The WordPress in my Mind

I write because I do it anyway, even without pen and paper, or without a computer. In my head I write all the time, for everything that happens around me I create an entry in my imaginary post. I even speak as I write sometimes and the thing that would give me the biggest grief would be to be made to stop writing.

I have created stories about what would happen to me if I was made to stop writing or if I didn’t have the means to do it. In which situation would you not have access to writing? And then, what would you do?

I would go insane because when I need writing something, it enters a loop in my head and I repeat the tale over and over in my head — the dialogues or the paragraphs — until I can sit down and ‘download’ them.

If I had no access to a computer, or to pen and paper, I would have to remember everything my experiences are creating I guess my memory would expand and so would my despair.

Improvising & Dancing With the Stars Appearances at SSC 2009

The Sydney Salsa Congress is a place so special the guests feel free and inspired to do great things on stage.

Kim, Alex, Jaime, Zoe & Dave backstage at the Sydney Salsa Congress 2009

Alex & Kim, Dave & Zoe felt inspired to improvise a show together. I thought the seriousness of performing was suddenly lifted from stage and we were seeing things that were not quite possible.

It was a game, with each couple showing off to the other, exchanging partners midair, each of the guys carrying both ladies over their shoulders as if they weighted nothing. You could see the show was more an improvisation than something rehearsed over and over and even though the tricks were ridiculously incredible, I got the feeling as if I was dreaming. 

After the shows I heard Alex saying to Jaime that it was so good, that it was great that the congress gave them the chance to have that much fun on stage, for them to meet as they would never get to meet anywhere else.

You see Dave and Zoe are not Salsa dancers and Alex and Kim are, normally they wouldn’t know about each others’ existence and here they were, showing us what “amazing” really is. 

Johnny Vasquez is always a party just by himself.

It’s a bit of a hazard to give him the Microphone, he looooves to talk. But he does well and from his hello to his singing and dancing you smile and laugh the whole time. He sang and danced on Saturday and Sunday and on the closing of the congress he made us sing my favourite salsa song, Baila Rumbero, it was the first time I saw the artists applauding the crowd.

Then he and Ramon Morales danced for a few bars with each other, and those moments are branded in my memory.

The words that came to my mind seeing them dancing were: “Puro Sangue” as in “Pure Blood” not trying to offend anyone that is not a born Latino, it’s just that those two were probably dancing in the womb.

Their genes must have been turning around each other in spins not spirals!

The sperm that made each of them was swimming and singing:

‘baila, baila, one, two, three; five, six, seven… Now on2!’ As they were swimming up towards the egg.

We have even drawn some famous TV figures to the crowd; that is because we have them on stage…

Luda Kroitor was performing with Oliver Pineda, five times Salsa World Champions so her TV partner and winner, Luke Jacobz, from Dancing With the Stars, (reality TV Show) came to watch her shine at The Sydney Salsa Congress. 

Charlie Delaney was also watching her Dancing with the Stars partner, Csaba Szirmai who was performing with Vali Damaskou. They were very graceful and smiling guests.

19 Orble Votes

Dance of Life

The other day my friend saved my life when she compared my job with a partnered dance.

‘Imagine your boss is your dance partner, and for the time being he is the leader. While the music is playing your best chance of enjoyment is relaxing into that leadership and following.’

It is very easy to follow a great leader.

But if the guy is a bad dancer, you may be in for a challenge.

You may have to step with him rather than with the rhythm of the music, endure his silly pa‐pa‐pa singing completely out of tune with the song; stop when you should move, turn to the other side, be kind to yourself when you make many mistakes and step on other peoples’ feet and, most of all, understand you will have your limits and sometimes you will say ‘NO, I won’t dip as you want because I feel that I am going to fall’.

Sometimes working is exactly like that. The best thing to do is relax as much as you can, follow the leader while the music is on, or until you reach your limit, find something to enjoy about that moment, and try not to get stuck in the sense that you should be doing something else (like sticking to the rhythm of the music).

Thinking about this, I have come to the realisation that this advice is valid for life in general.

You won’t have amazing dance partners every day, actually most of the time you will be thrown into the strange dances of the day to day life, with the girl who is preparing your coffee, the life partner, the children, the employers and the employees, and if you relax into the leadership of fate or reality, you will have a better time than resisting the movements of life.

When you resist the bad dancer, you end up in a war… it’s not worth it.

