Archive for August, 2005
We’ve come a long way since I started salsa.
When I first competed, it was for the 2nd HKSDC, back in 2001. I had been dancing for about six months.
Out of six couples:
- None had costumes. Only one couple (mine) had made any effort at color-coordination.
- Only two couples were even remotely on-beat. They placed 4th and 6th.
- One couple did improvised Merengue. They weren’t disqualified.
- Shines were a joke.
- A few dips, barely any tricks (one of which, memorably, ended with the leader landing on his butt).
- Most routines were in the 4-6 minute range. One couple ran almost to 7 minutes… And musicality was so low, you could have changed the song, and it would barely have made a difference.
And this year… WOW!
- Beautiful, elaborate costumes.
- Interesting songs, and routines that fit them.
- Original tricks, very nicely executed.
- and a high degree of showmanship, from all competitors.
Among the things that have made the difference over these five years, is an increased exposure to different styles of salsa. Local events such as the Salsa Festival and guest instructor workshops are bringing in more students than ever. Also, more HK dancers are taking salsa trips, attending salsa events around the world.
Additionally, dancers are seeking out information. I found out recently that one of the competitors has a salsa video collection that outclasses even mine.
I would also mention that the top two couples in the competition are members of my Training Team.
Before you accuse me of taking advantage of their success to promote my classes, let me clarify why I bring this up.
One of the ideals of my Training Team is a commitment to learning. The underlying principle is that it doesn’t matter how long you have been dancing, that there is always more to learn. Back in 2001, most of the dancers had been dancing less than a year, and pretty much all of them had stopped taking classes. That, in itself, is a significant step forward for the salsa scene. A whole new generation of dancers committed to learning more will have a snowball effect on the salsa scene. It will mean higher standards of dancing, more business for salsa instructors and later, more and better teachers.
Compare the instructors then and now. Then, we had Ricci, Frankie and Joseph, supported up to a point by Miko and styling instructors Wilma and Janita.
Now, we have Frankie, Joseph, Jason, Janita, Sam&Winie, Peter&Faith, Eddis, Rambo and myself, supported by occasional teachers such as Ricci, Emily, Shirley, Tom, Aldo, Mi-Jong (I’m sure I spelled her name wrong) and more…
Truth be said, I don’t think the HK salsa scene is bigger now than it was in 2001, but the standards are definitely higher, and as they keep growing, so will the scene.
August 17, 2005.