THE DEATH OF DOMINICAN BACHATA?

In part 1 I talked about the possibility of the Dominican government banning the Bachata Sensual by means of a lawsuit. You can read that here. https://www.supersalsa.nl/2019/12/13/dominican-bachata-immaterial-cultural-heritage-vs-bachata-sensual/

And now: What interest do the Dominicans have in protecting the popular Dominican way of dancing Bachata? Is there more to this?

DEAD DANCE STYLES

I recently interviewed Francisco Vazquez, the inventor of LA Style Salsa on1. I did this as part of his promotion for the Holland Salsa Bachata Fest 2020. Francisco was totally lyrical about the ‘Curaçao Style Salsa’ that he discovered here in the Netherlands in the early ’00s. He explains that this way of salsa dancing is actually our ‘roots’. And that I shouldn’t forget that. See for yourself from 14.32 minutes:

Intervieuw with Francisco Vazquez promoting the Holland Salsa Bachata Fest 2020

But ‘Curaçao Stijl Salsa’ – what we here in the Netherlands also refer to as ‘Salsa Rechts Voor’ – is virtually extinct in 2019. Anyway, it is no longer the dominant salsa style here in the Netherlands. Not even on Curacao where it originated! After the introduction of the LA Style Salsa on1 and the New York Mambo on2 in the Netherlands (by Annetje Riel and Marlon Castillo from 1998) it went quickly downhill with the Curaçao Style Salsa.

Besides that you also had what I affectionately call ‘Zouk Salsa’. This dance style conceived by Claudio Gomes is actually an amalgamation of Cuban/Antillian Style Salsa with dance movements from the Brazilian Lambada and Zouk! See here the 1st Dutch salsa dance instruction video from Zouk Salsa!

Claudio Gomes and the Netherlands’ first Salsa Dance Instructional Video ‘Zouk Salsa’

The following video clip is a short summary of the 1st Open Salsa Dance Competition, held in Zandvoort (1995). In it you can see the various dominant salsa dance styles in the Netherlands: Curaçao Style Salsa and ‘Zouk Salsa’ by Claudio Gomes:

1st Dutch Open Salsa Dance Championships 1995

Besides that you also see a bit of Merengue Showdancing during that contest. Merengue show also slowly died out in the Netherlands in the 90’s. Euro Latinos D.C. – the first semi professional Afro Latin show team of the Netherlands – was one of the last groups to dance Merengue. See here a video with a long show with Salsa Rechts Voor and Merengue Showdansen by Euro Latinos D.C.:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioeZ9ZmN56I.

Why are these dance styles (almost) extinct?

Because most of us (me too!) were completely captured by the newly introduced (Western orientated) dance styles,
because we didn’t pass on the dance to the next generations, and
because these original dance styles were only a small part of the rainbow of dance styles that already existed such as folkloric dances and other Caribbean and Latin American dance forms.

But the Dominican Bachata has been immensely popular in the Dominican Republic and beyond for years. Her popularity continues to grow. So why should the world protect the Dominican Bachata?

UNITE IT WITH DESTRUCTION AS A BY-PRODUCT

In 1997, the 1st World Salsa Congress was held in San Juan Puerto Rico.

That’s when many salsa dancers from all over the world came together for the first time to learn and enjoy each other. One of the most important things the organization has done is to canonize the Puerto Rican style of Salsa dancing – and especially the variant that Eddie Torres recorded (New York Style Mambo on2). This is clearly said in the following video from 0.52 minutes.

1st World Salsa Congress Puerto Rico 1997

This standard was then blindly adopted by all those present. This new style ‘salsa dancing in lines’ was then spread in the countries of origin by these salsa pioneers. Others like the great promoter Albert Torres copied this successful formula of days long dance congresses and festivals with 1 or 2 salsa styles as a theme and applied it to most continents, countries and cities. This has been the beginning of the international Afro Latin dance industry. In the process of globalization of Afro Latin dance, some of the original dance styles were lost.

Have you ever heard of Israeli Style Salsa? Edie The Salsa Freak once told me of its existence during one of her dance workshops in the early ’00s. But I’ve never seen it myself. She explained that they danced on1, but that the followers never stepped backwards on the 1. Always forwards, so to their partners. I can’t find the dance anywhere online…

Since the other Bachata dance styles worldwide are growing faster than the original Dominican Bachata, it is not surprising that the Dominicans think that their dance style is increasingly being supplanted by what they see as an ‘abomination’. And on the other hand, the Dominican Republic also has much to fear from the undiminished popularity of Reggaeton among young people. Especially the woman-unfriendly lyrics and the very explicit way of dancing are attracting more and more young people. As a result, they lose more and more interest in the traditional bachata. The same development can be seen, for example, in Cuba, where the Son is increasingly becoming a dance for the elderly and for the tourist industry on the island. International artists and DJs continue to experiment with Bachata. The bachata remixes of Pop and R&B music are gaining market share. There are now even Bachata Remix parties! See here a list of DJ Tronky’s best bachata remix music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0Ti70q7RUw&list=PLiRjI-m5pJYeSRNBpcWidMK42Fu_LU-ej.

