This week is a post from a friend who used to be the president of the dance society at my University. She left almost two years ago to complete a masters in South Africa and now she’s doing her thing and following her dream of throwing herself in to salsa full time, so I couldn’t wait to ask her how she’s been getting on!
So Delphine, when did you move to Barcelona: how/when/why exactly did you decide to do it?
So I moved here end of March and started the classes at New Dance Center (by Adrian y Anita) beginning of April. I was living in Cape Town, finishing off my Masters in Applied Marine Science and after 4.5 years of dancing alongside biology in my uni studies, I decided I finally wanted to make dancing my focus! I had seen Adrian y Anita perform 2 years ago in the 6th Cyprus Congress and told myself that one day I wanted to learn from them- to this day, I haven’t seen a style I prefer…their energy, precision and sexiness is just incredible.
After being so isolated from the hub of salsa in South Africa, I came back to Europe last summer and realised how much I missed it (the good old: you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone) so after that, end of January I booked my ticket for BCN and 2 months later, voila!
What have been the top 5 things about the experience so far?
1) Getting into Anita y Adrian’s amateur team… I’d been here 2 weeks when I got in and I can’t describe the feeling of not being able to stop smiling for hours haha!
2) Group classes: at least 2 nights a week. I get to not only see my idols in their ‘home school’ but learn from them! They know my name and can correct all those tiny (and huge) things that make a big impact to your dancing…
3) Every week there are congress-level performances in the salsa clubs (they want to practice them in front of a crowd before going to congresses)- from Adrian y Anita’s alumni to the Spanish champions etc!
4) Other pros come here all the time… In less than 2 months here, Oliver Pineda, Johnny Vasquez, Eli Torres (watch this!) and Mitch & Ellicia (see below) Australian bachata champs have come here already!
5) Lots of guys to social dance with at a high level
Mitch and Ellicia
And the 5 worst?
1) Salsa is a damn expensive hobby to have at this level! Haha.. the amateur training, the club entrances 4 times a week, the group classes, the costumes for performances etc!
2) The amateur training is until 1 am 3 nights a week :S
3) I miss a lot of the daytime in BCN… I get home after training super late and can’t sleep since I’m on a high after so many hours of awesome dancing and tend to wake up in the afternoon every day…
4) The language barrier is sometimes tricky…although my Spanish is improving, I find myself doing the standard: laughing along with jokes I don’t understand!
5) (Really racking my brain to find a last ‘bad thing’.. I’m super happy here!) The amateur group got together last Sept so I’m the ‘new girl’ and they’ve been working on the new choreo since Jan so were 4 months ahead of me..
What have you learnt since you started training at a proper school? Describe your typical weekday and weekend.There are so many tiny details you don’t think about until you make the changes: a tilt of the head, the distance between middle finger and thumb, the exact placement of the arm from the center of the body, your leg can ALWAYS be straighter than what your idea of straight is! etc..My typical week last month was:Mon- 8pm: level 4 partnerwork, 10pm: level 5 partnerwork
Tues- 7pm: Physical technique class (like a work-out but only for muscles used for dance), 8pm: Ladies styling 1, 9pm: Ladies styling 2, 10pm: Level 6 partnerwork, 11pm: amateur company practice
Wed- 8pm: pachanga, 9pm: pasitos libres (shines), 11pm: company
Thurs- 7pm: Physical technique, 11pm: company, then go out until 2.30am at DioClub
Fri– no classes, go out to Esencia (Suite 191 Club)- 12- 4.30 am
Sat- chill! (or Dio)
Sun– Esencia or Astoria club
Who do you most admire on the scene at the moment?
Right now, Anita really is the one I admire the most…Then, African Jet are a new favourite (check out their latest routine).
Obviously Karel Flores and Yamulee, Tropical Gem and Dominican Power are also awesome..
Adrian y Anita
Do you have any tips for someone who wants to move to another city to take classes with a school i.e planning before you get there, meeting new people and ideas to pay for classes?
I’m a firm believer (in anything I do in life) in never planning anything and figuring it all out when you get there!! I take ‘living life in the present’ a bit too literally.. It doesn’t work for everyone and it sometimes back-fires but I love it. All I did was asked family friends if I could stay with them here until I found a place close to the dance school and I sent an email to the school saying I was moving countries to learn from them. Face-to-face contact is always the best though and that’s how I got onto the amateur team . I asked my salsa contacts around the world if they knew salsa people here, but it’s mostly just being present for as many classes/workshops/parties as you can, showing you are SUPER dedicated and really love dancing. You’ll end up seeing the other super dedicated people everywhere you go and get to know people very fast (another awesome thing about salsa).
Paying for classes, I’m still trying to figure out, so SAVE UP before coming! A LOT!
Lastly, when are you going to come back to Warwick to give a class?
I’m not too sure, I’m afraid! I do miss Warwick so much though- I still have huge pride when I think back to the salsa society.