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HOT SALSA FRIDAY (FEBRUARY 1st, 2002)

SALSA DANCING REVIEW AND TRIP REPORT (w/photos)

 

Let's See the Photos!

 

Location: Dance Spectrum, 1707d South Bascom Ave., Campbell, CA 95008. 

Dates: Every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month (with special performances on certain dates).

Performance: "King Tut" by Edie & Al Espinoza (Los Angeles, CA)


GETTING THERE
 

Sometimes, things turn out not quite as expected! The Volvo broke down in Berkeley on Wednesday night and I had to leave it in the repair shop for a few days. How on Earth was I going to get down to Campbell for Hot Salsa Friday! Being resourceful enough I hitch-hiked my way across the 280 freeway from San Francisco, freezing on the back of some stranger's pickup truck...no, not really! OK, fortunately, Lianne was there to give me a ride, in a very comfortable car, I might add, with leather seats and dash-mounted GPS system (I didn't have to catch pneumonia in the freezing cold on the back of a truck after all!) Throughout part of the trip, I could hear the electronically-generated voice of the GPS system announcing every turn and intersection. All that advanced technology! Hey, my car is barely even at that level (well, unless you count being able to plug in your cell phone extension cord to the cigarette lighter as "high tech"!)

It was about 9:00 p.m. and, as we pulled into the "1707d" complex, we barely managed to find parking in front of the studio. The front part of the lot was already packed full of vehicles! (As I got out, I expected Lianne's car to tell me to adjust my shirt collar or to check if my hair looked good but, apparently, it limits itself to trip directions!) At that point, I was guessing Edie & Al as guest instructors--not to mention performers--for the evening were a big draw for the crowds! We walked in and saw a pretty full class. The classes usually end at 9:00 p.m. but as salsa classes are wont to be, it ran a little late. That was fine, since I was able to take in the partnerwork demo and include it in my review.

GUEST INSTRUCTORS AND PERFORMERS: EDIE & AL

As you might have seen from the flyers, Edie ("Salsafreak") & Al Espinoza ("Liquid Silver") from Los Angeles were the main attraction, as guest instructors and performers. From what I remembered, the instructors divided the intermediate class into a "beginning" intermediate and "advanced" intermediate section. The first part was a demonstration of a move they labelled "Titanic" (picture the scene with Leonardo di Caprio on the bow of the ship and you'll get the association.) It was a drop-hand catch to a cross-body lead (CBL) to a shadow position which allows the follower to get this extension in which she leans slightly forward. However, what separates the pros from the masses is this: styling. Edie throws in a body roll! Not a problem; she makes it easy as cake! Simple moves made great!

The next part of the lesson covered a more advanced version: CBL into double-handed inside turn to a wrap. Easy enough you say. But next comes a move called the "Zipper" in which the leader brings the followers right arm (or was it left?) over and down, allowing her arm to wrap behind her, then straight into a dip (leader's right arm holding the follower by the back).

As I was watching this, I was remarking upon the fact that all these moves were so familiar to me: the shadow, the behind-the-back "Zipper" move, the drop-hand catch. I always thought those to be New York-style moves, since they were taught to me by instructors who practice that style. However, I remembered then what a dance instructor told me: there are only so many moves to go around and our body can only move in so many different ways! This was from a lindy hop instructor, by the way. I agree, and a great thing to keep in mind for someone who is learning what all these dances are about! Also, this demonstrates how dance forms evolve: through the blending and fusion of different styles.  That night's performances was all about fusing styles.

"KING TUT"

It's a little past 11:00 p.m. and Edie & Al's are about to begin their latest routine, "King Tut". This was reminiscent of the film "The Mummy", lately reincarnated--pardon the pun--as a Brendan Fraser movie.  Actually, it almost felt like watching a four- to five-minute scene from said movie.  It starts off with two explorers (Edie and a person who was not Al), dressed in scarves and leather jackets, who come across the prized sarcophagus of King Tut.  The lights are all dimmed. They start debating about what to do in this situation, looking all spooked!  After a while the smoke rolls and the eyes of the sarcophagus turn bright blue.  The minute you walked onto the floor of Dance Spectrum, the sarcophagus prop was really hard to miss, centered as it was right in the middle of the room. You knew that prop was going to be a centerpiece in the performance, and there it was being put into use.  The two explorers pry it open and out comes a mummy (Al in costume).  The other person has already fled by then. The "mummy" then proceeds to tear off his costume to reveal Liquid Silver himself.  The lights go up and the dance routine starts.  In this routine was salsa blended with some hip hop elements.

I asked Mr. Liquid Silver himself about his inspiration for the routines they come up with. He told me about his dance background and how he evolved as an old-school pop locker. He wanted to fuse this experience with salsa and come up with scenarios that lend themselves well to that. I can see what he means. For example, there's this part in the routine where they do the Egyptian hieroglyphic poses, sort of like The Bangles in one of their music videos. All that breaking and isolating of one's limbs to create that "popping" effect was pretty amazing to watch. I'm still trying to master a simple body roll and even with that my efforts are still pretty pathetic, so you can imaging how impressive that seems to someone like me!

CONCLUSION,  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS & UPCOMING EVENTS

Thanks to PB&G Productions for organizing another great special evening! Dancing AND performances--I love being entertained in this way, especially on a late Friday evening, unwinding for the week etc.  No effort and no expense spared! Not to mention social dancing on a big floor with lots of space between couples.  Of course, since it's a social, it was a lot more "pressure-free" and casual compared to clubs, which I appreciated.

 

As usual: great free buffet (including that great Filipino dessert) and refreshments ! All night salsa and mambo DJ music on a large dance floor! All ages welcome! Check out the photos of the event and see all the familiar faces from the salsa dance community. Thanks to Tiffany S. for giving me a ride back home!  Alright, time to pack up and head over to my dance troupe rehearsal session, so I can entertain Ricardo and Michelle the next time!
 

Be sure to show up for the Hot Salsa Friday dance contests on February 15th,  March 1st and March 15th (the finals!)  As a matter of fact, why don't you try out?


Any comments? Feel free to email the author.

 

 

 

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