April & Juan Workshop Short-Take
great workshop at The Beat in Berkeley just wrapped up this Sunday, November
18! For those of you not familiar with these workshops, they are organized by
our very own Gabriel Romero (of Mambo Romero dance company). They are always
taught by guest "on 2" mambo instructors and run in an intensive three-day
format (Friday evening, plus Saturday and Sunday for four hours each day.) Take
one to get your feet wet or take them all for complete immersion!
month we scored big again! We had the pleasure of having two great teachers
from the New York: April Genovese and Juan Matos. April performs with
Descarga Latina and Juan with Frankie Martinez's
Abakua Dancers. If you've never seen these two dance before, you must!
Juan's distinctive Michael Jackson style and April's beautiful sexy styling are
just amazing to behold.
had practice with my dance troupe on Sunday, I was only able to attend a full
Saturday workshop. Both 2-hour sessions started off with open floorwork
(shines) followed by partner combinations. When I was told to dress to sweat,
that wasn't exactly misleading. During these workshops, be prepared to lose
plenty of fluids! I thought it was even more intense than my practice session!
Instruction moves along at a fast and steady pace. The more advanced 2:30 p.m.
workshop was fun and challenging, and the followers rotated in the circle very
quickly. Excellent idea: don't get used to one person for a long period of
time. I found that it helped me to become less complacent and was always on my
toes, since I knew I had to adapt and adjust slightly to the next follower in
line. Both April and Juan were in the rotation, too, which helped a lot.
Saturday was very well-attended and the skill level of the students was
particularly high! Not surprising if you saw the shines we performed and the
complex partner work we executed. If you get through them well, I applaud you.
If you can do them AND add the styling--the moonwalk on the open break for the
guys and cool body rolls for the women, for example--I might just be in awe of
you! Itís been three days already and Iím still trying to absorb all that new
information. Ahem, did I mention the body rolls for the women (hint, hint)?
Incidentally, I had the chance to dance one song with April at
Cafe Cocomo on Saturday night and she really does practice what she
teaches. As many New York dancers can be, she could be flirtilly playful with
her partner (me!) and the music. Not just with the rolls--everything that can
look great styled, she can do! In fact, I was more of a spectator that night,
since I really just wanted to see how beautifully she danced, with all levels of
partners. A female friend and I were standing on the balcony and just
observing; she pointed out all the little details of styling she did with her
Ismael Otero and his troupe came in and I pretty much was in observation
mode the rest of the time!
I also spoke with two women who attended Sunday's women's
styling workshop. They were just raving about April and proceeded to show me
some of what they learned.
be well-prepared so as not to be overwhelmed: preparedness is key! Bring
plenty of water and your favorite food substances to help you last throughout a
long day. What I also find helpful is to bring a video camera and politely ask
somebody to record yourself performing the shines and partnerwork before
"instant amnesia" sets in the next day. You also pay a lot for these workshops,
so bring your video camera if you have one and don't hesitate to ask lots of
suggestion for this workshop: we want April and Juan back again! And soon!!
more info on April, visit her
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