Wednesday 22 February 2023

Twenty Five years of the Thames Salsa Cruise

Twenty Five years of the Thames Salsa Cruise

My, how time flies!

As we approach the Thames Salsa Cruise’s 25th Anniversary on Sunday 21st May 2023, I’d like to offer a few reflections of this very special event that’s been part of the London Salsa scene for quarter of a century.

I’d also like to offer my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who’s come on the cruise over the years. You’ve made it what it is: A beautiful, fun evening of joy.



How it began:

We were having a good year. I was teaching salsa nights in the West End, City of London and a couple of venues in North and North West London.
I was also editing the Email Salsa News which was a salsa events listing email magazine, that went out weekly.
Fliss, AKA DJ Felicidad and I, decided to celebrate with a salsa picnic by the river in Jubilee Gardens next to Embankment station.

We quickly realised that promoting this free event was taking as much effort as promoting a profit making event with as much reputational risk if things went wrong. (We found out on the day that picnics are banned in Jubilee gardens!) It was time to take a risk and hire a boat as an add-on to the picnic. The idea of the Thames Salsa Cruise was born. Four hours of Sunday afternoon cruising the Thames and back in time to get home ready for Monday.


The Party:

I believe dancing should be fun, not some exacting, elitist, performance based art form!
This informs how I teach and the events I run. One time many , many years ago, a couple arrived at the pier, sauntered up and announced they were Latin champions and required VIP status. My response would have failed any customer service exam (including Rian Airs). Needless to say they did not board :)

The Boat:

Although it was the same boat back then, HMV Royalty, a veteran of the first world war, was less well appointed than she is today. She had a cambered i.e. sloping dance floor so that any liquid: spilt drinks, river spray, body fluids etc., would run to the sides. This made dancing interesting! Quickly we adopted the idea that if your partner was shorter than you, they stand in the middle and vice versa!

We also had to hump a PA system from wherever we could park to the boat and back. Back then I mounted two CD Walkmans in a black attaché case with a small mixer. I had many enquiries from other DJs as to where they could buy one.

Mambo Number Five

Given the cost and the dance floor it was vital to remind everyone that the Thames Salsa Cruise was not a club night. There was far less boat traffic back then so after a while everyone got used to the floor and we stopped being special. I had a cunning plan! Fliss put on Mambo Number Five and I would lead an animation (line up) that deliberately rocked the boat by everyone running from side to side. This was discussed with the skipper first to ensure it was perfectly safe. By the way, they test the buoyancy annually by placing tonnes of weight on one side to tilt the boat well beyond its maximum capacity. They also ultrasound the hull for cracks and carry at least double the life saving equipment needed for the capacity.

Anyway Mambo Number FIve was a success and we’ve repeated it on every cruise ever since. Sometimes it's good to be a little silly :)

The River Thames

The Thames has changed so much since we started. It's almost hard to imagine but when we started the London Eye, Millennium Dome, Shard, Headlamp, Walkie Talkie, Emirates Cable Car, Greenwich Meridian Laser and so many more things we're simply not around! It feels as if they've been built just for you to see as you dance the night away.
One of my hack lines is that the Thames Salsa Cruise has been going longer than Shakespeare's Globe Theatre!
“Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep” Henry VI, Part II


Back in 2009 I spent a week editing a video of the Cruise. It’s still a very good representation of what it’s like. If you recognise yourself in the video, let me assure you that you haven't changed a bit :)

Tuesday 18 October 2022

Last night was a bit of an event

Last night was a bit of an event. After my Salsa Rapido 1-Day Intensive course in Soho I went home and got ready to go out again! That in itself is noteworthy!

Somewhere along the line, the inner parental voice of ‘you’re teaching tomorrow so not on a school night’ made a comfy sofa a far too easy option! Motivation is often fickle but there was no way we were going to miss this.

It was Salsateca’s thirtieth anniversary and nearly all the old faces of the salsa scene would be at London’s Porchester Hall all suited and booted (assuming boots are patent leather, sparkly or have suede soles)

Further motivation came from the fact that I would be receiving an award for 'Outstanding contribution to the salsa scene'. Many thanks to Elder and Salsateca for a fabulous event and for bringing so many old faces together.