Conclusion: Enough reasons to protect the Dominican way of bachata dancing!

In preparation of this article, some of my friends on Facebook and I had a nice discussion. I would like to thank them for their invaluable contributions: Nadia, Yaya, Remy, Mariska, Mechteld, Roy, Romy, Nucita, Valentino, Pascal, Patrick, Froukje, Robert, Robin, Angelique, Gerald and Gilbert: https://www.facebook.com/sederick.short/posts/10157600050933211?comment_id=10157617262418211&notif_id=1577475104314500&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic.

In my last article of this series I will propose a nice solution which the lovers of the Dominican bachata will hopefully pick up and put into practice 🙂

Thank you in advance for your reactions to this article. Please feel free to join the discussion under the last link.

Y que viva la bachata!!!

Dominican Bachata Immaterial Cultural Heritage vs Bachata Sensual

On December 11, 2019, the bachata was officially registered in the annals of the UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Dominican Republic.

Congratulations to ALL fans of the Dominican bachata worldwide! 🙂

But what kind of legal consequences can the many promoters and dancers of Bachata Sensual expect to be heading their way right now?

Years of Discussions

There have been many discussions about bachata going on for years on end, raging across the international Afro Latin dance community. About what it is. But especially on how NOT to dance bachata. The manner in which Bachata Sensual dancers dance is often compared to – and labeled as – foreplay and/or ‘dry humping’ by the vast majority of Dominican Bachata lovers. One of my arguments has always been that the complainants have no leg to stand on, since the government of the Dominican Republic does not even care to defend their cultural heritage by making bachata an Immaterial Cultural Heritage at the UNESCO. Let alone suppress, or even prohibit Bachata Sensual.

The Prohibition of Bachata Sensual!?

But now that the Dominicans have succeeded in their mission …

Is it now possible for them to outlaw Bachata Sensual? And can those who use this name be officially sanctioned? Can the government of the Dominican Republic start a lawsuit against all other forms of bachata dance? Do the Dominicans now have a legal arsenal to protect their cultural heritage? The answer to all of these questions is ..

Complicated.

The dance “bachata” has been officially registered in the annals of the UNESCO like this:

“The bachata as a dance style is as passionate as the music to which it is danced to. The dance is based on a rhythm of eight measures. It is danced in couples, using sensual hip movements. The bachata as a dance is learned anywhere from childhood in a spontaneous manner, but the country (the Dominican Republic) also has more than a hundred schools, studies and academies which are committed to passing on the dance to the next generations. “

Considering this definition, you would conclude that dance styles having appropriated the name “bachata” – and not conforming to it’s innate characteristics – really should be banned. But is this true?

After MANY hours of  reading papers on the subject, I finally found the right answer in a file of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the UNESCO. It says:

“Just as it is the case with the list of the World heritage, there is also a part of an international UNESCO intangible heritage list: the International Representative List of Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The objective of this list is to show the enormous diversity of intangible heritage in the world. The intangible heritage does not have to stay the same, but it may take new forms in time. “

https://www.unesco.nl/nl/dossier/immaterieel-erfgoed

That last sentence is crucial to me when trying to understand its implications. Because the bachata music itself has not remained the same since its inception in 1961. First, there were many changes made to the bachata music on the Dominican Republic. And this process also continued from the ‘90s onward in the United States. The dance has also gone through the same process. So, a lawsuit against Korke and Judith – the inventors of Bachata Sensual – would not be successful on these grounds.

On these grounds, mind you…

Dirty Bachata Dancing!

But many Dominican bachata enthusiasts find Bachata Sensual to have an offensive character in comparison to the traditional way of dancing the bachata. Remember those ‘sensual hip movements’ in the definition? First of all, there has to be a mechanism for defining and/or to empirically determine which way of dancing can be considered ‘sensual’, and which one is ‘sexist’ or even ‘offensive’. This assessment is indeed very ironic for a dance – which at its humble beginnings – was also danced at the bars of many brothels …

But, let’s imagine that the Dominicans can determine empirically the way Bachata Sensual is danced to be offensive to their Immaterial Cultural Heritage. What kind of legal steps can they then take?

WIPO

There is an interesting article on UNESDOC which might give the right answer to this question. It was written by Wend Wendland. He’s a lawyer, with a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree in intellectual property law. Wend practiced as an intellectual property and media law attorney, and is now head of the Traditional Creativity and Cultural Expressions Section, Traditional Knowledge Division, of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

You can read the article yourself from page 97 to page 106: 

https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000135863

WIPO works closely with UNESCO with it’s goal to enforce legal protection of the intangible world. As for my question, this segment is very interesting. It’s on page 100. The WIPO focuses among others engaged in:

“[…] prevention of insulting, derogatory and/or culturally and spiritually offensive uses;”

Conclusion

My conclusion after analyzing all options is that it can be hard for the Dominican bachata enthusiasts to legally eradicate Bachata Sensual… 

But it can be done!

