How long have you been playing piano, and what is your preferred genre to play?
I’ve been playing piano now for about 18 years, ever since I was 6. After a few too many times banging on the keys of my grandma’s old upright, she sat me down and began teaching me classically, initially. This built a good technical foundation, but as I got older, I started getting into playing pop music. Eventually, I found my passion in jazz, specifically the old standards and swing!
I find sometimes it can be difficult to follow your artistic passion as an adult, especially with certain societal or cultural pressures to pursue something more “practical.” Did you find those around you encouraging your music pursuits?
Luckily, the stigma against following the arts as a career path doesn’t seem as prominent in my generation. The rise of the entrepreneur/side gigs among millennials has made for a relatively accepting environment for people that are pursing their own path. But I would definitely agree that culture, upbringing, and environment have a heavy impact on people actually pursuing music and the arts as a sole source of income.
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.
I don’t dance salsa as much anymore. My body doesn’t seem to be able to keep up with it as much. Maybe because the movements are often sharper or faster than the zouk and kizomba I’ve been turning to more over the past few years. And those spins. Man those spins. Haha.
But the other night, I was at an event where the kizomba and bachata rooms upstairs hadn’t picked up yet. So I stayed downstairs, giving my first dance- salsa- a shot again. Let’s see how my body takes this after so many years of not doing this.
It’s funny how some things do just come back, because of muscle memory, because of the years of practise in the past. Sure, I stumbled on a few moves, and maybe my reflexes and spins weren’t as quick. But my body kind of found its way through the dance for me, without my having to think about it too much.
And while this was happening, little tips and tricks from all those years of lessons long ago started popping up in my head as well. Spotting, thighs together in spins and turns, safe arm styling choices, pushing off the floor, and even just how to be more efficient overall in the dancing. Continue reading →