Artist profile – Romeo Santos

Romeo Santos is a well-known bachata star whose latest single is currently rocking the number one spot of the US Latin top 50 billboard. He is one of the major players credited for transforming bachata from traditional folk music into the popular urban genre that it is known as today.

Like many of today’s popular Latin artists, Romeo Santos was born in the Bronx of New York City to Latino immigrant parents. Romeo was exposed to music at a young age, and started exploring his vocal talents by joining a local church choir at the age of 13.

With a number of his friends, Romeo formed a singing group called Los Teenagers, which quickly gained popularity with local youths. This eventually led to a record deal in 1999, where Los Teenagers changed their name to Grupo Aventura.

Aventura – Obsesion

Aventura was well known for challenging and redefining the bachata genre by injecting hip hop into the traditional bachata styling, and transforming the genre into mainstream Latin music. As Aventura’s lead singer, Romeo played a major role in the group’s success.

In 2011, Romeo decided to go solo. Using Aventura’s popularity as a springboard, his debut album, Formula Vol. 1 quickly became one of the most popular Latin albums of the 2011 as well as 2012.

Romeo Santos – You

His latest single, Propuesta Indecente, part of his upcoming album, Formula, Vol. 2, is enjoying the same high level of success. Romeo continues to blend in multiple genres, this time introducing a tango element; adding a note of drama and tease into the music.

Romeo Santos – Propuesta Indecente

Are you loving Romeo Santos’s new stuff, or should he never have left Aventura?
Let us know in the comments!

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Our most requested workshops! Plus events, fundraisers, and shoe shopping

Azucar! News – Week of November 18

Reverse-engineering workshop
Have you ever tried to learn a move from a dance video, but you just can’t seem to make it work on the dance floor? We’re here to help! This workshop is all about taking those fancy moves, reverse-engineering them, and adapting them to your style. To find out more and suggest a video, visit our Facebook event page!

Azucar! Student Outing – November 22
Put on your shoes because we’re taking you out dancing! We’re starting with a drink at Sir John A Pub, at 6:30pm. Then, at 8pm, Jeff and Ana are teaching a beginner-friendly salsa workshop at Rahim’s Latin Friday. To RSVP and get more details, join our Facebook event!

We’re going shoe-shopping on November 23rd!
Every few months, we take a road trip to DanceMasters in Manotick to give you guys a chance to try on some of the best dance shoes around. We meet at the Azucar! Studio at 2:15pm and carpool to Manotick and back. Please RSVP on the Facebook event page!


Salsaria: Fundraiser to the Philippines – November 23rd!
Come out for a great night of dancing, for a great cause! All proceeds will go to the Canadian Red Cross Relief Efforts for Typhoon Haiyan. Join the event here.


Role-reversal workshop
They say, ‘don’t judge anyone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes’ – and that’s what this workshop is all about! We won’t make you switch shoes, but we will give you a chance to reverse roles – ladies will learn to lead, and guys will become followers. Join us here.

MSC

We’re organizing a school trip to next year’s Montreal congress! If you haven’t checked out a salsa congress before, we highly encourage you to go. Get your tickets, and email us at info@azucarottawa.com to let us know, so we can include you in our Montreal Salsa Convention mailing list!

Connect with us!
On Twitter: @AzucarOttawa
On Instagram: @AzucarOttawa
On Facebook: /AzucarOttawa

smakk logoAzúcar! gift cards available on SMAKK.ca!
Give your loved ones the gift of dance – send them an Azúcar! gift card from SMAKK.ca. Click, order, and have the card send directly to them, electronically or by mail!

Salsa a la carte Banner
This week’s events
For a list of other socials happening this week, check out Salsa à la carte.

Surviving Fast Songs

by Jeff Huang

We’ve all been there before – sitting on the side of the dance floor, waiting for a good song, and secretly cursing the DJ for playing nothing but crazy-fast salsa.

Even worse is when a song starts out slow, lulls you into grabbing a partner, then subtly (or… not so subtly, maybe about 1 minute and 20 seconds in?) turning into another salsa sprint. Surprise! You are now trapped in a fast song! What do you do?

Fast Song Survival Tips:

Small steps
You’ve heard it in class a million times: the faster the music, the smaller the move. The key here is to eliminate unnecessary motion and be more efficient. Taking small steps will make you look sharper, react faster, and make it look less like you are having a cardiac arrest on the dance floor.

Be aware of your surroundings
In science class, we all learned that when molecules are heated, they become more volatile and more prone to colliding with one another. Fast songs do the same thing to dancers. As people start to move faster, the chance of bumping into each other also increases. Now would be a good time to take a close look at your surroundings, and make sure that you have enough space to safely lead your partner. If you can, try maneuvering yourself and your partner towards the sides of the dance floor, where there are fewer obstacles to look out for.

Stick to moves you can do in your sleep
Avoid using challenging patterns, or patterns you are still working on. Slow songs are more forgiving of imperfect leads, whereas rushing a lead you’re not comfortable with may end up hurting your partner. Stick with simple moves that you can execute well. Maintain a solid and clear lead, and your partner will thank you.