18 Orble Votes

Directly from the Bachata-Me Dancefloor

It has been a while, since I danced and even longer since I posted a Dancing Bug piece.

I’m excited about both. I’m here at City Tattersals waiting for the Bachata Month to start.

With the first party to mark the official countdown to the Sydney International Bachata Festival

The deliciously tacky bachata music is one-two-three-fouring louder and louder.

“Te aaaamooo” sings the song.

The first couples are venturing onto the dance floor and I’m on the sideline typing as quickly as I too, can be free to Bachata the night away.

There is some excitement, the feeling that reminds me of a time when I was starting to venture into the Latin dancing world. Finding my dancing feet, my heels’ balance, recovering my life’s passion for dancing. And for the first time learning that dance can encompass sensuality too. Discovering the perfection of moving in unison with a partner…

I hope this is a special night. I’ll will pray to the Goddess of Dance & Fun that a lot of guys ask me to dance, and at least one dance tonight is one of those that go into my own personal hall of fame, those that fill your mind and you keep dancing for years hoping for another one like that.

27 Orble Votes

Bachateros’ Happiness

It is with great pleasure that announce to all bachateros that don’t know yet: we will have a Bachata room at the Parties of the Sydney Latin Festival 2012!

I’m already dreaming of getting into a room and not waiting for the next Bachata, of knowing everyone there has only one thing in their minds.

For the non‐dancers it will be as if I’ve gone mad and I’m talking exaggerations and non‐sense. To the ones who, like me, are frequently in the Salsa rooms, with their eyes closed, hands together, and murmuring a prayer every time a music is ending: we are saved!

Our prayers of “bachata, bachata, bachata” will be answered without fail on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights!

The Brazilian room (Zouk and Samba) and Salsa rooms will be faithfully there, but the novelty is making me go wild!
To complete our happiness Tony Lara is back! 

To all Latin Dancers, The Sydney Latin Festival is an experience that should not be missed.

From 2 to 5 Feb 2012, at the State Sports Centre, Olympic Park, Sydney, Australia

I’ll see you there!

18 Orble Votes

The Ballet Dancer’s Toe

Thirty‐three, thirty‐four, thirty‐five, thirty‐six… and she fell to the floor.

After thirty‐six fouettes, pain reached a new level, way beyond unbearable. Unbearable she could take any day of the week. To be a ballet dancer was never knowing absence of pain. This time it was different.

She would do whatever it took. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this. Finally she went to the doctor.

‘Couldn’t I just cut it out?’

The doctor looks at her with startled eyes. He seems to need some recovering before coming back to her.

‘You could. I wouldn’t do it though; I don’t think you would like the consequences.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘In fact, you would have to change your whole life to be without your big toe.

It is essential for your balance. Possibly you would no longer be able to continue to be a ballet dancer. Possibly another type of dancer, maybe. I dare to think you cannot do these ballet point shoes without it.

You could be the first in the world to do it, still a huge challenge.

Even walking won’t be the same.

Your identity will be changed, there will be a discovery will have to be made on “who am I without my toe?”’

She thinks furiously.

‘But why!? Why is it doing this to me? I just want to get on with my life!’ She exclaims.

‘I understand your frustration’ The doctor replies.

‘What I’ll ask you instead is what have you been doing to it, to make it so angry at you?’

‘Just dancing!’

‘Just dancing… Really?’

‘Well, the nail fell a few times. But it grew back every time.’

‘How many times, specifically?’

‘Four .’

‘Four. You lost your toe’s nail four times and didn’t think your toe needed some attention, some better care?’

‘No, it’s how toes are.’

‘No, they are not!’

‘I mean, ballet dancers’ toes are.’

‘Are they? All your ballet friends are at the doctor, right now, considering chopping their toes off?’

‘No. Just some of them… some stop dancing too because of the pain and the points.’

‘Ok. So what do the others do differently?’

‘They have such ridiculous patience! They bind their toes in bandages before each class, toe by toe. Then they clean them after each class and re‐do the process. It takes a long time.’

‘Hummm’ is his only comment. She continues:

‘And they’ve bought gel protectors to put inside the shoes, my teacher said it is for the weak, not for real dancers.’

‘Do you think that protecting yourself and your health is a weakness? That your teacher is thinking straight here?’

‘I’m strong! And I don’t have time for this ridiculous caring of small toes!’

‘Or patience?’

