Saturday, February 26, 2005

Watched Lady Salsa yesterday night. It's a showcase about salsa as shown through the history of Cuba and the life story of Trinidad Rolando, Lady Salsa herself. I had fun but it didn't grab me as much as I thought it would. I guess it was because the quality of the dancers wasn't consistent; some were excellent, while others were below average... and it showed. The music was rather enjoyable. At the very least, it sounded varied enough for me to refrain from my usual complaint about salsa music.

A reviewer from the local paper said that while the show will not doubt please everyone who watches it, she felt that due to duration the dancers have been away from Cuba on tour, that some of the passion has been lost, compared to the time she saw them in Genting. I don't have a basis for comparison, but I'm going to have to agree with her because I felt a little detached for some parts of the show, despite their introducing my beloved big band music into some segments. On the whole, I had an enjoyable time, especially when they were getting the audience dancing.

I had been quite excited about the show given the rave reviews it got in London while I was still there. I have just visited the show's official site and saw that a reviewer from The Independent in 2001 said "In case I should ever find myself unchaperoned in some low dive in Santiago de Cuba, I now know how to say "I no want sleep with you" without fear of misunderstanding or reproach. Should a lady's dancing partner suddenly make an unwelcome pass midway through the salsa, she should pointedly cover her crotch with both hands in a sudden, coy movement, while saucily raising her eyebrows and inverting her knees, all without breaking the rhythm of the dance." Now, that definitely didn't occur during any part of the show I was watching. And apparently, Trinidad is known as the queen of erotic Salsa in Cuba. Perhaps that's another reason why I was anticipating more than what was given to us.

One thing I am taking away from the show though... I want to learn the authentic street salsa now, not the ballroom-ised version that they teach in classes. I don't know what it's called, but it's the salsa that you're supposed to see on the streets of Cuba, like what Diego Luna did in Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights.

"When you take dancing lessons, you learn steps and you learn steps and you learn steps. It can go on for a long time. And then one day, you just learn to dance, and it is so different."
- Bill Austin

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