Be playful
A faster song does not mean the end of having fun. In fact, fast songs are often charged with emotion, and as dancers, we should embrace and interpret it accordingly. Try playing with more styling – move your shoulders, roll your hips, do a few body waves. In fact, try to take this opportunity to let your partner go and shine!

ADVANCED OPTION – Switch to dancing on 2
For those familiar with dancing on 2, what you may not know is that it actually has a small advantage over on 1 when dancing to faster songs. When you break down a lady’s single right turn beat by beat, you’ll find that the lady will have an extra beat to execute her turns! This adds an extra dimension to how you are able to handle faster music, because you have additional time to prep the moves. You can find a more detailed comparison between on1 and on2 courtesy of our friends at Addicted2Salsa.

Exciting events, student outings and special workshops

Azucar! News – Week of November 11

Our second round of Fall 2013 classes started last week, and we’re so thrilled to have all of our new students in the studio! There’s still time to join our new Salsa, Afro-Urban and Samba Reggae lessons, so check out our class schedule and email us at info@azucarottawa.com to register!

We also have a lot of exciting events, outings and special workshops coming up this month, so read on!


Come join Azucar! at SMAKK-a-FAIR!
This Friday, come on out for an interactive market featuring local businesses part of SMAKK, including our school! Try a salsa workshop, partake in the creation of a painted piece of furniture, discover how to make jewellery out of bicycle inner tubes, shop for the Holidays, listen to live music, enjoy Art-is-in Bakery‘s fabulous food and much more. Join us here!


Reverse-engineering workshop

Have you ever tried to learn a move from a dance video, but you just can’t seem to make it work on the dance floor? We’re here to help! This workshop is all about taking those fancy moves, reverse-engineering them, and adapting them to your style. To find out more and suggest a video, visit our Facebook event page!

Azucar! Student Outing – November 22
Put on your shoes because we’re taking you out dancing! We’re starting with a drink at Sir John A Pub, at 6:30pm. Then, at 8pm, Jeff and Ana are teaching a beginner-friendly salsa workshop at Rahim’s Latin Friday. To RSVP and get more details, join our Facebook event!

We’re going shoe-shopping on November 23rd!
Every few months, we take a road trip to DanceMasters in Manotick to give you guys a chance to try on some of the best dance shoes around. We meet at the Azucar! Studio at 2:15pm and carpool to Manotick and back. Please RSVP on the Facebook event page!

MSC

We’re organizing a school trip to next year’s Montreal congress! If you haven’t checked out a salsa congress before, we highly encourage you to go. Get your tickets, and email us at info@azucarottawa.com to let us know, so we can include you in our Montreal Salsa Convention mailing list!

Connect with us!
On Twitter: @AzucarOttawa
On Instagram: @AzucarOttawa
On Facebook: /AzucarOttawa

smakk logoAzúcar! gift cards available on SMAKK.ca!
Give your loved ones the gift of dance – send them an Azúcar! gift card from SMAKK.ca. Click, order, and have the card send directly to them, electronically or by mail!

Salsa a la carte Banner
This week’s events
For a list of other socials happening this week, check out Salsa à la carte.

New classes start this week!

Azucar! News – Week of November 4

New classes start today!
A new session of our Intro to Salsa classes starts this week, as well as new 7-week sessions of Natalie Gelman’s Afro Urban and Samba Reggae classes. Class times are as follows:

  • Intro to Salsa A: Wednesdays, 6:30 to 7:30pm and Saturdays, 11am to noon
  • Intro to Salsa B: Mondays, 6pm to 7pm and Saturdays, noon to 1pm
  • Afro-Urban: Thursdays, 6pm to 7pm
  • Samba Reggae: Thursdays, 7pm to 8pm

To register for any of these classes, email us at info@azucarottawa.com or come by for your first class!


Rahim’s 6th Anniversary this Friday!

For the past 6 years, Rahim’s Latin Fridays has been our favourite Friday night salsa party. Please join us to celebrate their 6th anniversary this Friday night!


Come join Azucar! at SMAKK-a-FAIR!
Next Friday, come on out for an interactive market featuring local businesses part of SMAKK, including our school! Try a salsa workshop, partake in the creation of a painted piece of furniture, discover how to make jewellery out of bicycle inner tubes, shop for the Holidays, listen to live music, enjoy Art-is-in Bakery‘s fabulous food and much more.

What are your thoughts on children’s/teens’ classes?
So far, we only offer adult classes, but we have had a few requests for kids’ or teens’ classes. If you know or have children or teens who might be interested in dance classes, we want to hear from you! Tell us: what class would they be most interested in, and for what age group? Leave a comment, or email us at info@azucarottawa.com.

MSC

We’re organizing a school trip to next year’s Montreal congress! If you haven’t checked out a salsa congress before, we highly encourage you to go. Get your tickets, and email us at info@azucarottawa.com to let us know, so we can include you in our Montreal Salsa Convention mailing list!

