Apr 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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