Elder Sanchez founded Salsateca in 1992 the year Fliss and I started to learn salsa. For many of our generation of dancers, Salsateca’s Wednesday nights at La Finca were an essential part of London's salsa scene. Elder remains one of the few salseros that I’ve never worked with or attended a class. Of the ten or so recipients at the event I had worked with all but two. To me this makes the consideration for an award all the more poignant and I’m sincerely grateful to Elder and his team.


The award says 30th anniversary. Obviously that’s Salsateca’s anniversary but it has special meaning for Fliss and I.

Last August was the 30th anniversary of Fliss and I going to the Notting Hill Carnival where I saw salsa dancing for the first time. I remember reaching down and picking up a flyer for a class/club night. Little did I realise that that would lead to 30 year of dancing salsa and 27year of teaching it!

Muchos gracias :)

It goes on to say “For outstanding contribution to the salsa scene” which I feel sums me up in every way.

My first nickname amongst salseros back in the day was ‘The white guy who could dance’. Back then the men on the scene were mainly Latino and AfroCaribean. I was literally outstanding!

I have always tried to innovate rather than borrow ideas from others. Salsa Rapido method since '95, The Thames Salsa Cruise (celebrating 25 yrs in 2023), Salsa University at Turnmills (weekly multi adv classes '98), the first ever weekly bachata classes at the Cuban Camden '06, The Salsa Instructors forum '02, the 1-Day Intensive format (first of its kind in the world) '03, my Catno mop and chair demo that I took around Europe '02, and not forgetting the Mambalsa project '14 and the Third Way of Dance '22.

There are many other projects to mention and some that failed but they always taught me something, perhaps more than the successful ones.

I never perceived a great camaraderie on the salsa scene amongst professionals. My memory of the nineties is that we all lived in solitary defensive bunkers desperate for students and enough profit to break even. The explosive growth of the salsa scene: from five to over eighty nights inside the M25 within four years '94-98, was matched by an even greater growth in the numbers of salsa teachers! In economics I believe it’s called the pig cycle. It was typical that a beginner student of mine would teach my lesson to their class the same week. Let's say it was more about quantity than quality back then!

Although that actually happened, I think it may be a little unfair to generalize, but events like last night help dispel my fantasy constructed from my own insecurities (ooooeeer look who’s a qualified counsellor).

It is fair to say that the salsa scene was a collection of mavericks who innovated a salsa dance industry out of thin air. In the early nineties ballroom and Latin was virtually non-existent (awaiting Strictly to resuscitate it). Modern jive, Brazilian samba and lambada were bigger scenes than salsa, which consisted of about five classes in central London.

Salsa was never part of the dance establishment. No grants or funding supported salsa. We worked anywhere we could. My first venue was a portacabin out the back of the Old Bull Arts Center in High Barnet. I worked my way up (or down) to a basement in Salsa Soho.

Along the way I’ve clocked up over 55 venues! Some lasted years like Salsa University at Turnmills, The Cuban (13 years) and Downstairs at the Kings Head but others flaked away after a few weeks. The main venue killer was junior venue management trying out their new ideas and senior management trying to turn a Monday night’s bar-take into a Saturday nights!

Back in 1995 when I started teaching (with Fliss). Originally we started as ‘The Red Hot Salsa Co.’ but then found out someone was trading as Red Hot Salsa so we changed to The Streetbeat Salsa Co. We needed an edge, a USP, hence my teaching method: Salsa Rapido, the fast ‘n fun way into salsa. This was always more than a strap line, for me it was an ethos. If people learnt fast they would be out clubbing and spreading the word. If my classes were fun it would bind the group. I had no concept of comedy theory back then but it remains the dominant psychology of comedy theory, that humour is a way to bond people together, effectively an extension of primates grooming each other.

I feel now Fast ‘n Fun has evolved into the The Third Way of Dance TWD, where the triangle of Benefits: fun, friendships and feeling great form an ethos that connects the first way of dance: Social, with the second way: Fitness and physical health to the Third way: A combination of Well-being, social and fitness.

It’s a major part of the Mambalsa Project as well as Salsa Rapido. More on that later :)

Sunday 19 September 2021

To Swap or not to Swap?

To Swap or not to Swap....