Connect with us!
On Twitter: @AzucarOttawa
On Instagram: @AzucarOttawa
On Facebook: /AzucarOttawa

smakk logoAzúcar! gift cards available on SMAKK.ca!
Give your loved ones the gift of dance – send them an Azúcar! gift card from SMAKK.ca. Click, order, and have the card send directly to them, electronically or by mail!

This week’s events
For a list of other socials happening this week, check out Salsa à la carte.

Beware of pattern monkeys, and avoid becoming one!

by Jeff Huang

If you’ve been to at least one of my classes, you’ve probably heard me say that dancing is all about communication with your partner. After all, the reason dancing exists is to help people socialize, to entertain, and to foster self-expression.

Unfortunately, there is a particular niche of dancers labeled “pattern monkeys”, whose sole purpose on the dance floor is to execute/follow combinations after combinations, moves after moves; never blinking, never smiling, almost as if he or she has reached a deep zen state of other-worldly detachment. These are what most dancers’ worst nightmares are made of, and a chance encounter with one could turn a healthy, well-adjusted person into a broken pile of self-doubt and regret before the song is half over.

*deep breath* Alright, full disclosure: I was once *gasp* a pattern monkey. I was often so deeply entranced in making a particular combination work that I completely forgot that there is another human being in front of me. In the meantime, my partners (including Ana) were wondering where I have been for the last five minutes, and why in the world are they dancing with me, when I’m not really dancing with them. It has been a traumatizing experience, but after multiple interventions (read: getting yelled at by people), and confrontations (read: getting yelled at loudly by people), I’ve finally come out the other side of the tunnel. Never again!

So how do we avoid becoming slaves to our patterns? Here are some of my suggestions, from a guy’s perspective:
  1. Do not treat your partner as a mere dummy to try moves on – you are, in fact, dancing with another human being. This is VERY important, it means that you should pay attention to your partner and observe what she is doing. Is she enjoying the dance? Is she having trouble following you? Is she even paying attention to you? By establishing a connection with your partner, you’ve just made the first big step towards making the dance enjoyable.
  2. Adjust your lead – every dance partner is different, like a beautiful and unique snowflake *cough*, whether it be height, size, arm length, or dance experience. Make sure that your partner is comfortable following the more basic moves before you start throwing around advanced patterns and combinations! Remember, in the majority of cases, if the pattern does not work, the lead is to blame.
  3. Be musical – no matter no many fancy patterns you are able to throw around, if you don’t express them with music, you are not dancing well. A good lead is able to identify what the music is trying to say (romantic? fun? cheeky?) and dance accordingly. If the music is fast and exciting, don’t start leading long and complex moves because you’ll pretzel your partner; instead, stick to simple turns and cross-body leads, do some shines and goof off. If the music is slow and sensual, be bold, jump into the hard stuff and impress her with the depth of your repertoire.
I guess it all comes down to this – dancing is never just patterns; it’s about enjoying the music, and each other’s company! So the next time you’re out dancing, take a look at what your partner is up to, and don’t forget to smile!

Open House, new classes, and your opinion!

Azucar! News – Week of October 28

Azucar! Open House – this Saturday!
We’re half way though our Fall 2013 session, which means a new 7-week class session starts next week! To start it off in style, we’re offering FREE Salsa, Afro-Urban and Samba Reggae workshops this Saturday, November 2nd, to give you a taste of these new classes. Find all the details on our Facebook event page.

New classes start next week!
A new session of our Intro to Salsa classes starts next week, as well as new 7-week sessions of Natalie Gelman’s Afro Urban and Samba Reggae classes. Class times will be as follows:

  • Intro to Salsa A: Wednesdays, 6:30 to 7:30pm and Saturdays, 11am to noon
  • Intro to Salsa B: Mondays, 6pm to 7pm and Saturdays, noon to 1pm
  • Afro-Urban: Thursdays, 6pm to 7pm
  • Samba Reggae: Thursdays, 7pm to 8pm

To register for any of these classes, email us at info@azucarottawa.com or come by for your first class!

What are your thoughts on children’s/teens’ classes?
So far, we only offer adult classes, but we have had a few requests for kids’ or teens’ classes. If you know or have children or teens who might be interested in dance classes, we want to hear from you! Tell us: what class would they be most interested in, and for what age group? Leave a comment, or email us at info@azucarottawa.com.

MSC

We’re organizing a school trip to next year’s Montreal congress! If you haven’t checked out a salsa congress before, we highly encourage you to go. Get your tickets, and email us at info@azucarottawa.com to let us know, so we can include you in our Montreal Salsa Convention mailing list!

Connect with us!
On Twitter: @AzucarOttawa
On Instagram: @AzucarOttawa
On Facebook: /AzucarOttawa

smakk logoAzúcar! gift cards available on SMAKK.ca!
Give your loved ones the gift of dance – send them an Azúcar! gift card from SMAKK.ca. Click, order, and have the card send directly to them, electronically or by mail!

This week’s events
For a list of other socials happening this week, check out Salsa à la carte.