‘Or patience. I have more to do.’

‘When you don’t have time for your body, your body obligates you to create it. Your toe has been showing you something is not right. That it needs better care, that something has to change. Right now, it doesn’t feel safe. It feels like you will chop it off at the first chance you’ve got. So it is giving you pain. It is on defensive mode fighting for its own existence.’

‘What do I do?’

‘When you got here you told me you are willing to do whatever it took.’


‘Would you, even, be willing to let it go, the idea of cutting the toe off?’

‘Maybe, yes.’

‘Then, I won’t cut it off. I won’t do it because it would be irresponsible of me.

It would be the quickest and apparent easiest solution.

But the consequences could be life shattering. So I ask again: whatever it takes?’

‘Yes.’ She agrees, But she pouts.

‘You will have to be good to yourself. Not only to your toe. Stop the punishment. No dancing for a month, at the very list.’

‘A MONTH???! NO WAY! I have a performance and…’

He cuts her off. ‘A month. Yes. That is what it takes. Forfeit the performance. Then do everything differently. Eat carbs. Do yoga – with no shoes. Meditate. Build patience in every way you can. Challenge yourself in the areas you don’t do it as a dancer: being calm, being happy. Eat something for goodness sake! And then, take care of your toe, every day,

Four times a day. Change the bandages and clean it thoroughly as I’ll show you in a minute.

Soak it every time in hot water, “feed it” the right medicine I’m prescribing.

Also you will have to wake up every night, put an alarm for midnight, and repeat the process.’

‘Waking up? You are kidding me aren’t you?’

‘No, I’m not kidding. This is what it takes, and by the way, this is real sacrifice, pain for the greater good, not inflicting yourself unbearable pain over and over again purposelessly.’

She rests silently. The doctor continues…

‘The nail will fall again and, if you do it right, will regenerate once more. There will be pain, but the pain will diminish every day. By the end of the month you can go slowly back to dancing.’

‘Yey!’ She exclaims in a very small voice with false excitement.

‘I feel I have to tell you one more thing.’


‘You may find out you don’t want to continue being what you were until now.’

‘That is what scares me the most…’

‘I know Sweetie, I know…’

22 Orble Votes

Zouk in Rio

On top of Sugar Loaf in Rio de Janeiro / Dancing with the Statue in Copacabana Beach in Rio 

I have been in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I went dancing two nights in a row and it was a blast!

I was a bit anxious as Rio is the land of Zouk, the land of Jaime Aroxa, Carlinhos de Jesus, Alex da Silva, among so many other great dancers. 

I have to thank LDA and say that my technical level was quite good compared to the other dancers on the floor, I was at least on the same general level.

In fact, I was asked to dance non‐stop during the whole night and thankfully almost every partner said good things about my dancing and danced with me more than one song. 

The first night was a mix with Salsa, Forró, Soltinho, Gafieira, Zouk and Samba‐Rock. The salsa level was not as high as in Australia, so my intermediate was enough to have fun.

Soltinho is a sort of Cha‐Cha danced with rock music, very entertaining. I watched and said: ‘I can do this.’ So when asked for a dance, I just did.

At the end of the night, I decided to go home as I was about to puke on my fellow dancers. I did so many spins, hair flicks, dips, and moves that my balance was gone. When I looked at my partner and started seeing two of them with about three hands up, it was time to go.

The second night was amazing, zouk only. I almost killed myself dancing, or was killed… I’m not sure. Both nights I saw people watching me dancing, but I only danced with great dancers, so they were watching the couple, not me specifically.

The great news is that I didn’t have to ask anyone to dance with me! It is such a great feeling to actually be asked to dance… over and over again!

The technical level of the followers were about equivalent to our Australian zouk ladies (including students) but the Brazilians do have a natural “ginga” (specially people with African ascendence). Ginga is what we call the natural ability to dance and swing the hips.

The leaders were above the level I experience generally in Australia, not exactly in terms of steps they know, but more on the capability of leading.

That is because the dancing crowd is probably larger. Leaders are used to leading people they do not do classes with, and therefore do not know what they are trying to do.

The result is the creation of excellent leaders. They do not lead too many dips and tricks, just the perfect balance, and they use the music excellently. 

Seriously I felt like I was in heaven! The other great thing is that no‐one dance with you only one song. Usually they dance at least two, often 3, 4 or 5!!! So you have time to get used to the person’s style and leading and it is extremely enjoyable.

