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SALSA IN PARADISE: A TRAVEL DIARY!

 

1-21-2003 - By Indrah!

 

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 Aloha,

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 floor.

-"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,
Indra (ThadaniSalsagirl@aol.com)

 

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