Thursday, June 13, 2013

MEETING My Favorite Band

Do you have a favorite artist? The group/person that you hear and you run out and try to buy (or download) every thing they have released?

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I have one. I originally blogged about them two years ago. They are a Timba Latin band and I have been a fan every since I found out they were behind one of my favorite songs. By the time they were rumored to be working on a second album they were being hailed as the hottest/best band to come out of Cuba. They had their first US tour last year but my city was unfortunately not on their itinerary. Cuban bands must have visas to come to the US and sometimes they are not approved so traveling to another city to see them may or may not work out.

I was very happy to see my city on their itinerary this go around.

The sound was great and I have not been star struck before but standing 3 feet from the people who make the music I adore is....priceless! One of my fellow salsa performers is as much of a fan as I am and we booth literally swooned when the band leader (and lead singer) walked on stage. Each member of the band is a brilliant musician in their right and we enjoyed that show from opening note to closing encore.

They had a few special guests (Cuban Conga players and Rumba Dancers) they were flat out absolutely fabu! Even the band members had looks of approval. The night was epic! My inner Salsera is fulfilled for a while.

My only regret on the concert is that the lead singer is also a brilliant trumpeter and I was highly disappointed that he did not play his trumpet during the concert. AT ALL! There was no trumpet stand on stage! That is the equivalent of seeing Prince sing at a concert and him never picking up a guitar. Still a great show but severely lacking the icing on the cake.

No literally, the man is hailed as the best trumpeter coming out of Cuba...and that is not easily done with the music programs there. Check out a solo from a previous performance:

What did make me giddy is actually meeting the man person! He is very gracious and speaks not one word of English. Damn, my Spanish must get better. We surprised him by asking him to sign our folding fans. Folding fans? Yes, those hand fans that are often seen with dancers fanning themselves? I have a few from Cuba and we have beautiful wooden ones that are now autographed by Alexander! (Yes, I stopped by the store and bought a sharpie) In hindsight we should have included the entire band but I was so star struck I forgot. He smiled as I think no one has ever asked him to do that. Maybe he will remember us next time when we ask for the rest of the band to add their signatures.

Such a fantastic night! The only time I have attended a dance night, danced for 2 songs and been totally fulfilled. I must do that again.


Until Next Time,
Peace & Blessings...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The First Time...

I love dance. I love most genres of dance but my attention right now is Cuban-style salsa.

I started to dance salsa about seven years ago when I started to find myself again and was hooked after my first class. I attended a free weekly class taught by a Cuban and his girlfriend and quickly became a member of the unofficial "Cuban Coalition." He has danced all his life and she was raised in ballroom but found salsa as an adult.

As with love I have a love/hate relationship with salsa at times. There were times due to petty drama (yes, even the dance floor has petty drama) that I stopped dancing but I always seem to find my way back to the dance floor. I have performed with Grammy nominated artists and taught classes with my performance group but this week I taught my very first class solo.

My adopted Cuban family spends 2-3 weeks every year visiting family in Cuba and while they are gone, they have someone cover their classes. This week, that someone was yours truly. I had to decide what I would teach during class (many different levels of dancers) and how I would get my "lesson" across to people with so many levels of dance skill. I prepared my music and worked through my nerves to get through class.

I was lucky to have enough people attend that could lead to actually teach what I wanted and we built an entire class that ended with them dancing socially through an entire song (something entirely new to them). We went over technique, finding (and staying) on beat and leading/following technique. Then applied all of those to a series of moves that they can use to dance. It was a great feeling to have people go from looking at me crazy to saying "let's add on more to that!" I had a good time with them and I can only hope they enjoyed it as well.

I did lose one because she "didn't have a partner." Interesting because there were three leads short so neither did the other two ladies but they were patient and we were worked in the rotation. What's the phrase about pleasing all the people all the time? Guess she's part of that 1% but I think she wanted individual attention. Not happening in a free group class. You want one on one, you must pay for THAT experience! I did get some positive feedback after class with people thanking me and saying how much they learned and how much more confidence they have in their dancing.

All in all I feel very good about my first time.

Now I need to up my equipment game. Anyone have a set of these laying around they want to donate to the cause?

Until Next Time,
Peace & Blessings...