My question is: Do we WANT to do this tho?

I will write the answer to this question in my next article. Tomorrow I’ll leave to Den Helder in order to dance the ‘Ataca y La Alemana Bachata Challenge’ together with Amanda and the students of salsa school Happy Salsa 🙂

What’s your opinion about this article? Let me know in the comment section! 🙂

P.S. 

“Nurturing non-material cultural heritage is indispensable for preserving continuity and development of a society, the maintenance of dialogue between the present and the past and for drawing conclusions with a view of the future.” – Ph.Dr. Samanta Kowalska

The Long Queue at Summer Breeze Open Air Salsa Dancing

This is the second part of the exclusive interview I had with Mimo Argam in 2010  in which he reminisced on the prior 15 years of his Summer Breeze Salsa parties. We continue with Mimo being forced to stop his activities quite abruptly in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. After the interview I also comment on my personal experience in ‘The Queue’. At the end there’s a special announcement from Mimo himself!

We continue with the interview at the point when Mimo commented on the reasons and the conditions of his departure from the Vondelpark, “Five years ago (in 2005), Roel Veldhorst past away and the ‘Uitmarkt’ – a professional theatrical events company – took over the organisation of the events held in the open theatre of the Vondelpark. They told me that there was no room for  Salsa in their program because – in their own words – “Salsa is not Theatre”. The disillusioned Salsa party organiser continues, “The Uitmarkt also cancelled the highly successful children’s program held on Wednesdays, and they managed to stop a much loved snack bar after 25 years of service to the public. Uitmarkt struck a deal with a large beer company who took over all of the catering activities around the open theatre. But, I do not hold a grudge.”

I asked Argam about his time at the Westergas terrace. He said, “I have been working together with the organisation of the Westergas terrace from the moment I stopped at the Vondelpark.. The location was still being rebuilt when I started with my Salsa dance activities. They have been very kind to me, and they also gave me a free hand in doing things. Westergas made it possible for me to organise the big Fania Salsa parties and create extra options like an extra dance floor outside the building with extra DJ equipment.”

Contrary to common believe,the free Salsa party organiser of Moroccan descent does take some time to rest once in a while. His quotes are “Be humble, be honest, enjoy freedom and dance for your freedom”. Also, “Everything works if we work together,” and “Something has to be done right or not done at all!”

End of the interview.

Now we fast forward 8 years into the future…

The Happiest Queue Ever!

On May 31st, 2018, I had given a wedding dance class and rushed to the Westergas terrace for the kick off of the 13th edition of Summer Breeze Latin Party. On arrival at around 10.30 PM I discovered a very long queue! I had never seen this before at a salsa party. But instead of getting angry I decided to enjoy the experience. It was a great feeling to ponder and realise how far Mimo has progressed from the little group of salsa students that went to the Vondelpark to practice salsa now 23 years ago. The feeling of pride and wonder didn’t take my urge away to enter ASAP though. So, a friend and I went together to the entrance and see if there was a way for us to get in fast. There was NONE! Not even Rinio Artist could get us inside. There was a sweet lady who gave me a coin for ice cream and told me to show it to the security as proof that I had already been inside. I didn’t do it. The security got strict orders to not let anyone else go inside because the venue was too full with people!

Summer Breeze Outside, May 31st 2018

 

Around 23.30 hrs – after about an hour waiting, dancing, singing, interviewing people and talking to others who were already inside – we finally got in.

The only difference with the past years of Summer Breeze is the fact that all of us are now required to pay an entrance fee of only 5 euros after 8.30 PM. This is needed to pay for the extra expenses for security and other highly necessary measures and necessities.

But I can tell you this: It was worth the wait! And every euro penny was very well spent 🙂

A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

Mimo (FINALLY) decided to start with salsa dancing much earlier than normal at this Thursday’s edition of Summer Breeze (June 14th). The salsa will now start at 7 PM (19:00 hrs) as an experiment. Mimo is answering to the plead of many salsa dancers who requested for them to be able to start dancing salsa early in the evening.

This first ‘Early Salsa Summer Breeze’ will be powered by DJ Rick and DJ Willy!

And remember: The entrance is FREE from 7 ‘till 8.30 PM!!!

Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/163614970961295

Bruce Lee and Merengue Dance

What does Bruce Lee have to do with the boring merengue dance? Why has merengue caused a salsa recession in the 80’s? What kind of influence did merengue have on the evolution of bachata and salsa? And  what is this ‘merengue show dance’?

Let’s delve into the virtual rabbit hole and follow the merengue breadcrumbs, shall we?

Kung Fu Merengue Dancing

At the beginning of the 80’s, a merengue band called Los Kenton did something very unique at the time. The Kenton brothers mixed merengue dancing with Shaolin Kung Fu (martial arts) to create a new way to dance merengue on stage. Singing whilst dancing short merengue dance choreographies became a new dance rage called the ‘Kentomania’. As the Kentomania spread along the whole of Latin America, many bands felt compelled to follow their act.