I’m writing this in September 2021, at a time where in many ways we’re post-covid. Clubs and bars and most importantly dance classes are open for business and people are working out a ‘new normal’.

Swapping partners is just one of many aspects of the current salsa scene that many, in our post pandemic world, consider ‘risky’. I could, just as easily, use mask wearing or hand sanitizing or simply going out to dance. For me, visualising partner swapping at a salsa event connects me to the messey real world problem of risk. So here’s a few of my thoughts that I hope are useful.

Unlike many other dance scenes, partner swapping is part salsa culture. In my mind, salsa has retained an inherent core value of social interaction. I suggest that as a scene, it remains primarily social. This contrasts with many other dances whose origins are based upon performance, or dances that have developed through a culture of competition. In both groups there is a greater tendency to form a partnership to compete or perform. I accept that salsa has moved towards a demonstration/competition culture since the turn of the century, but it remains the fact that the vast majority of people who get into salsa do so to go out dancing and not to compete or perform.

Covid presents significant risks at the moment. I'm sure everyone knows the potential outcomes of catching covid and I can pretty much guarantee that those who don't are not reading this blog post.

The risks are death, long covid, or a nasty couple of weeks feeling awful with added anxiety of not knowing if you have some underlying condition that makes you vulnerable to the first two. That last one is a real fear, or should be. I’m 56 and just before covid I discovered I only had one kidney. It's big and happy and not at all lonely as it has healthy relationships with my other internal organs. It strikes me that I’ve spent a fair amount of my adult life not knowing something as fundamental as missing an organ, although I’ve always had a thing for steak and kidney pie, so perhaps the clues were there!

With vaccination and new treatments the risk of hospitalization and death has been reduced greatly but covid is still around and it seems to like being here, which suggests that waiting for it to go away isn’t an option.

My Dilemma?
This Autumn I’ve restarted my Salsa Rapido 1-Day Intensive courses after a very long and unscheduled break. I’m faced with the choice of inviting people new to salsa to join my course. This presents an ethical challenge. In a nutshell, I don’t want to be the cause of someone's illness or death. At the same time I don’t want to be unemployed or bankrupt.

During August I ran two courses where they were restricted to couples only, socially distanced and no partner swapping was allowed. They worked well enough, but I’m not comfortable presenting salsa as a non-swapping dance. Apart from my need to reflect the salsa culture as I see it, I’m not prepared to exclude huge chunks of the salsa experience such as: Asking strangers to dance is exciting. Or the fun of dancing La Rueda.

There are also very practical teaching reasons to change partners. Perhaps the main effect is the sense of achievement I see when a beginner realises they’ve ‘got it’ because ‘it works’ with several people, and therefore it will work with anyone, and not just someone they know who’s probably compensating for their error in some way.

Two types of salsa dancers:
There are currently two types of salsa dancers: The ‘I’m OK with the Risk’ (Risk-OK) who are going out to classes and clubs and happy taking the risks or swapping partners etc, and the ‘I’m not OK with the Risk’ (Risk-Not-OK) group who are not going out to classes or clubs.

And yet....
At any moment, if you ask anyone from either group, their position appears fixed, polarised and entrenched. Justifications are used to back up their position such as facts and figures, theories and beliefs. I’m sure we’ve all had one of those ‘covid chats’ in the last eighteen months!
It’s a classic ‘them and us’ situation, and I’m certain whichever group you are in, you’ll have a strong view about the other side's position.

I would suggest a different picture where people are shifting from one group to another.
At times when a Risk-Not-OK perceives the risk to be lowering they reach a tipping point and join the Risk-OK group.
We can see this demonstrated in face mask wearing and I’d like to suggest that this is very similar to the decisions being made about going dancing and swapping partners etc.

Recently I went to a large Tesco in North London. Welcome to my laboratory :)
My guesstimate of mask use within the store has gone from 98% during lockdown, to 75% just after restrictions were lifted in July and today (Sept 13th ‘21) they were around the 10% mark. Clearly many of the ‘mask wearing’ group have changed position to become a non-mask wearer. I saw someone fumbling with a mask outside the shop and they seemed to reach a subconscious tipping point, a “sod it” point, when they stuffed the mask back into their pocket and joined the non-mask wearing group. I mainly still wear one to shops to protect the vulnerable but my ‘sod it’ point is coming closer every day.