This is an idea that at least in salsa, we should adopt in Australian dance floors, it is a simple idea and it makes the world of difference in the feeling of the dancing. 

It was funny to see a few faces I knew from Australia and meet a few other teachers and instructors that visited our Aussie congresses.

The night was unforgettable and I only stopped once I could not put my feet down on the floor anymore.

122 Orble Votes

To be Brave Enough to Write…

and more incomprehensible Australia…

Here I turn to the “masters” and to me they are the writers of this genre, this style of writing about day to day, making fun of day to day incongruous occurences, back in Brazil: Mario Prata (my personal master), Luiz Fernando Veríssimo, Arnaldo Jabor, among so many others.

From them I take the strength and the courage to say what I think: in capital letters and a large font.

After all, we would all be doomed without courage. Mario Prata would never have released a book about a pimp and his prostitutes, would he? Anjos de Badaró is a great book!

And the daily columns in many newspapers and media would be doomed to monotony, to what is agreeable to all and absolutely no fun!

I say all this because I was criticised for my last article {link}, because there are parts of Australia I find amusing. I will confess all I wanted to do was to hide and cry.

Instead, here I am again, smiling and all.

To prove my love for my Aussie Land here I will write a few new incomprehensible details. 

Good details, but still incomprehensible!

The ridiculously organised crowds: New Years Eve in Sydney is a good example. There is no shoving, no screaming, no mess. The people bring the sleeping kids in arms and prams, and they manage to be 1 millimetre away from you without touching anything. When the inevitable happens everyone always say sorry.

The signs in car parks in shopping centres that advise you to “lock your car” were one of the first things to get my attention when I first arrived here. 

It crossed my mind simply: how come you have to remind people to lock their cars in the car park? We would never consider otherwise back home.

The buses’ timetables: I would be dumb stricken to see written that the bus arrives at exactly 10:17. All I could think was: impressive! 

I know it is not totally perfect but just by having a time table that states time like 9:23; 10:17; 11:54 is a serious indication of what we can expect: precision. In my homeland I would go to the bus stop and someone would simply say it all in a few words: the bus comes around once per hour. The acceptable margin of error would be one: one hour more or less. 

No doubt one of the best nonsenses I have ever experienced was to be given money back from taxes by the Australian government. Only if you come from a land where a lot of corruption happens you would truly appreciate what this means. I would never believe it possible if I hadn’t seen it in my account myself. 

I can now criticise Brazil with confidence, because saying you don’t like a part doesn’t mean you do not love the whole. I love the Brazil I carry with me, I’m proud of being Brazilian and having been born there. I love Australia, the new home. I have worked hard to be its proud citizen, even if I do not like Vegemite!

98 Orble Votes

Temporary Insanity

Junaid at his competition, with four layers of spray tan and all / Junaid and his Coach in his normal state performing at LDA Ball

When asked why he did it he told us: ‘I was fat and ugly’. These were his words, not mine. I’m pretty sure his mom would strongly disagree.

The fact is that my dance partner and friend Junaid decided to go for a Body Building contest… with all that comes with the package.

It is like when you look a pair of jeans with diamond buttons. It is so unachievable you simply don’t consider it seriously. When people like me, reasonably fit, with a few love handles, my honest share of cellulites and a normal body see a body builder we think “oh cool” and move the conversation to the next topic.

We see what is there but we have no idea of the lunacy behind.

I’m talking here about the competitions with no drugs. Just powders. At least that was what I saw my partner eating in all rehearsals: some powder with water, broccoli and chicken. The kind of actions they take are totally insane, If you want to know details and timetables or the processes get a trainer, here I’m just going to highlight a few of the crazy stuff I witnessed and that he told me about.

Most of it, he told a bunch of friends and me around a table, eating cake, after the competition.

First, I think the whole process takes around 7 months.

That means seven months of very hard work and some kind of crazy diet.

At the beginning there was weight to gain so every time I looked at him, he was eating. We didn’t see each other frequently, only at rehearsals, but even then, if we had 5 min of break, he had to get one of his powdery shakes, eat something from a container before and after the rehearsal.

He had to train everyday, Train is lifting heavy weights for more than an hour if I’m not mistaken. It got worse as the time went by.

Near the competition he was training twice a day on weekends. Hours and hours mornings and nights. Why? I have no idea!