There was another element which precipitated this success: the popularisation of the video recorder. Because of that, people could practice the dance steps they saw the bands display on television and practice them at home. This way they could dance together with their favourite artists when performing live. These small choreographs were consequently copied, put on sequences and then performed by teenagers in merengue show teams. And that’s how I started my Afro Latin dance career dancing in 1983/1984: With merengue show dancing on the beautiful island of Curacao!

Merengue caused the Salsa Recession!

Bands such as the pioneering Johnny Ventura, Fernandito Villalona, Wilfrido Vargaz, the New York Band and Juan Luis Guerra y su 440 were dominating the international Latin music charts. From Santo Domingo to New York city: merengue set the pace. This ‘merengue overflow’ had a bad side effect for Fania Records and other smaller salsa music labels: their sales dropped dramatically! Bachata musicians started to speed up their ‘musica del amargue’ and put merengue on their bachata albums in order for them to sell more records. At the end of the 80’s and at the beginning of the 90’s, salsa music got a new boost because from artists such as Marc Anthony, Issac Delgado and Eddie Santiago who took the main theme of the popular ‘telenovelas’ ( = televised soap opera’s) & popular ballads and remixed them into salsa versions. Thus, Salsa Romantica was born.

Example: Ilan Chester’s original version of ‘Palabras del Alma’ ( = Words from the Soul).

And now Marc Anthony’s salsa version:

So, what happened to Merengue Show dancing?

The music was first converted to Merengue Hip Hop by bands such as Proyecto Uno and Sandy y Papo. The popular reggaeton swallowed up merengue, and merengue continues to be a trans-formative force in (Dominican) bachata music. Elvis Crespo made house versions of popular merengue songs. Merengue has also been integrated in other mainstream Latin house music.

As for the dance: The merengue show dance died because of the following facts:

  1. The dance was never intended to be danced in show teams. This has mainly to do with the repetitive nature of the small choreographies.
  2. The merengue partnering has never been fully developed in the way salsa partnering has.
  3. The original salsa dance teachers were folkloric dancers. Modern merengue dancing was not a part of their folklore.
  4. Many of us – merengue show dancers – only use(d) merengue as a means to teach the budding salsero students basic partnering dance techniques and body movements.
  5. Merengue dancing has never been a part of the international (salsa) dance congresses or festivals. It’s only used sometimes as a warming up by international bachata dance artists such as Jorjet Alcocer.

Today, many merengue dance steps (or variations thereof) can be seen in Dominican bachata, in Zumba and in animation dance routines.

El Nergito Del Batey

I’m very glad I had the honour to start my dance career with merengue dancing. I also danced merengue in the first Dutch semi professional Afro Latin dance team Euro Latinos. 20 years ago (on October 30, 1997) I started teaching salsa. All of that was only possible because of merengue 🙂

On June 1st 2018, the ‘King of Merengue’ José Tamárez Mateo – better known as Joseito Mateo – passed away. I wrote this article to honour him and the music with which he gave a lot of joy to millions of ‘merengue afficionados’ just like yours truly.

Fun fact: Bruce Lee was also the 1958 Cha Cha Cha Dance Champion of Hong Kong. Maybe the Kenton brothers got their inspiration from this fact about their hero?

Que Viva El Merengue!

#sbbf 2018 A Life Changing Dance Experience

The visionary Eric Lalta and Liduina Aruma Handi Lovert of Fantasia Entertainment took the Salsa Bachata Beach Festival over from Mordechay Krispijn. There were doubts. There was fear. There was a lot of stress. But, because of pure will, determination and a lot of creativity they and their fabulous team put on a dance festival like no other here in the Netherlands!

Friday, May 18th: Highlights

Eric en Liduina’s production: Man! That was mind-blowing.!Where do I start? No. Or yes. The animation team. They created a great atmosphere dressed up in crazy beach wear and making all the guests feel very welcome. The music, the props, the lighting… Everything was done in a way that you as an audience felt like you were part of a colossal theatrical production. And, in a way, we were.

Farid as MC: Fabulous, and a little bit #metoo proof. Just a hint of it though, LOL. Being a budding MC myself I have a lot of respect for him and his multi-talent-hood. I already saw Farid in action at the Haarlem Salsa Festival in 2012. But here he was better. Doing your work while getting instructions from someone else can be daunting. But nothing seems to disturb him. A true professional! Our local hero of the Mayari podcast Tim Alberto was his fellow MC on stage. It was great to have someone of ‘our own team’ hosting the evening.

The first BachatArt Dutch Bachata Dance Competition was a complete success. The winners  were all well deserved. I have only one complaint regarding the competition: it was mainly a ‘ Bachata Passion Family affair’ because of the lack of competitors. In this interview held in Dutch the winning couple Joy and Remy asks all bachata dancers in the Netherlands to join them next year and compete for the highest honour! Congratz to all the winners, finalists and especially to BP’s own Geno & Steffie for doing such an amazing job of promoting bachata dancing in the Netherlands and abroad.

