Years ago, I was in New York taking a writing course. It had me inspired and excited so much so that when I found out that I could register for another workshop at the same school, I shared the news with my instructor. I told her that I was originally planning to go on a trip to Argentina, but I wanted to stay committed to my writing and to learning so could put off the trip to another time.
She looked at me for a moment and didn’t say anything for a few seconds. Then she said one of the best pieces of advice she received from a former writing teacher herself was, “Don’t become a workshop tramp.”
You can learn a lot from someone just by watching, especially if you learn HOW to observe.
On some nights, when I am out at a dance social or even at a practica, I might not have the energy to dance every song. Sometimes, I am not even sure I have the energy to dance at all. But I try to remind myself that the learning doesn’t just come from what you do, it also comes from what you see.
My initial fascination with dance definitely came from seeing people dancing, seeing the movement, the expression, witnessing the joy and energy that came from dancers who were feeling the music. Yes, their inspiration stemmed from the feeling that came from within them. Something I couldn’t see in a tangible sense. But, it poured out from them through their connection to the floor, to their partner, to their smiles, to their gritty, passionate style and flavor. And THAT- what I saw, was what drew me into wanting to dance. The desire to do what those dancers were doing came out in me because I saw that desire in them.
Where did you learn to dance? And which style of dance did you start with?
I started breakdancing nine years ago in Osaka, Japan. From the first time that I saw the amazing technique put in the dance, I was totally hooked. So, the next day, I went to a dance school to learn and I also practised on the street.
After I came to Canada, I just practised breakdancing first. I didn’t know Hustle at that time. But at some of the events, some of the dancers were doing hustle. I saw it and thought I really wanted to learn to dance it. Everyone looked like they were really enjoying it. So that’s what made me start dancing Hustle. Continue reading →
I am really impressed at how quickly it seems you have picked up tango and to such a high level. Do you feel that there is something about your life before tango which contributed to this?
For as long as I can remember, I was always more of a physical person. I was into basketball and into movement in general. I think if you’re an active person and just more physical in your life in general, you’re used to telling your body to move in certain ways. You’re used to isolating certain parts of your body and just having more body awareness. And this is really important, especially in tango. So perhaps that gave me an ‘advantage’ in terms of learning tango quicker.
And you used to be a bartender before, right? I think bartending is an art in itself. A bartender friend of mine even described her job as a dance on some nights. Do you see any parallels between your life as a bartender and the way you teach or dance now?
I never thought about it before, but probably the social skills I developed while being a bartender helped me with my teaching in some ways. I mean, I was already used to expressing myself around many people, through bartending. I was already dealing with so many different types of personalities on a daily basis and in a very busy environment. And I was used to keeping people entertained with humor and stories, and learning how to read what people wanted. It also got me into the habit of navigating around a room full of people. Continue reading →
“I love the music, the atmosphere, the people, the dancing, and continuously learning and growing through dance. And I have met so many friends through it. The New York salsa scene includes all classes of people, all races, all nationalities, all age groups. It’s great to see that. Even when you go out to eat after having those late nights of partying, you get a table with all these friends and it’s like the United Nations. Everyone’s different – from a different country and a different background. But they all come together because of salsa. That’s really cool.”