Back in 2008 I created a blog at the the Australian Orble Community called THE DANCING BUG.
It was dedicated to writing about dancing and the Dancing scene in Sydney.
The Orble community disappeared suddenly a few years after I started writing, taking all the posts without notice.
One day it simply went offline.
I decided to move everything across to WordPress.
I was able to transfer the text, finding the images (or as close as I could) inside my old files, noting how many votes I had in Orble, the date and time they were published. I wanted to keep as close as I could from the original for historical data.
I’m keeping the new archive inside the category “The Dancing Bug” in my Taniacreations.com website.
This is the new blog, ready to receive my new writing thoughts on dancing as well…
Twice the blog was among the most voted in the whole community, once in 9th place for the day, once in 3rd place for the day:
04 Apr 2013 – 3rd Place – Directly from the Bachata Me Dance Floor
06 Apr 2013 – 9th Place – Directly from the Bachata Me Dance Floor
Here is a print-screen of the final statistics of the blog before it went awol:
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.
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.
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.
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
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… Really?’
‘Well, the nail fell a few times. But it grew back every time.’
‘How many times, specifically?’
‘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. 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?’
‘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.’
Although I have been really busy there are things I cannot miss: Every forró party in Sydney.
I always feel like a child in a candy shop when I see what is happening there. The Sydney Bachata Festival should have some great surprises. I was dancing last weekend and I had a great time dancing zouk.
From some of the dances I had, the only pointer I would give all dancers in any kind of couple dancing is : “it is a couple dance!” That means you have to interact somehow with your partner.
The idea is not to be freakish, staring at each other’s eyes all the time, but you must interract, make eye contact sometimes, be there in spirit, not just in body.
Some tips to enjoy couple dances are:
Be present to the dance, to the moment, enjoy every step.
Respect your partner, dance with them, no-one else on the dance floor.
Don’t dance thinking of whom you will ask to dance next.
Stop analysing the other couples on the dance floor.
Allow some eye contact, every now and then.
If the movement is sexy, flirt lightly, with humour.
Interact with her shines or notice that she is interacting with yours. It will make you both have a lot more fun and will increase your sensuality as a dancer ten times!
If something goes wrong laugh or smile.
Never blame your partner, and take responsibility for your mistakes, always be gracious.
Make sure you never do something over your ability so you don’t hurt yourself or your partner.
Be aware of other people so you don’t bump or step on other couples on the dance floor.
Then, you follow your dreams. I am engaged with mine!
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.