Thursday, April 17, 2014

Salsa Advanced Performance Winter 2014

I've finally got around to blogging about my experience with Salsa Advanced. I was also part of the Bachata Performance Team and a KPOP dance group

This term I was with instructor Martin, and this was the second semester I took a class with him. He focused on a lot of skills, fundamentals and technique so that we had a good foundation moving forward with learning choreography. Considering how I was dancing before, I've been able to clean up my footwork and incorporate a lot more styling. 



Video Performance: 

I've realized dance is a great creative outlet and destressor for me. I enjoy the socializing aspect of it, but also the discipline and practice required in order to master it. Its certainly a great, active hobby and something I hope to become very good at. 

I would love to be able to immerse myself in dance this summer (if it all possible). 

Keep calm, and salsa on;
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Toronto Travel: Bloor Street, UofT and Kensington Market

Sunday I didn't have anything in particular planned except for Brunch with a good friend. She prepared homemade pancakes, bacon, eggs and i had this delicious lemon tea. 

I honestly felt like passing out after that meal, and was seriously contemplating it. Instead I decided to go with the original plan of walking to Kensington Market. Toronto is a city thats a bit hard to appreciate when its winter (or any city to me for that matter). It was a pretty decent day that started out sunny initially and was certainly "light jacket weather". 

I didn't end up taking my SLR, so these are my pictures through my phone. 

Sights of Bloor Street 

Bloor Street is considered the "northern boundary" of downtown Toronto. There are a lot of shops and thoroughfare, and just north of Bloor Street is Yorkville, which contains high end shopping and dining. 

They recently opened up a Tiffany&Co right next to the LV on Bloor Street West. 

On going construction of 1 Bloor St, a coveted address and super convenient location. I remember seeing in the news stories about lineups to buy up these condos. 

There's still a long time, and many floors to go before they reach completion:


I also stopped by Sephora on Bloor Street to pick up some primer, and also to paint my nails. I liked the mint blue/green/ robin egg colour. This one is called "Unmistakeable". I did an AWFUL job patingint them (my left hand kept shaking while I was painting!). Ah well.

University of Toronto

On my way to Kensington Market, I actually passed through University of Toronto. I remember passing Toronto Public Library several times but didn't realize I'd stumble upon it on my way. I remember seeing the Empress of Japan visit TPL a few years ago (lots of fanfare, red carpet and media there!). 

I believe I was walking along St. George. I remember the same time last year we were already seeing green grass and some budding on the trees. This year's winter has been pretty brutal:

I usually take this route on my way home from dance classes. 

Kensington Market

The day became cloudy later on so these pictures don't quite do the place justice. It was bustling today and I the entire time I was just in awe of all the shops, markets and shops on Kensington! Every place was super unique. 

 This place I was a bit weirded out by the mannequins wearing cat and bunny ears out front.

Finally discovered the place that Bernice buys her delicious cheeses:

Some stores were literally overflowing with products, like this leather shop Casta Brava:

This shop had a LOT of unique trinkets and things I could imagine myself using for future halloween costumes. 

I loved the name of this store, "Courage My Love", as this yelp review describes it, "Courage My Love is an incense-scented vintage wonderland. Buttons, jewelry, earrings, sweaters... you name it, they've got it."

Over a period of 3-4 hours I took my time traveling 7.7 km (I know, not very far at all). I was pretty tired afterwards and ended up passing out for a few hours. It was nice to just take a day to myself and wander aimlessly in my city. lol. I usually don't get many days like this so it was nice to be able to do, and I often don't do solo shopping dates either.

Safe travels,
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bachata Performance Team Winter 2014

I joined the University of Toronto Dance Club's Bachata Performance Team for the winter term of 2014. It was taught by JP, a regular instructor and talented competitive dancer. We were partnered up with the person closest in height to us.

Social Dancing versus a Performance Team: I was really looking forward to joining a performance team particularly because I really want to be able to refine a lot of things I have been learning. I find in most classes I learn a lot of basic moves and how to follow. However, with a performance team the atmosphere is more serious, and you are drilling the same moves over and over again to attempt to get it to the standard of the choreographer. 

Performances: We performed at University of Toronto's Heart House Festival of Dance on March 28, 2014 and then at the End of Term Party on April 5, 2014. 


Each class is 1.5 hours once a week for 10 weeks (performance teams with other professional dance schools are often 3 hours twice per week). Thats how long we have to prepare. Our instructor focused heavily on ensuring we learned the choreography first, then he cleaned us up. This usually requires running over the same move over and over again.

First Class

The first class we reviewed simple basics and got right into the choreography. It wasn't about perfecting each move, it was about learning it, and I imagine we will refine it with time as we drill the moves over and over again.

Learning basic choreography on the first day, we are out of sync and our moves are quite messy, but this improves with time. 

Third Class

We started incorporating more moves, as well as a form of Bachata called "Dominican". By the third class we completed approximately 1 minute of a 2 minute song. At this point, it is more about learning choreography and cleaning up/refining it afterward.

Salsa Stage Wear

Our instructor chose these dresses (although apparently in the world of salsa performance, there are much more scandalous costumes). I went out to Urban Behaviour and grabbed all of the smallest sizes they had. Price was $10 at Urban Behaviour. A lot of the girls were quite uncomfortable with the size of the dresses, although I have seen more scandalous 

Men were required to wear black V-neck shirts, black vests, black pants and white suspenders (not to be worn, but to hang off the belt). 

Last Class - Technical Rehearsal

We had 15 minutes to work on stage, determine our positions, play with lighting and run through the routine twice. It was also our first time in full costume as well. We took some fun group photos afterwards. 


Big Night Performance - Festival of Dance

The performance went flawlessly, we took pictures afterwards and headed out to dinner at Marche in Brookfield Place downtown Toronto.

With my dance team - our "Ellen Degeneres" Oscar group selfie picture backstage. 

Performance 2: End of Term Party

Video stills from the performance:





Concluding Thoughts

Its been an incredible experience, both in enhancing my ability to follow and style in salsa, as well as forging new friendships within the salsa dance community.

One of my biggest challenges these past three months was balancing my time. I had been doing salsa three times per week, in addition to Dragonboat and weekly KPOP practices. All dance teams I was apart of increased the frequency of practices in the weeks leading up to March/April performances.

Celebrating together after the show!

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