The showcase: Awesometacular! I especially was very impressed with the dexterity displayed by the world bachata champion Belen during her warming up 😉 

World Bachata Champion Belen warming up nbefore her performance at the Holland Salsa Bachata Beach Festival 2018

 

Downer: People started to buy tickets on the same day as the party was planned. So the production team didn’t have a clue in advance on how the turnout would be. It was better than any of them had  expected, though! But I would like to urge all dancers attending a festival (or a party of the festival) to please buy your tickets well in advance. That way you’ll help the organizers to keep their stress levels on the low side 😉 I only enjoyed the last 15 minutes of the party. But it was a very well spent 15 minutes! And I also had Saturday to look forward too.

After the party the team had a meeting which I also attended. I went to sleep around 04.45 AM.

Saturday, May 19th: The Best EVER!!!!

I stood at 9.00 AM sharp at the office door to prepare myself for the business seminar. The weekend before that I had the honour of being the co MC at the Dutch Salsa Dance Championships. Eric and Liduina did the whole production of the dance competition, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what they would be doing this Saturday. In retrospect it’s safe to say I didn’t have a clue of what was coming!

The workshops: I followed 2 workshops. The first was one was an excellent Dominican bachata footwork and partnering by the friendly couple Bhavin and Soonruta from India. They have very solid didactic skills. I learned some new tricks from them which I will implement in my salsa classes. After that I followed a workshop by Rodrigo and Bersy. THAT WAS AWESOME!!!! I made this video at the end of the workshop, when the two superstars just started to teach us a salsa musicality class like none that I have ever witnessed before! My apologies for my bad singing, though. Or better yet: I don’t apologise for it. Because everyone should be allowed to sing without fear of being (mis)judged. And the same goes for how we choose to dance as well 🙂

The first Afro Latin Business Seminar: Several Dutch and international afro latin dance teachers, dance school owners, performers, a DJ, photographers, festival organizers and musicians came together to meet and talk about themes having to do with the whole afro latin dance and music scene in the Netherlands. The goal is to learn from each other and to grow together. Eric explained that this was the first of many more seminars to come. His ultimate objective is to organise a ‘Latin Music & Dance Summit’  in the near future. The first one will be held in the Netherlands. After that there will be many more summits in other countries worldwide. During the Summit there will be:

  1. Seminars and Dance Teacher’’s Training,
  2. The afro latin EXPO which is a free market place, and
  3. The Afro Latin Music & Dance Awards. This will be based on the community and the awards will be given by the community. This means that someone who has had a great contribution in the development of his or her own area of expertise will be chosen by his or her peers to be rewarded with the award. You can compare it with the Oscars.

We discussed some themes which I can’t (and won’t) tell you about. The meetings are private and by personal invitation only.

A seed has been planted… 

My wife Linda: This Sunday my lovely wife Linda and I will celebrate our 2 years of marriage to each other. We decided to have an early celebration at the festival which started with having a nice dinner at the Kurhaus hotel. After that it was time for…  

The Gala Party! Here follows some general impressions: The animation team. Sound and light effects. The Dutch Salsa and Bachata Champions performing. The Bachata World Champions. Singing on stage. The combination of Bachata Passion’s own Meike on the piano and Orvill Small crumping the beejeezus out of it. My wife’s admiration for the raw power being displayed on stage by half naked men with their bodies chiseled in stone. Rodrigo and Bersy: OEF!!! DJ Andre Holland was killin’ it!  The flying shark!!! OMG! The Flying Shark!!! The animation from up stage with all the twerking and many more ‘nasty’ things… The Big Exploding Balloons!!! Did I already mention the crazy animation team?

Talking about ‘crazy’…

Crazy Pianos!: After the party ended  went to the Crazy Pianos bar. It is definitely NOT a Latin club! The regular folks there didn’t know what hit them when all of us dancers invaded ‘their’ turf on the beach. I understand from Eric that the management arranged with them for only 1 hour of Latin music. Gato Gabriel came on the piano and sang some songs. Farid also climbed on a piano. And then more people followed with crazy acts.    

Linda and I were standing in the middle of the room next to a small podium. People around us kept asking us to get on it, so we did just that. And danced like there was no tomorrow! The best part was when we were leaving. I just wanted to say goodbye to the crew, but I ended up dancing a ‘speed rueda de casino’ in front of the pianos! We left around 3.30 AM. But the rest continued to party ‘till 5 o’ clock..

.. with afro latin music!

Sunday, May 20th: Romance on the Beach

Linda and I hadn’t planned to attend the beach party, because we had planned to leave early in order for us to spend the Sunday together with our 2 little kids. After brunch on the beach we went to where the party was to say our goodbyes. We danced a little bit. Then I went to try out the Surf Simulator. It went quite well if I say so myself. The secret is in the hip movements. But then we heard Juan Luis Guerra’s bachata song ‘Bachata en Fukuoka’. It’s one of our favourite songs. We hadn’t heard or danced to it in quite a while, so we ran together on the sand towards that little improvised dance floor on the beach to finally do ‘our thing’. Look at the video clip, which stars the Golden Ratio as a time travelling object. I emulate the dance couple’s ‘dancing in the air’ by lifting Linda up and turning her around with her arms up in the air. It was nice to end this wonderful weekend on such a romantic note. And especially because Linda and I met each other for the first time almost 7 years ago at a salsa party which was also held on the beach 🙂

I would like to thank Desiree, all of the ambassadors, the crew, the event photographers, the DJ’s, the kind and professional staff of the Kurhaus hotel, the artists, the competitors, the afro latin experts who attended the business seminar, the dancers who followed the workshops and/or danced at the parties, and everyone else who was remotely involved in making the Holland Salsa Bachata Beach Festival 2018 a great success.

