So, where did it all start? Many years ago, sometime it
feels like a life lived by another person, I had thrown
myself into a startup situation. I worked long hours, seven days a week. I
commuted to and from work, and that didn't leave much time for anything else
(and I DO mean ANYTHING else). I
was in debt from school, and financial success, through work, was my primary goal in
life. It was only about a year into this that I took my first dance lesson. My
brother convinced me to go out to a Ballroom (The Metronome in San Francisco),
and take a West Coast Swing class.
Up until this point I had never really danced. Reflecting back upon
it, I can see that it was always in me, but up until this point, in my adult
life, I had adamantly
refused to dance a step. Ever since "Dancing School" that is. For those who
don't know, Dancing School is an institution you go to when you're in about
fifth grade, and can go all the way up to eighth (if you survive that long).
It's a school that teaches you the basic ballroom dances. You have to dress up
to go, the ladies wear white gloves, and I suppose I was somehow scarred by it
all. Maybe I was turned down for dances, maybe the dance teacher called me out
in front of the class, maybe something bad happened - whatever it was, I
honestly can't say. However, the painful result was, I didn't dance again - until that West
Coast Swing Class . . .
. . . and what a disaster it was. A complicated dance (to say
the least) I took it on and off for months and never got the hang of it. I
didn't really enjoy it, but it gave me my only social outlet at the time.
If I started taking it again now, I'm certain it would be far easier. Well,
shortly after I had started taking my excursions to the ballroom, my brother started talking about this guy, on Harrison Street, who taught
classes out of his home. My brother was all excited about it - "lots of people",
I think he said something about "Salsa Dancing". Well, even though he started
going quite a bit, and would talk about it from to time, I stuck with the ballroom -
and eventually started taking salsa dancing there. I took my first lesson, and
while I thought it was cool, but it wasn't until a week later, when I got my first
taste of real dancing, that it really took hold.
After one of my weekly lessons, my brother came by and convinced me to
come with him to a club to see this salsa teacher he had become friends with. This
guy, Alex da Silva. Alex had asked him to video tape his dance performance, and my
brother was doing it. Well, I decided to come along, more to drink and meet
women than to see any dance performance. Strange how that night really ended up
changing the direction of my life. Well, when I saw Alex (and his partner at
that time, Mariella, an accomplished, beautiful tango dancer), dance to the live
music of the Sol Y Luna band (fantastic band - their album is worth it, very
Gypsy Kings) - I was sold. It was speed, grace, beauty and passion. I was swept
away in the music, totally in awe of the dance, and yes, hungry (ok, choose a
better word) for the women (hell, I was only about 24).
For the next two years, as the startup really took off, I
was sneaking away at all hours to take lessons. For over a year, I would never
miss a Tuesday or a Thursday lesson at Albertos! I would sneak away from work,
take lessons, come back at eleven or twelve, and work until lord knows when. It
was a strange existence. But I was unleashed, and there was no putting me
back. I wouldn't take it back for
I went crazy on the social scene, having never really been
exposed to anything like that before. College is one thing, but Salsa
Dancing is absolute social bliss. At least at first, Salsa Dancing is quite
simply the easiest way for two people to meet each other that I've yet found in
this world. In a lesson situation, you're in each others arms in minutes.
Who could ask for anything more? I took every lesson - dated a lot, had a lot of
fun - and eventually, over time, learned to dance. These were two great
years (yes, it did take me two years to become comfortable and expressive with
It created a balance in my life that had been sorely
lacking, but more than that, it allowed me to express myself in a way that I had
always yearned for. It was like a missing piece of your life that you don't
know is missing until you find it. The music could actually take hold of me in
such a way that I would be totally transported. You've heard it before: "You and your partner become one,
a vibrant extension to the music". I felt complete - and my desire to dance. . .
well it just kept growing. It was like a voracious beast - I started losing my
interest in other things. Movies - forget it. Dinner's out, they could wait.
Hanging with friends - maybe next week. Career growth - someday. Spending all
my time at work, not likely . . . All I wanted to do was go dancing again!
Over the years, I saw (and continue to see) more and more
people like myself, that become completely swept away with Salsa Dancing. It
takes on a life of it's own. I can't predict any rhyme or reason to the people
whom it might affect. But when you meet them, you immediately share that bond.
I've met, and continue to meet, an unending stream of people who have been
likewise affected. I've traveled to the far ends of the world, and can confirm
that the bond is shared with people with whom you can't even communicate
verbally. It's universal! It's also remarkable how strong the bond
is, or can be.
Well, that was five years ago - and every day I consider
myself lucky, even blessed, that Salsa Dancing found it's way into my life. I
don't go out dancing like I once did, but it's still an important part of who I
am, and how I view the world. Since then, I've started new dances such as Tango
and Swing, but I still can't find exactly the same experience anywhere else.
The sensuality, the beauty, the grace, the connection (and of course, the music
beyond anything else) - it just takes hold of me like nothing
So, what about this website. It was born of passion - like
almost every other salsa site you'll find on the web. It didn't start with a
fancy business plan or venture capital. It starts from a desire to reach
others, to share the passion. And so - SalsaCrazy.Com, both as an extension of
myself and a dedication to the music, the musicians, the dance, dancers, and the
history (in no specific order) was born.
At the start, it was a way for a group of people to know
where to go - so we could all show up at the same place. Now, it's massive -
far beyond anything I could have contemplated when launching it. I hope you enjoy SalsaCrazy.Com! I sincerely hope it
conveys the passion, informs the tireless, helps new people uncover the essence,
and builds our Salsa community in such a way that we can all be proud.
You can always reach me at:
Oh, and yes, I still have that video tape that my brother
took (of the performance). Even now that I have long since been able to
perform all the moves, do all the tricks, it still leaves me in a bit of awe to
watch - and it makes me smile . . .Oh, and of course, if you see me out at the
clubs - you can always say hello!
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