What interests me is that my ‘sod it’ point is not driven by any data. Why do I wear a mask in one shop and not another? I’m inconsistent. The covid case numbers haven't changed much day to day and my immune system hasn’t either. I’m less likely to wear a mask in a shoe shop than a clothing store. The idea that somehow shoe shops are safer is wacko! I can feel my brain searching for a justification but there isn’t one. My decision is not based on anything other than an emotional gut reaction, in other words my mood. That’s a thought to consider when you're next trading facts and figures in a covid chat!

Let’s all go moo

Try it, it feels good. Mooooooooooooo! A long slow out breath calming the vagus nerve and lowing our heart rate, blood pressure, noradrenaline and a whole load of sciency stuff that was known for millennia before the sciency stuff came about. It’s calming and lowers our stress and anxiety. I find wearing a cow onesie helps too, but some find that udderly stupid! Writing cow jokes is a no-bull pursuit!

If you have a good moooo before making a decision it is likely to be a better decision. Less anxiety etc. means less influence by the fight/flight response. This allows us to weigh the decisions intelligently..... Or do we?

We are all herd animals and our decision making is heavily influenced by the herd. Scroll through a few salsa links on Facebook and: Wow! What a party everyone’s having without us! How happy and safe they all look! If they’re ok, surely I’ll be fine? But what promoter show’s a balanced view, it’s simply not their job! Who posts the pictures of the salsa dancers sitting at home not going out? Who posts pictures of half empty dance floors etc. One or two have notably shared their covid videos after catching it at salsa events but social media is biased. If you don’t believe me, look at your own profile picture!

Back to my dance of dilemma:
My concern is for those making a decision to dance for the first time, or those rejoining after a long break or if they have a vulnerability. They have to make a risk decision based on poor information and mood! For some it’s easy. An overwhelming argument on one side or the other. For many it’s less so.

I’m certain that every teacher and promoter has weighed the pros and cons.Run through the regulations and come to a decision. I did this summer with my first Salsa Rapido 1-Day Intensive courses restricted to limited numbers, couples only and strictly no swapping partners. I tested myself the day before and waived transfer fees for postponement. I sent out texts the day before encouraging people not to come if they felt in any way ill.

I believe that was my best decision then, but now my position has changed.
It all comes down to the grey area of decision making. Those who don’t feel safe won’t come. Those who do will, but those in the middle might sign up and regret it. When they arrive they’ll feel uncomfortable and unsafe. If they leave the class they might feel they’ve in some way failed. They also might be someone with symptoms who’s keeping faith with their commitments by coming. The best solution for them is to never have booked in the first place or feel very able to postpone.

I now believe it’s better to remove nearly all restrictions so that the risk is clear to everyone. If one person in the room has covid we will all be exposed.
That way the Risk-Not-OK are less likely to book and those feeling a bit ‘peaky’ will postpone.
So far it’s worked well. In fact it’s fair to say that I feel more exposed on the tube to the venue with more people unmasked and close, than at the course.

Short Term:
In the short term the salsa dance scene may have shrunk dramatically but it's growing back and I believe it will return. If we hold on to the values at the heart of social dance: fun, friendship and respect, I'm certain it will grow and flourish.

Monday 6 September 2021

Blend 21 the Reboot

Blend ‘21 the Reboot

A White Paper by Alastair Sadler

Back in 2017 I published a blog post about a new evening format I’d created called Blend. Blog Link

To put it simply it’s a blend of class and free-dance that offers a different approach to the typical UK class/club format that’s been dominant in the UK since the late 1980’s. I use this comparison, not as a challenge, but rather to highlight the difference and present an alternative format that I believe could offer many benefits to many forms of social dance.

I originally developed Blend for the Mambalsa Project. Mambalsa is a new partner dance that works to any 4:4 time music. Blend could work for any subject as it is a format rather than content / presentation which I would refer to as the teaching method e.g. Salsa Rapido method.

This October ‘21 I’m launching a new night in Central London’s Kings Cross that will be based on the Blend format.

Check out for details.



What’s a Blend event like?

The evening starts with a short 40min  ‘Welcome Session’

This is aimed at absolute beginners and others new to the blend format.