Finally: Eric and Liduina, thanks for inviting me to be a part of your amazing adventure. Hats off to both of you. Lots of respect and admiration. Love.

Did you like this review? Then feel free to share it to your family and friends. And I hope to see you in 2019 for the second edition of the new & improved Holland Salsa Bachata Beach Festival!

My next stop will be the Bonaire International Dance Festival!

Questions:

  1. Have you attended the festival? If so, did you like it? Why (not)?
  2. Do you have suggestions to make #hsbbf better for the future editions?
  3. Have you seen THE FLYING SHARK?!

8 Tips om SUPERSNEL Dans Koning(in) te worden!

Is het voor jou – beginnende salsa danser – ook frustrerend om steeds weer aan de rand van de dansvloer te moeten toekijken hoe de gevorderde mannen alle danseressen op de dansvloer de sterren van de hemel laten dansen? En ben jij – bachata of kizomba danseres – een beetje jaloers op al die populaire danseressen die de hele avond door lekker aan het dansen zijn terwijl jij aan de kant staat te kijken? Leren je mede zouk dans cursisten de dans sneller dan jij?

Dan heeft Super Salsa 8 supertips die je ZEKER zullen helpen om SUPERSNEL gevorderd te worden!

1. Een Hobby, of ‘a Way of Life’?

Het eerste waar je mee begint is een concrete DOEL te stellen voor jezelf samen met een aantal randvoorwaarden. Schrijf vervolgens je plan op met daarbij een tijdschema. Voorbeelden van doelen zijn: ‘Ik wil even goed worden als de danser(es) die ik zo bewonder,’ of ‘Ik wil dat de gevorderde mannen mij ook ten dans vragen.’ Mijn eigen doel is: ‘Ik wil met lol hebben met zoveel mogelijk danspartners over de hele wereld.’ Dan moet je wel een realistische tijd bedenken waarin je je doel wilt bereiken. Bijvoorbeeld: ‘Ik zal na 2 jaar vanaf nu een gevorderde salsa danser zijn.’ Nadat je dit hebt besloten moet je de BELANGRIJKSTE beslissing nemen: Wil je dit als HOBBY doen, of wil je dat afro latin dansen een manier van leven wordt voor jou? Want het verschil tussen een hobby en een levensstijl is de hoeveelheid tijd, energie, geld – en dus moeite – waarvoor je bereid bent om in je doel te stoppen. Het kernwoord hier is MOEITE. Want je zal je doel niet bereiken door alleen maar 1 keer per week je afro latin dansles te volgen, niet tegen (constructief) kritiek te kunnen, of door amper naar afro latin feesten toe te gaan. Bij een levensstijl ben je bereid om alle stappen te nemen die nodig zijn om zo snel mogelijk gevorderd te worden zonder dat voelt alsof je veel moeite voor moet doen!

Vervolgens ga je je plan uitvoeren. Dus: DOEN!

 

Wetenschappelijk onderzoek heeft aangetoond dat als je ergens een expert in wilt worden, dat je dan minimaal 10.000 uren daarin moet OEFENEN. Veel danskilometers maken dus!

  

2. Ken Jezelf en je Eigen Beperkingen

De meesten van ons denken dat wij beter zijn dan dat we daadwerkelijk zijn, en we nemen vaak mede daardoor teveel hooi op onze vorken. Als je tijdens de salsacursus ziet dat de meeste cursisten sneller in dans niveau stijgen dan jij, dan heeft het geen zin om alleen je dansdocenten daarvan de schuld te geven. In plaats van vingerwijzen en struisvogelpolitiek kun je beter eerst naar jezelf kijken. ‘Wat doe ik niet goed? En hoe kan ik dit probleem zelf oplossen?’ Het ‘probleem’ kan een fysieke component hebben: bijvoorbeeld ouderdom en gezondheidsklachten. Je mentale capaciteiten kunnen ook een rol daarbij spelen. Bijvoorbeeld: Heb je problemen om langer dan 5 minuten lang achter elkaar te blijven concentreren? Heb je moeite met het accepteren van (constructief) kritiek? Heb je problemen met het volgen van regels? Heb je een stressvolle baan en/of een leven vol met stress? Nogmaals: We zijn niet helemaal objectief aangaande onze eigen vaardigheden. Vraag daarom aan je afro latin dansdocenten, je medecursisten en aan je vrienden om hun ongezouten mening te geven over je eigen danskwaliteiten. En verzeker hen dat je absoluut niet boos zult worden om hun eerlijke mening. Laat jezelf filmen terwijl je danst en analyseer de video opnames samen met je favoriete dans experts.   

