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!!!

Super Mario and the Chanty Salsa Dance Move

Last Saturday, February 16th 2019, I joined a salsa dance bootcamp of Super Mario, which was organized by DJ Bripa ‘El Loco’ at Event Center Fokker in The Netherlands. It was great seeing the legendary ‘Million Moves Man’ in action and learning from him again after so many years.

Mario’s workshop was very educational and entertaining at the same time. Hallmarks of a true salsa dance icon. His flawless combination of humor, superior teaching skills and tantalizing new dance techniques kept us all wanting for more. It felt like standing in a bakery and eating all the pastry you love without any remorse!  And Cinnamon van den Aakster – a teacher at Latin Club Fiesta and also the Dutch Salsa Dance Champion of 2016 – assisted him perfectly!

Evolution by Popularity

Mario Hazarika is one of the few dancers who radically changed the way salsa has been danced from the early 2000’s up to this day. The ‘Million Moves Man’ introduced many rules and technicalities for modern salsa dancing into the international salsa dance community such as:

  • The ‘8 count rule’: The hand of the follow stays where the lead puts it on the follow’s body, usually on the lower back of the follow whilst turning and/or spinning. If nothing happens after 8 beats, then the follow may use that hand as he or she pleases,
  • Many of the so called ‘Hand Shines’,
  • Hand Flicks, Hand Drops & Catches,
  • The ‘Hand Slides’, ‘Clicks’ and the ‘Gravity Rule’ for the follow are directly responsible for the fast paced & Cuban looking armstylings which have become very popular since the last couple of years,
  • The ‘Sticky Hand Rule’: If the lead puts the hand of the follow on his or her body, then that hand stays there until the lead grabs the hand, or lose contact in which case the ‘Gravity Rule’ applies,
  • Etcetera.

By first inventing and then teaching these new rules & dance techniques in London, Super Mario has helped to create a new style of dancing called ‘London Style Salsa’ at the end of the 90’s. From there on, Super Mario’s brand of salsa spread like wildfire across the planet. His instructional salsa dance DVD’s have not only changed L.A. Style salsa on1, but they also changed the way in which the Eddie Torres Mambo on2 is being danced. Furthermore, many of these dance techniques have been adopted into the Bachata Moderna and – in some extend – into the Bachata Sensual as well.

Click on the following link to buy Super Mario’s DVD’s. I highly recommend them!

http://www.salsaclass.tv/dvds.asp?pageID=8

So, in contrast to Ballroom and Latin dance, the evolution of salsa has been driven by popularity, and not so through rulings being dictated by a committee or an organization . ‘Inventor Dance Instructors’ such as Eddie Torres, Super Mario, Ismael Otero, Edie ‘The Salsa Freak’, Leon Rose, Susana Montero, Adolfo Indacochea, Fernando Sosa and the Vazquez brothers (just to name a few) play the drums to which the international salsa scene has been responding to accordingly. Until a couple of years ago, that is. Now the popularity of YouTube videos with the most hits are slowly starting to dominate and change the Afro Latin Dance market. Just take a look at the explosive growth of sensual bachata and kizomba in the last 5 to 10 years.

Now listen to what Super Mario himself has to say about all of this:

THE CHANTY SALSA DANCE MOVE

During the bootcamp, Super Mario taught us two variations of a salsa dance move which are danced over 2 bars (16 counts). A Cross Body Inside Turn followed by a 360 is a good example of a (semi) standard 16 count salsa dance technique. But these moves Super Mario taught us last Saturday were entirely new dance moves for a lot of us. And Super Mario also told us he was playing more with 16 count moves.

Very exciting stuff! 🙂

Chanty Jacobs, an assistant for salsa school Latin Club Fiesta who teaches together with me on Mondays at the Event Center Fokker was also following Super Mario’s bootcamp at the time. She was standing across the room. As soon as Mario explained the first variation of his 16 count move, I started to lip sync yell ‘Chanty Move!’ Chanty Move!’ towards Chanty. But she didn’t understand what I meant. I think she thought I ment she should move from there 🙂

What was I trying to explain to her anyway?

Next to her assisting me, I’m also training Chanty ‘on the job’ to become a salsa dance instructor. On Monday, December 3rd 2018, I gave Chanty a surprise assignment: collect the dance techniques which the students would suggest to her and turn those dance moves into a turn pattern on the spot. The students did not comply. So, Chanty decided to create a dance technique on her own. She did it in a couple of seconds. I tested it with her, we polished it together, and voila: the Chanty Salsa Dance Move was born!

The Chanty Move is also a 16 count salsa dance move. That’s why I got so excited. Because Super Mario had just confirmed Chanty was thinking in the right direction.

See the Chanty Salsa Dance Move for yourself!

I have also created some variations to the Chanty Move for myself and taught these to my salsa students on Fridays for Latin Club Fiesta (Haarlem), on Wednesdays for salsa school Sizzling Salsa (Alkmaar) and for my students at salsa school Happy Salsa (Den Helder). All these salsa dance students know the Chanty Move by now.

With your help we can elevate the Chanty Move from a local dance move to an international salsa dance technique. Yes, you who’s reading this! Here is a link to the version of the Chanty Move on Facebook:

#new #salsatechnique #chantymove #latinclubfiesta #supersalsa #inventor #innovator

Posted by Sederick Blommestijn – Short on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Will you help us by sharing this article, the Chanty Move YouTube video and/or the Chanty Move Facebook Video? You can also see it on my supersalsa8 Instagram account. Thank you very much in advance for sharing and spreading the love for salsa 🙂  

And make sure you buy some of Super Mario’s Dance DVD’s. You can also like the Super Mario Salsa Fans Page and check it out regularly for all of his workshops and bootcamps. Just click on the link below.

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=supermario%20salsa%20fans%20page&epa=SEARCH_BOX

Que Viva La Salsa!