“You would give up your career if you lost your voice for good, or if the impresarios stopped calling, or the audiences stopped coming. But as long as those things are there, I don’t plan to stop. There is nothing that makes me feel better than to be with my public.”- Celia Cruz
Yesterday, I was running around trying to get too many things done, in what seemed like not enough time. And then I thought, what am thinking, heading downtown from North Vancouver during rush hour traffic to go see… a movie? Really? The cars were at a standstill and my mind was telling me to turn back and just head home. So I started slowing down but … I missed the first turn, and then couldn’t get myself to take the second for some reason. It was as if something kept nudging me to keep going, even though I had no space to move forward to. But somehow, I actually managed to get over to the Van City Theatre just in time to catch the screening of the Celia Cruz movie that the Vancouver International Salsafestival (VIS) were putting on. And boy, it was so worth the traffic I had to get through to get there.
What an inspiring way to start off the week of the festival. Not only did the screening begin with an amazing promotional video for VIS- recapping some of the highlights of VIS over the past four years- but, I was blown away by the touching details about Cruz’s life and personality that I didn’t know before. Artists of many genres were commenting on the
legacy that Celia left behind.
Celia was described as “pure breath”, “born of rhythm,” and “possessing an energy that you couldn’t help but to be drawn to” by artists such as Quincy Jones, Eddie Torres, musicians connected to the Fania All Stars, and even modern artists such as Pitbull. The way Celia captivated her audiences not just by her music, but also by her persona- her connection to people and her songs of happiness and positivity- shown in the movie, was a great reminder of how one person can have a huge influence on millions of people of all generations.
Thank you VIS for continuing to give Celia an audience long after her life and passing on her legacy not just as an artist but as an inspiring woman in history. This legendary artist lives on in many hearts all over the world, and I know that after what I learned from the movie last night, her music will carry an even deeper meaning to me and all those who came out to watch it and to dance a little before and after the screening!
Looking forward to more fantastic dancing, learning, and unforgettable memories this weekend at VIS!
Check out the site for tickets and schedules and the amazing line up of instructors and performers from all over the globe! You don’t want to miss this. It’s the last one!
I decided to pull out a few of my favourite photos that I took at the Carlos Gardel Show a few years back in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“What makes the dancing different in Argentina, compared to here?” a few people asked me when I got back from my trip. “I mean, tango is tango, right?” they often commented, “Why did you have to go all the way there to dance it?”
The best way I can explain it is to say that yes, tango could be danced anywhere. But it’s not just about the people and the movements and the dance. It’s also the atmosphere that surrounds you when you’re there. I felt as if even the walls in all those high ceilinged, old buildings at the milongas in Buenos Aires whispered secrets built up over so many years and years. And they invite you to listen- to become a part of those generations of secrets oozing through the walls as you stand in those very same spaces where it happened. Dancing, observing others dance, and being intoxicated by the music in the city where it all began, it is hard not to get drawn in. Even outside, despite the litter and pollution, there is something alive in the music on the streets, and faces of the Portenos who pass by (the people born and brought up in Buenos Aires). It’s like a silent acknowledgement that they still carry somewhere with them the energy of their ancestors- that it has never really died. And in fact, tango seems to be what has helped it live on.
It was an amazing feeling, that I think only Buenos Aires, with all its history, passion and depth of stories, could stir up inside us and around us. And all of this gets brought back out through the dancing.
These photos from the Carlos Gardel Show help me to hold onto that feeling in my memory- a memory of how a dance- the Tango- drew me to a city that should have been completely foreign to me. But instead, it made me feel so at home, alive, and inspired. And I still miss it and think of it often, even after all this time.
Check out this beautiful video of Ananda sharing her courage and insights into how dance has helped her become a CONQUERER OF CANCER.
Be sure to watch the end of the video to see the images Ananda creates with her feet, LITERALLY! WOW!
“When a dancer comes onstage, he is not just a blank slate that the choreographer has written on. Behind him he has all the decisions he has made in life… Each time, he has chosen, and in what he is onstage, you see the result of those choices. You are looking at the person he is, and the person who, at this point, he cannot help but be… Exceptional dancers, in my experience, are also exceptional people, people with an attitude toward life, a kind of quest, and an internal quality. They know who they are, and they show this to you, willingly.”
– Mikhail Baryshnikov