Het kan dus gebeuren dat je daardoor beslist om een andere afro latin dansstijl te gaan dansen, of dat je tevreden moet zijn met je huidige dans niveau. En dat je in dat laatste geval dus niet meer in dans niveau zult stijgen. Is dat erg? Nee. Zorg gewoon voor dat je ontzettend goed wordt op je eigen dansniveau!  

 

3. Je dans niveau stijgt sneller binnen een dans omgeving met een hoog niveau

Word goede vrienden met salsa en mambo dansers die een hoog dansniveau hebben. Dans op afro latin feesten waar het algemeen dans niveau redelijk hoog is. Bijvoorbeeld bij de Fiesta Deluxe feesten. De feesten die gehouden worden tijdens internationale dance festivals zoals die van de Holland Salsa Bachata Beach Festival en de Bonaire International Dance Festival zijn de beste, omdat de beste dansers wereldwijd naar dit soort evenementen gaan.

Word lid van gerenommeerde afro latin showteams zoals bijvoorbeeld die van TC Dance Company, Shelina Salsa, Matanza, Guateque Dance Company, eStilo Dance Company of Salsaddiction voor salsa dansen, Bachata Passion of Jesus Willems (El Orfanato) voor bachata en Mistura Movement of Daniëlle de Jong voor kizomba. Begin bij hun studenten showteams. Volg tegelijkertijd hun reguliere danslessen.

Assisteer bij zoveel mogelijk andere danslessen van jouw eigen niveau en lager.  

Doe mee aan zoveel mogelijk (amateur) danswedstrijden! Bijvoorbeeld: de NK Salsa Danskampioenschappen en de Dutch Bachata Championship

Doe zoveel mogelijk mee aan dansspelletjes die spontaan op de sociale  dansvloer ontstaan.

Voor de beginnende salsa danser: Volg zo snel mogelijk mambo on2 danslessen. De meeste gevorderde afro latin dansers zijn mambo dansers van origine.

 

4. Word een EXPERT in afro latin muziek & volg danslessen bij meerdere dansinstructeurs

Volgens mijn eigen theorie vormt muziekkennis ongeveer 50% van je danskunsten. Zorg ervoor dat je het structuur van de muziek ECHT goed leert kennen. Sterker nog: persoonlijk vind ik dat je de muziek zou moeten beheersen voordat je 1 dans stap leert! Volg dus VEEL musicality danslessen en workshops.

Salsa dans DVD’s, YouTube video’s en dans webinars werken alleen goed als je deze combineert met ‘live’ instructie van verschillende dansdocenten. Volg dus danslessen van verschillende dans docenten. Niet alleen in dezelfde dansstijl, maar ook in verschillende substijlen. Bijvoorbeeld: Leer niet alleen LA Stijl salsa on1 van verschillende dansdocenten, maar ook mambo on2, Cubaanse casino, Afro Cubaans dansen en rueda de casino.

BELANGRIJK: Schaam je niet en stel je vragen als de uitleg die je dansleraren geven niet duidelijk genoeg is voor jou!

5. Leer meer dan 1 Dansstijl, en probeer niet 1 specifieke danser te kopiëren!

Je afro latin dans skills zullen exponentieel toenemen als je andere dansstijlen leert zoals (jazz) ballet, modern, swing dance, street dance, tango, flamenco, etc. Met een bredere dansachtergrond heb je meer tools om je eigen stijl te ontwikkelen in plaats van 1 bepaalde danser te kopiëren. Want de kans is groot dat hij of zij ook verschillende dansstijlen heeft geleerd om tot die unieke dansstijl te komen. Bijvoorbeeld: Michael Jackson zijn dansstijl is een combinatie van James Brown, Electric Boogie, de mime van Marcel Marceau (zie foto) en Fred Astaire.

Dus: Combineer elementen uit andere dansstijlen om jezelf uniek – en als gevolg daarvan – populair te maken.

6. Word een Dans Kameleon

De beste dansers zijn degenen die zich overal ter wereld snel kunnen aanpassen aan alle danspartners. Dans met beginners. Probeer ze niet dansend naar je eigen dans niveau te ‘tillen’, maar wees creatief terwijl je binnen hun eigen dans niveau en dansstijl blijft dansen. Jouw taak als kameleon is om je danspartner zich beschermd en goed te laten voelen op de dansvloer. Dit geldt ook voor de volgers! Als je alleen maar 1 vorm van afro latin dansen beheerst, dan kun je moeilijk die ‘dans kameleon’ die in je schuilt naar buiten laten komen. 1 van de danseressen die ik als een ‘ultieme vrouwelijke dans kameleon’ beschouw is Janice Boekhoudt van La Pachanga Aruba. De ultieme mannelijke variant is zonder enige twijfel Kurt Alexander!

