Thanks to Rodney and Ava Apple, I went to take more "on 2 " classes with
Frankie Martinez in "Salsa in Paradise", Honolulu. I also took four days
of wonderful classes with other instructors from around the world.
Frankie was amazing, just like when he came to Cocomo's. Not only is he
truly a beautiful dancer and teacher with a healing spirit, he is also
incredibly funny! He makes the entire class laugh every 3-5 minutes with
his jokes...every single class!!!! This is so important to learning salsa;
the "fun variable" not only makes it so much more enjoyable, laughter,
actually aids in retention of material due to the changes in brain
chemistry and neurotransmitters. Frankie has all these great terms like:
-Mambo Shock: when people get out on the dance floor and are in a state of
shock when trying to assimilate newly learned moves.
-Mambo Coma: when a dancer comes out of a kinda sleep out on the dance
-"Abort the Mission": when men lose the rhythm, especially when trying to
execute a new move, it is best not to try to jump on a moving train, you
might get hurt...so just wait and "Catch the next Train".
I am still a beginner "On 2", but feel that it moves better with Salsa
music and looks better and is more fluid. But, I have been dancing "On 1"
for 11 years and have a lot of respect for this dance form too. Frankie
was also explaining that "in a dance, just
like a movie, you do not want to do the entire dance one way, like it
would be too intense and exhausting to watch an action film that never let
up or a love scene for the entire movie...one needs to vary the drama,
give it texture, some adventure, some sensuousness, some comedy and on and
on. This helps it to stay interesting and fun. Frankie also taught a
"Afro-Cuban Moves" class. I usually warm up my students with similar
"isolation technique" for 5 minutes for all the joints; he spent 20
minutes on just the shoulder joint. It definitely reminded me of classes I
had years ago from teachers from Trinidad and West Aftrica Many years ago,
I also took a Graduate course in "Teaching Learning Theories" at UCSF, and
Frankie has all the elements of a superb educator.
There were over 300 people
at the workshops, there were over 80 people from Japan, I got to practice
some Japanese. Super Mario from London was a very sweet, gentle person,
excellent instructor,dancer (said "Hi" to Michelle and Ricardo). He kinda
is like a Shaq O'Neal on the Salsa court type, though super light on his
feet. Nelson and Maribel were great instructors and performers, they did a
lot of shines "On 2" most moves, though I had seen in Hip hop classes from
Eric Fenn (Culture Shock, SF). Just like the body wave was popular 4-5
years ago in Hip Hop and entered the salsa world 1-2 years ago.
The event was really
super, Jobi and Luis, Eddie Torres and his wife were wonderful hosts, the
workshops were well organized, I heard very few complaints. None of the
teachers had "attitudes", this was really nice! Several people in Honolulu
were given special Latin Cultural awards for promoting salsa and unity
which added a nice sense of community and history to the event. Jonnhy
Polanco and was AMAZING, they played Saturday night and a free concert on
the beach, as the sun was setting on Sunday. This event is planned again
for next year on the same weekend (MLK holiday).
Incidently, Ava's class
"On 2" is great at the Mission Cultural Center in SF on Saturdays at
12noon and 1pm. I plan to get a class card, and I hope many of our West
Coast people do too, so we can keep up with the New Yorkers and others on
the salsa front.
With salsa love,