After he gained weight and muscles for a few months, he then had to loose weight again. It was time to start a new diet. No sugar, and no oil at all, no fruits, what I would certainly classify as “no life”.

Our rehearsals suffered a bit, he was all the time hungry and tired. But I had to excuse him, if I was doing what he was I would have either died or killed someone by then.

I imagine a dialogue:

‘Who did she kill?’

‘Some guy on the street’


‘For a bar of chocolate.’


‘The guy refused to give her the chocolate and was doomed!’

And if I was doing what they called dead‐lifting 190kg, I would certainly have had the power to kill someone for the chocolate!

At a certain part of the journey, they give up eating any sodium. It means salt. For a Brazilian like me that would be it. After months of training that would have made me give up for sure. If not that, it would be the water business.

There is a phase they have to drink 10 litters of water per day. Junaid told me that one of his friends was found by his girlfriend sleeping seated at the toilet so he wouldn’t have to wake every twenty minutes bursting to go.

‘How did you deal with the cravings?’ I asked my dance partner.

‘I made a list. An enormous list! Every time I had a craving I put it down on the list to eat after the competition. I got a few things crossed from the list today: cake, cheese, more cake, chocolate, more cake, cheese, ham and of course, more cake.’ He told me the at the brunch we organised for him after the competition.

One of his fellows competitors said the only thing he never craves is ice cream, because he was a recurrent body builder and after one of the competitions he devoured a bucket of four litters of ice cream and could never see the stuff again.

To do something this extreme you have to really embrace it. I’m not very good of hiding what I think so during the talk I ended up confessing that I think that underwear they use are simply atrocious.

He said he knew and since he was embracing the thing he ended up buying 3! The 3 colours they had and spent the next half hour showing us his pictures of him with the blue, the red and the black. He also had to tell us which one he was on the pictures.

You see, they go through four layers of spray tan plus something that is called slap tan and spray on cooking oil. This means you cannot recognise anyone unless you are a dentist and recognise the teeth. They are all so coloured they are completely different from their regular state. 

He told me also that during the spray tan, being his first time, he used the thong back to front or something like that. The girl at the tanning saloon found it very funny. I didn’t get the picture and certainly didn’t ask for more details! 

‘What is this slap tan?’ I asked, curious with the strange name.
‘That is how I call it. It is something that only is absorbed by the skin if it is applied with slaps. That means my friend had a hell of a time slapping me with no retribution from my part.’


From all this, my loony dance partner said he believes he can do anything he wants, anything at all. I bet he can. If all this is not a case of temporary insanity, I don’t know what it is!

Junaid in his normal state performing at LDA Ball

113 Orble Votes

Wizard’s Zouk

Ana, Johnny, Tania at Sydney Bachata Festival 2009

One of the highlights of my Sydney International Bachata Festival 2009 was actually a pair of Zouk dances. You would think that I was dancing with Kadu or one of the best zoukers in the house, with a brilliant song and full space to turn, twist and dip, hum?

Well no. With no disrespect, he was one of the worst zoukers in the house. I don’t mean to offend him; it was simply that he wasn’t a zouker at all. He doesn’t dance zouk yet and his intention was to learn there, right in the middle of the Bachata Festival.

The best way to describe Johnny is to say he is the “I‐don’t‐care‐Johnny”. It means he dances like the world is going to end, not tomorrow, but right at the very next minute. He is a great dancer of salsa and bachata, an honest bachata lover, and has been nagging me since last year’s Brisbane festival to teach him zouk.

I was watching people dance when Johnny got me to teach him the basics. I cannot do the leading part for the sake of my life… Imagine teaching it! As a teacher I am an excellent pastry chef, which means: I have no clue.

But we kept trying; enlisting the help of a few leaders on the queue to get drinks. We were dancing on the carpet in front of the bar and we managed to get the basic-step and the eight-step. That was it, and such a victory! We had fun, laughing and trying.

He is a good learner and got the gist of it quickly, with a good body movement and no shame at all, we kept dancing a few zouks in the corridors.

Zouk is one of those styles where well done basics are more than enough… On top of dancing in the middle of people’s way (whole songs of basics) we started doing something else… I call it in my mind “the wizard dancing”.

We broke apart and started dancing one in front of the other and he started guiding me with hands and body movements, no touching. I just started following and it was a new and thrilling experience. It felt like sorcery, an enchanting time…

99 Orble Votes