 

7. Ga af en toe naar een laagdrempelig afro latin dansfeest om je zelfvertrouwen een BOOST te geven!

Af en toe lijkt het alsof er een strijd gaande is op de sociale dansvloer. Dit kan een onervaren afro latin danser behoorlijk intimideren. Vaak zeggen beginners tegen mij: ‘Maar ik kan nog niet zoveel figuurtjes doen. En als ik al die gevorderde dansers bezig zie, dan durf ik niet eens de dansvloer op te gaan!’ Herken je dit? Geef dan niet op, want er worden genoeg laagdrempelige afro latin feesten – de zogenaamde ‘socials’ – in heel Nederland georganiseerd. Een goed voorbeeld hiervan zijn de gratis Salsa Socials van salsa dansschool Latin Club Fiesta die elke eerste vrijdagavond van de maand in Kokonoches Latincafe plaatsvinden. En de Rookie Parties van Salsipuedes zijn al jarenlang een heus begrip in salsaland. Het regelmatig bezoeken van dit soort laagdrempelige afro latin feestjes zal je genoeg zelfvertrouwen geven om te blijven oefenen.

Kokonoches Latincafe Promo

 

8. Geen Charitatieve Instelling

Neem geregeld prive afro latin danslessen van dansdocenten die een goede reputatie hebben door hun solide danstechnieken en die ook uitstekende didactische kwaliteiten bezitten. Paul & Eveline, Raul & Mechteld, Randolph & Cinnamon, Salsaroy, Cyldra Schierbeek, Vanessa Mambi. Michael van Rico Latino en Amanda van Doorn zijn goede voorbeelden van het wat ik hiervoor schreef. Trouwens: Niet alle goede dansers zijn ook goede leraren! Je wilt ervoor betalen. Afro latin dansen is geen charitatieve instelling. Je kunt wel af en toe (gratis) adviezen vragen aan dansers die het ‘goed’ doen op de dansvloer. Maar de sociale dansvloer is geen plek om (gratis) danslessen te krijgen of te geven! En als je dan TOCH dansles wilt geven, volg dan eerst een basis dans docentenopleiding van bijvoorbeeld Mordechay Krispijn.

Als je niet ten dans gevraagd wordt, of je wordt vaak geweigerd, dan kan het ook aan een gebrek aan hygiëne liggen. Zorg dus dat je er verzorgd uitziet (ja, ook jij man!), goed ruikt en je natte kleren geregeld wisselt. Want: Je kunt mensen niet veranderen, je kunt alleen JEZELF veranderen! Dus als de omgeving je niet accepteert, dan moet je jezelf veranderen zodat de omgeving je wel accepteert. En als je daar geen zin in hebt, dan dien je van omgeving te veranderen en ergens anders naartoe te gaan waar je een grotere kans hebt dat je geaccepteerd en gewaardeerd wordt precies zoals je nu bent 🙂

 

Als laatste: Wanneer je je doel hebt bereikt, vergeet NOOIT hoe je je reis bent begonnen om die super gevorderde afro latin danser te worden die je dan bent. Blijf bescheiden. Zoals Quincy & Zunaira of Pasty & Hilde. De meest populaire social dansers wereldwijd zijn zeer bescheiden.

Hoe vind je deze tips? Ik weet het: het waren er ietsje meer dan 8. En ik heb de factor ‘aanleg’ niet genoemd, omdat ik persoonlijk vind dat aanleg heel erg overgewaardeerd wordt 😉 Ben je het eens met mijn lijst? Waarom wel/niet? Heb je nog andere tips? Schroom dan niet, en deel ze met ons!  

 



2nd Promo Bonaire International Dance Festival 2018

4 valid reasons for attending the Bonaire International Dance Festival 2018

  1. Bonaire: This Dutch province is internationally known for having the most beautifull waters of the Caribbean Sea, with lots of coral and a spectacular marine life. Snorkling and a visit to ‘Klein Bonaire’ (a turtle sanctuary) are among the many sight-seeing adventures you’ll experience during the BIDF 2018.   
  2. The artists: The artists are very professional and easy-going. You will not only see breathtaking shows and get the best workshops in Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba dancing, but you will also get lots of personal guidance from them. And the artists will dance with you at all the parties! 
  3. The music: Expert Afro latin DJ’s who can ‘read the crowd’ will get you on the dance floor and make you stay there all night long!
  4. The parties: The parties of the Bonaire International Dance Festival are legendary on the island. Locals, tourists and festival attendees all dance together for hours. On the last Saturday there will be a life performance of one of the most popular bands in the Caribbean.   

The professional team of the BIDF 2018 is ready and eager to please you at 32 degrees Celsius during the day and at 25 degrees Celsius during the night!

So, what are you waiting for?

The ‘Early Flamingo’ price has now gone up 100 Euro’s, from 999 to 1.099 Euro’s Be quick and book your package. That includes your flight from Europe, hotel, full pass & sightseeing trips. Do it NOW (before February 1st, 2018). The location where every attendee of the festival will be staying is the brand new Resort Bonaire! 

Click on the video for more information and for a very special offer 😉

For more info, please contact Juni via email at bonairedancefestival@gmail.com