images

The pics you can find online!

Making use of zany mental images helps commit the sequence of a routine as well as connect the finer details to the easier more basic steps.

So if you have to rotate a hand, or remember to perform something early, make up a mental story about it. I don’t just mean like in your brain, like as in actually MENTAL.

Little sidestep you forget? Imagine you have to squash a tiny rat.

Adjusting the hand position? Imagine you’re mashing some herbs for a pie, maybe to console that tiny rat’s family you squished at the beginning of the routine.

Whatever it takes to commit it to memory!

7. I’ve Forgotten

So this is the end of the article for now.

Thanks for reading,

Keep on shimmying!

Problems British People Have With Salsa

Its a bit of a culture shock. We can rule the seas, literally fight wars over tea and make the entire world set their watch by us. But when faced with dancing, smiling and making eye contact with the opposite sex – its enough to make our stiff upper lips quiver.

This is why I thought I’d address the elephant in the room, and address the problems Brits face at Salsa events.

Despite the images of British club life portrayed on television, most clubs on a weekend consist of a huddle of grown men and women having a (gradually louder) conversation over a pint glass.

Around half eleven, a band of women might break form and start dancing around their hand bags to the latest Chain Smokers record.

The guys will watch the ladies, often in silence, before queuing for a kebab on the way home.

We’re All Closet Disco Dancers

Although most notable Salsa Play-lists consist of songs off a 4/4 timing, the kick is not as pronounced or important. Most club music we are used to, we follow a heavy ‘4 to the floor’ beat, the same rhythm we’ve grown accustomed to from the late 70’s disco era.

It takes time for Brit to acclimatise to the new rhythms. A big part of dancing is actually training the brain as well as the body. A lot of Cuban music, even their chart music, has jazz roots and will include more playful rhythms and even a change in tempo.

This is a far cry to to what we usually nod along to in wetherspoons, so it takes time to get used to it.

Our Main Aim is to get Wasted

Europeans will generally enjoy a glass or two of wine with a meal. For a Brit, a couple of bottles is “warming up” before we leave the house.

This extends our first point, that complicated and subtle music does not have a place for a tanked up Brit who is having enough problem trying to feign sobriety to slip past the bouncers and still get served.

Staying perched on a bar stool is enough trouble, and now you expect us to perform subtle footwork and tight turns?

“Just Who Does He Think He Is?”

Showing off is generally frowned upon. If you see a man walk in with expensive jewelry on show, bright colors or – god forbid – a hat then we’ll all exchange a sideways glance at one another and wait for them to be out of ear shot so we can slag them off (because we wouldn’t want to offend them, you see).

We’re actually secretly grateful, and in desperate need, for such characters to grace us with their presence as its gives us something to talk about other than the weather.

We’re naturally very uncomfortable in our own skin and I think when you see someone who it highlights our own insecurities.

So I’ve just written four paragraphs on why a hat would cause a ruckus, so imagine the splash some bloke is going to have if he starts spinning around the dance floor.

There’s No Licensing Involved for this Higher Art Form

When we think of dancing in the UK, we think of ballet dancers or urban youths spinning on their heads. Dancing is something technical that requires careful study and flamboyant attire.

Africans dance for literally any or no reason.

Ayyyyyyy!! – An African within 10 meters of a radio.

Whether its finding a toy in a cereal box, tax-rebate or someone turned on the radio its a natural part of life.

I think we like order and structure. We need some form of signal, or license, or piece of paperwork from the council that would tell us what kind of dance is appropriate and at what time that dance should start and when it can end.

It Affects Our Ability To Re-Enter the UK and Our Marriages

Like some kind of extra chromosome that only exists abroad, or in our flamboyant mates, unless you’re dry humping the shot girl’s leg at 1am then both your nationality and sexuality will be brought into question.

You can get away with it though if all your mates have had at least eleven pints, then by the morning they wouldn’t have remembered any of it.

I’m Wrap This Post Up With Another Sauce Pun

I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it. Of course, the most popular British past time not mentioned is roasting ourselves.

So much like the dip, you shouldn’t be afraid of the heat but revel in it. If not, then I’ll meet you in ‘spoons for a pint and a debate about whose football team is better and why you’re wrong.