Shake your booty – and practice at home

Last week when I went to my weekly Salsa lessons we were taught many new and complicated moves. Especially the men have to keep the steps in mind and practice to lead the woman correctly. After class the teacher mentioned that it is not enough to dance only once a week and that it is necessary to learn all the combinations by heart. That is where the online videos play an important role again. When everyone was sighing because half of the steps were already forgotten, the teacher gave us the hint that every combination, that we learn, can be found on the website of the dancing school DIE mobile Tanzschule

At my old dancing school everyone was pulling out the digital camera or the mobile phone to make a video of the just learned combinations. But it turned out that this is very stressful, the data has to be transferred to the computer and eventually the quality is not passable.

As competition between dancing schools in Berlin is severe and one schools tries to steal the members of another school it got very important to build up a personal relationship to the dancers and to offer better services. That means that businesses in general cannot only perform their core competences anymore but they also have to dick into new fields of work, that have actually nothing to do with the real products or services they offer. That way dancing teachers can transform into movie directors, they learn how to works with cameras and how to cut the scenes. This trend holds for almost all businesses nowadays.

In the following I want to present you some videos from my salsa school and a school of a friend. Through these trailers and dancing instructions they were able to win new members and to retain the existing clientele. That shows how important information technology is and that everyone should have a basic understanding of how to use it to successfully promote his or her business.

DIE mobile Tanzschule dancing instructions:

http://www.die-mobile-tanzschule.de/videoclip.php?file=salsa/Noventa-y-cuatro.flv

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2 Responses to Shake your booty – and practice at home

  1. Bruce Spear says:

    That’s just great, Julia! Thanks!

    I LOVED taking salsa lessons, mostly at Walzerlinksgestrickt on Saturdays and sometimes at Havanna I think it was Fridays, but then I realized that I simply could not learn too many dances and had to choose and that I’m not in the best shape to dance salsa for long. So I love how at Tango Loft on Sundays around 10:30pm they suddenly play two salsa pieces, often this fabulous Senegal/New York band Africando, and especially Aicha, which is so popular here in Berlin, here’s a fine performance video with stage show, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wo-VoeTNUFM.

    I actually first heard salsa from a concert by Tito Puente in Santa Cruz, California, at a club called The Catalyst, where I went to a dinner in the restaurant out front with a Mexican friend not knowing that Puente was playing, and when we saw that we drank tequila and went to the show, and it was exactly like this video from the 1980s, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxzphmtiUVk, where the ensemble was mostly jazz, but where Puente was working out the rhythms of what we know call “salsa”: you can hear exactly at 3:38 the break and up-tempo charge that is the starting point for the current Africando. They also worked out the hypnotic sequencing of solos that were probably made most famous by Carlos Santana at Woodstock, 1969, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JryQXilMj4.

    Santana basically lost his way, but Puente did for salsa what Piazzolla did for tango: keep this tradition alive, through consistent interrogation of the principles, while the rest of culture left partner dancing for the individualism and wonderfully bizarre diversity of rock and roll, especially with its blues, psychedelics, pop, and metal.

    Then something happened around 1985, both salsa and tango made a comeback: and Puente and Piazzolla were right there and doing their best work: they had a new audience, recording technologies were fabulous, and people turned to them as if they had been missing something.

    And in Berlin at that time, too. I don’t know in detail about salsa, but in 1984 there were only 3 places to dance tango (now there are 30 each week and thousands of dancers and lots of schools). A number of teachers have told me that they think people started partner dancing again because people wanted to connect to each other, through the dance they gain some intimacy that don’t get in the rest of their lives.

    Anyway, my teachers Angelika Fischer and Irmel Weber took up tango in 1984, Irmel tells me one night after a tap dancing class they were 30 and having a drink and decided together. Here’s Angelika demonstrating a figure in my class a year ago, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dswW9LK3WY, and you see how she demonstrates, and how we practice, over and over until we get it.

    I love being part of this tradition, where you learn steps that people have been learning and adapting and interpreting for 100 years and so you are part of something larger than yourself. I’ll close by sharing one of my favorite videos as it contains two dances, the first choreographed by the French woman who is playing the role of the follower: it is a theater piece, really, as she explores her feelings in a very modern way and full of ambivalence, as a modern woman learning how to follow a man in a traditional dance. The second piece is an improvisation where the man is leading her in a very gentle, thoughtful, and sophisticated way. The man leading is a very special dancer, and here you see him playing a very subordinate role: we say, “the man is the frame, the woman is the picture: it is his job to make her feel beautiful”, and I think that’s what he does here.

    If any of you ever want to check out the tango scene, one of the best places to do so is Sundays from about 4pm until late, at the Tango Loft in Wedding. There are lots of young people there, but lots of older folks too, so lots of variety in styles, and great cakes in the afternoon and soups and pasta in the evenings: a great party, great dancing!

    Thanks, Julia, I’m delighted to know there are other dancers in our class!

    And maybe the thing to do is somehow do what we have been asking everyone else to do, which is to connect this with business and technology. I’ve a couple ideas, but maybe you do, too?

    • Julia J. says:

      Thank your very much for your commend. I could really feel the passion when you were writing it. I tried out Tango before (but Tango Argentino) and I really liked it a lot. But just as you said, sometimes one has to concentrate on one thing and I first want to master one style of dancing. Dancing just makes you feel free, you can forget everything around you and let yourself go. So I really need it for my work-life balance!

      The video of Tinto Puente was really nice, I enjoyed the sound a lot!

      I actually thought I connected it to business and IT but maybe not in the depth as you would like to have it. I will work on it. Thank you!

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