Welcome, is a meet and greet combined with a core skills class aimed at a clearly defined entry level for the blend. It’s easy to skip over the meet and greet element but that’s where we disarm the fears, answer any niggles and welcome new people into our community.

The Blend

Imagine the typical classes and free dance chopped up into small chunks and rearranged so that in one chunk you’re learning and in the next you’re free-dancing or practising what we’ve just done or taking a well earned break.

A blend format venue would feel different from the get go:

Pre booked and prepaid only (A QR code at the door for any walk ins)

Pre published curriculums so participants can see their own progress

A greater emphasis on building a positive social space, friendly, supportive and confident. 



Sections known as Chunks are typically 15mins long with a five minute buffer, therefore there are three chunks per hour and Welcome + 5/6 chunks per evening.

Because everyone will know that chunks are 15mins long. Creativity and expression can be workshopped taking the class content far beyond ‘the move’. 

Sessions might include:

  • Tactile mirroring

  • Footwork Patterns

  • The Event Microscope 

  • Classic Combo Show ‘n Tell

  • Musical Interpretation

  • Expression Express

  • Super Shape

  • Major Move

I’m not expecting the above names to mean anything, but the above list already appears more diverse and interesting than the typical format of: Footwork, move, more moves, Too many moves to remember!

This means atypical teaching methods (for salsa) can be employed with less resistance to change. For new dances like Mambalsa it can simply be the way Mambalsa is done!  

An example of this would be: Jigsaw breakout groups which can be set a challenge e.g. “Using tonight's Classic Combo as a staring point, add expression to show the core emotion of Anger within the mambo section.”  (b.t.w. If I ever sound like I'm setting an essay question in a class, shoot me!)

The above example would build the bonds within small groups as students work towards the goal of demonstrating to the wider class. 

Drama / Buzz 

A second advantage of the 15 min. chunks is that pace and drama can be added to the class simply by saying “I’ve only got 15 minutes for you to master xyz!” (Any relation to US cop shows of the 1970's is purely intensional! And yes I know it shows my age!!) Pace is an essential factor within a class. Too slow and students leave through boredom. Too fast and the class becomes too hard.


Preparation (not something salsa teachers are noted for!) is easy. Not only is it easier to create a chunk rather than a whole class, a chunk can be kept and reintroduced within a different lesson plan. The typical (to salsa) 'never ending sequence’ where instructors keep adding to a sequence of moves until the end of the class or the dancers head explodes, regardless of whether anyone can remember the beginning, would be avoided. In fairness to the never ending sequence it’s highly experiential and the fact that it’s difficult to remember forces the leader to develop their own sequence from the bits they can remember. (For the record, this is me being nice!)

Perhaps an unintended effect of greater preparation is that it would be easier to create and post online content online of the class. 



When I trialled the Blend format in Camden, I noticed some significant differences in my beginners salsa group. First was the effect of constant music. The music as it was at a medium tempo and sometimes we needed to go slower but the majority of the time the group danced to music. Their connection to the music in terms of timing and interpretation were significantly improved. It also seemed as if a barrier was removed, that prevented them from free-dancing. Free-dancing had become part of the class. I think it's fair to say that typically beginners bolt after their class. This often empties the room making the evening less successful. The beginners were also interacting with the intermediate group far more than usual. A chat at the bar and a quick dance before the next chunk started gave everyone a thrill.


Not on a school night! 

No one has to wait until the classes are over for the ‘social’ side of the evening to begin, it’s social throughout with space to dance and chat and relax. 

Often career minded people want to get home at a reasonable time because they have to be fresh the following morning. They want a fun class but they want some free dance as well before it’s time to catch the train home. This group is increasing year on year as are the amount of younger people who drink less. 


It's not a church hall!

Venues aren't expected to be well lit church halls during the classes. From the bar/club’s perspective it's often two hours of no bar trade and no atmosphere, often with no music and the lights up, which alienates non dancers). Venues absolutely hate this, almost as much as they hate a class load of people all trying to get served at the bar straight after the class! Here lies a massive opportunity for Blend to offer constant (but no loud) music with an exciting buzzy atmosphere that entertains the non dancers as much as the participants. In short venues with a quiet night and no separate function room can be sold on Blend!

