1) Why is Salsa on Sat no longer for 2 hours?
For Nov 14 we organized 2 hours of Salsa as the previous Thursday Salsa slot was filled up within 24hrs and many were on wait list. Going forward, we would like to give our Bachata students at The Studio an equal opportunity and platform to practice.
Since we are still in Phase 2, we had to put our dedicated socials like High on Bachata and Salsa focused events on hold. Although many may take our Practicas as a regular social, it is meant to be a Practica (with limited slots) – a practice session to encourage our lower-level students to join for practice and grow the community. This is why you need to sign up with a partner, and we have an instructor/asst instructor on standby to assist. So if you already graduated Level 1, we want to see you come by and practice!
However, we do understand that for more advance dancers that 1hr may be too short. We will look into extending Practica sessions or do focused practicas.
2) Why do we play more Cuban Son/contratiempo music at Practicas?
- Since these sessions are Practicas, Cuban Son are usually slower songs that lower-level dancers can dance and practice their patterns. You can still dance a tiempo/on 1 to these songs. Slow songs can be challenging to dance, as it requires lots of control in your movement so it is good for more advance dancers to practice to as well.
- You can dance the way you like and feel (One can even dance contratiempo or on clave to salsa music)
Going forward, we will do more variety and interesting mix for our more advanced dancers who want to practice their Rumba & Afro!
PS: A long time back we organized Cuban Son workshops. However the turn out was lukewarm. Your feedback gave us an idea that we should organize a workshop again!
3) Will there be a 100% Cuban party?
We did that a few times in the past, the last one was some years back at the previous studio, and they were not so well received - we barely filled half the room. We also did a collaboration with another DJ at Limehouse before, but since then, we did not try again since we have more participants at our Salsa events. For our Salsa events, we will always aim to play a variety of Salsa genres.
We do have plans to do Cuban Parties if there is a good demand from dancers.
My personal journey & experience in short
When I started dancing in 2011, there were a handful or less dancing Cuban style socially. You would also not hear Cuban music as the Latin bands in Cuba Libre back then, and the now-defunct Union Square (a salsa club) were made up of mainly Colombians, and rarely I would hear DJs play Cuban songs. The bands would play songs from Willy Colon, Oscar D'Leon, Joe Arroyo, El Gran Combo, Hector Lavoe, Fania all stars etc.
An Argentinian dancer I met, who learned Cuban Salsa from overseas, started a Cuban Salsa Workshop, and I attended. His name was Francisco (Paco), and he started Salsa Cubana Singapore in 2012. To make the story short, I became his teaching partner until he left Sg in 2014, and here we are today. When Paco was occasionally invited to be the DJ at Union Square and played Cuban music, I would sometimes hear comments from dancers. A few might be averse to the sound and others could not catch the elusive "1". Dancers, at the time, were likely not used to the music and have difficulty enjoying dancing to these songs.
When we started The Studio socials in 2014, my mission was to change dancers' mindset to enjoy dancing to Cuban songs and have dancers of all styles under one roof. I would DJ myself and ensured for every two salsa dura/romantica etc, there will be two Cuban songs. Even our condition to ALL guest DJs is that they MUST play Cuban music in their mix, and until today that has not changed.
LatinMania (with Eddie Lim) & Tribute Parties, in part, were created to spread the love of Cuban music to all style dancers. In turn, Cuban style dancers can appreciate other salsa/music genres.
Over the years, we had Cuban instructors that came to teach at The Studio - Alberto Romay, Giordano Duberger, Piter Pantoja Lopez, Francisco Rodriguez, and Ray Herrera. They would stay and dance till the very end at The Studio socials, or we would take them dancing at Union Square and other events. I observed all of them would dance to everything, with everyone, and dance with joy and heart. They personally show me that Cuban style can be danced to any type of Salsa music – although clearly, some songs would fit the style more than others. This is why I fell in love with Cuban style although my initial training was in cross body/linear style.
I hope by sharing this, more will understand why we do what we do. Thank you to all the dancers that have been supporting Salsa Cubana Singapore & The Studio!