It's different

It's different, and therefore confusing and possibly uncomfortable to anyone expecting something different. There's a lot of security in an evening's format. All I can say is try it, and let chat about what's different afterwards. 

Progress comes for listening as much as leadership. 

This unfamiliarity throws the pressure onto the Welcome Session where things are explained, people are made to feel comfortable and an alliance is formed between the group and the teacher to help each other to stay on track. I believe this alliance is the antidote to the cliques and snobbery that damage feelings and make people not return.

Blend arguably requires more discipline than traditional classes. People aren't the best time keepers so the teachers have to set the boundaries and stick to them. The old fashioned word for this is professionalism.


Notice the shift away from absolute beginners towards improver and intermediate levels who receive the majority of the content within the evening. This is significant as it recognises a trend in salsa away from absolute beginners towards a group that have some experience, possibly one or two classes or  those who have learnt some related content e.g. salsa footwork within Zumba. There is also a significant trend towards beginners having studied online prior to their first offline class. Post covid, I can only see this trend increasing. The time is coming where there is no such thing as a beginners class. The message will become 'Don't come unless you can do this much first.' Hopefully it will combined with 'And here's a video to get you there'. We're not there yet, but soon. First will see the demise of the 'Absolute Beginners Class'. Along with its passing will be the passing of huge amounts of unintended humiliation and embarrassment.


Blend is new, exciting and potentially highly beneficial to the dance teaching industry. It could open up new venue opportunities and offer choice to dancers. 

This paper is unfinished! Perhaps it always will be as every time I revisit it there's some new aspect to Blend to write about. I look forward to the time when there's a group of us developing this. Perhaps it would span across many genres of dance and many locations. If this idea excites you, please get in touch.

enjoy :)

Friday 13 March 2020


Re Coronavirus (as of 13/03/2020)

Last night the government indicated that their response to the coronavirus pandemic had changed from ‘Containment’ to the ‘Delay’ phase.
I thought I’d update my position regarding the Salsa Rapido Intensive Salsa Courses.

Salsa is a self selecting group of healthy and energetic people. There is nothing about partner dancing that puts us at greater risk than any other social activity. Like other activities, we do all need to take one or two simple precautions in the light of coronavirus.

We all have to balance our personal needs with those of society and I imagine no two positions are identical. Here are mine, and I promise to respect those whose views differ:

All courses will go ahead as planned unless I am prevented from running a course by:
  • Government restrictions, which I will follow completely and any imposed by the venue.
  • My personal ill health. I promise to self isolate immediately.
  • Lack of demand.
At the course:
Please take every opportunity to wash your hands thoroughly upon arrival and during the day. I do :-)
I cannot guarantee hand sanitiser will be available, please bring your own if you wish.
Please understand that the balanced numbers will not be guaranteed, but I assume the bug affects men and women equally. I can guarantee you’ll have fun and learn loads.
Wearing face masks will not be allowed whilst dancing.
Couples may not stay together all day as per my usual T&C.

Before the course:Should you feel unwell due to Coronavirus symptoms in the days before the course please contact me and confirm you are self isolating. I will transfer you onto a holding list, where you can rebook at a later time. No transfer fee will be charged. All other reasons for transfer will be dealt with as usual.

My experience tells me that it’s highly unlikely that you will wake up on the morning of the course feeling unwell, so I ask you NOT to leave it until then. Ask yourself if you’re 100% well and decide. Everyone's health depends on people making honest decisions to self isolate sooner. Saying “I’m not sure if I'll be able to....” does not help anyone. You’re either coming or not!

In the event of a course being cancelled by me, I will offer the choice of holding your booking or a full refund. I will make every effort to contact you by text and email, please help by confirming you’ve received cancellation messages promptly.

As per the usual Terms and conditions: ‘No shows’ i.e. those who do not attend without prior notice will not be transferred or refunded.

I hope these precautions are reasonable and proportionate and I look forward to seeing you on the dance floor.

Alastair 07939012231

Monday 24 February 2020


A few days ago a nasty little creep under the handle ‘kemronirons’ commented on a Youtube Clip I’d posted of people dancing to live music in Camden.

‘Kemronirons’ posted:

“Can't imagine paying for a salsa class and ended up dancing with an 80yo lady who can't move. Obviously, nothing against the lady as we will all get old but from the man's perspective this will really slow him down in learning”

Here’s my reply that I haven't posted yet because I want to know what anyone thinks first.
You’ll understand why I haven't linked to the clip.

My reply:
Kemronirons your comment is offensive and although I doubt you’ll understand my comments I'll try to explain:

It’s obvious this isn’t a clip of a class but freestyle dancing to live music.

Saying “nothing against the lady” does not allow you to be offensive to that lady.
Imagine if that lady was showing some friends that clip and saw your comment? How upset would she feel?

You seem comfortable publicly shaming an older lady who I assume you've never met simply because of her age.

Who gave you the right to judge what is an acceptable age to dance? No one forces you to dance with anyone you don’t want to, so why comment on others choices? Is attacking others the only way you can be heard?

It's easy being offensive when you haven't signed into YouTube with a real name ‘kemronirons’!  Standing behind your comments is something real men do, try it.

I doubt you would have commented on an older man. Do you only attack women?

At least she’s out there in the real world, living, laughing and enjoying a social life where as you have nothing better to do than troll other people’s lives.

Shame on you ‘kemronirons’!


Let me know what you think?

Monday 11 November 2019

The Best Bachata Ever!

Last Saturday Fliss and I went dancing.
That in it self shouldn't be a surprise for a couple involved in salsa since 1992 (please don't make the calculation!) 
Perhaps it would be more typical of a couple of fifty somethings to be sitting at home watching 'Strictly Come Dancing' but last Saturday was different.
Having spent all day teaching at my Salsa  Rapido 1-Day Intensive Course at Bar Salsa I was totally spent, but this time, my reason to dance outweighed my fatigue. In fact in my mind there were two reasons:
First,  we had been invited by a wonderful woman to dance at a Celebration of Life, or as she put it, a Tumor Shrinking Party.

Last summer I had danced in a North London park with a lady (I'll spare her blushes by naming her) who, as we danced, reminded  me that I was her first salsa teacher. This alway touches me deeply. I specialize in beginners and Improvers classes and  seldom get recognition from those who, in spite of me, stay within salsa. They've moved on to higher levels with the latest movers and shakers and I fade into their history as is quite right and proper as any dancer's achievement is theirs alone to take pride in and share. 
On the occation I'm credited, I feel the warmth of pride, the respect for their effort and I usually brush off their compliment with a comment about not giving refunds!
This dance was different as the lady (a perfect description of her) said casually, that she had just six months to live.

The extra line I give is not sufficient to convey the shock of hearing those words. 

Cut to a few weeks ago when the said lady messaged me to invite Fliss and I to a 'Tumor Shrinking Party'  My response was hell yes!
I've still no idea what that means other than to celebrate the moment and every extra moment of life it implies.

As part of our online chat, she informed me that Cheryl, one of my first students back in April 1995, had just passed away. 
This too was a blow.
Cheryl was a natural dancer and as many readers will know, I never subscribe to the 'nature over nurture' debate (it's not in the blood!) and the internal racism it often  expresses. (Google 'internal racism' before you throw any toys out of your pram)

Cheryl didn't just dance, she flowed across the dance floor like an elegant isotope of mercury. Her smile was so warm that when she entered the room I knew it was going to be a good night.
When we danced it was if we had been practicing constantly for years,  intuatively connecting in a way, years later, I would term 'rapport'.
I'm not a close friend and I had no awareness of her illness until very recently but I feel her loss. 
Last Saturday was a celebration of life, which Cheryl's loss made so poignant. It honored my friend, who's tumors have shrunk, and if I'm honest my life: the friends I've made and lost, the people I've taught,  the Latin music I love and the sheer 'J'oi de vive' of dancing in my middle age as I did in my youth.

So what message would I pass down the line?
Dance as if there's no tomorrow and no yesterday, dance for the next heart beat and celebrate the last.
My only regrets are the dances I didn't have, and the people I didn't get to know. 

Reality check: She (my friend) was busy making sure everyone ate. I was concerned I would be too tired for my i2i course the following day. We got to dance one dance: a bachata! She hates bachata as do I but we danced, and chatted, and celabrated life.
The best bachata ever!