PS: Don't worry, "Most Influencial Ladies" coming soon!
Now grab a drink and take a seat! Lots of amazing videos coming up!
The Mambo King - the man responsible for popularising the New York On2/Mambo style. Pretty much every reputed Salsa on2 instructor in the world today has learnt from him at some point. He's the mentor to the biggest names in the world salsa scene today - Adolfo Indacochea, Frankie Martinez, Shani Talmor and many many more! Him and his wife Maria used to regularly perfom with Tito Puente and his orchestra as the Tito Puente Dancers. And it was through his collaboration with a ballroom dancer, June Laberta, that his structured Eddie Torres on2 teaching system was created which allowed Mambo to be easily taught and spead. He truely is responsible for keeping the dance alive.
Here are a few videos of Eddie Torres and His Dance company performing:
The first time I read about him was in 2012 when I was planning to go to Prague for my first salsa congress. A lot of the workshops there by famous instructors like Magna Gopal and Super Mario were On2 and I had only been learning Salsa On1 for about a year and a half in Leeds. So I took to the internet forums and YouTube to get a basic level of knowledge so that I could sheepishly attend the on2 workshops and get something out of them. But, the first time I actually got a chance to learn from him was at the Croatian Summer Salsa Festival in 2013. I remember getting annoyed that all he wanted to teach was footwork! footwork! footwork! even though the workshop was supposed to be partnerwork and footwork. And shockingly enough, everyone else except me yelled "More footwork!!" when he asked if anyone wanted to do some partnerwork. Yes, I know, I was still a pattern hoarder who hadn't yet felt or understood how enjoyable and expressive mambo footwork really is! And it was through going to Eddie's workshops that I began to really enjoy that! "Ba-du-ba Ba-dum-da-ba-da Za-ba-da-ba-da Ba-da!!" I know a few of you will probably understand what that is, if you don't, you need to start hitting more congresses and attend his workshops!!
Check out this awesome video of an after-class demo by Eddie Torres and Shani Talmor
If Eddie Torres is the mambo king, to me, Adolfo seems to be the Mambo crown prince! As he's based in Milan now, where he runs his own dance school, he's probably the most popular instructor at European Salsa congresses. Its hard to build a strong lineup of instuctors if Adolfo is not on the list and there are events like Salsa Spring Break in Warsaw that pull in a lot of dancers by offering two whole days of workshops with just him and Juan Matos. He's also teaching a monthly On2 course in London these days which is organised by Robert and Jean White of MamboCity. His grand show Tribute to The Kings (dedicated to Tito Puente and Eddie Torres) has to be my favourite Salsa performance till date. He's known for his complex footwork workshops and inspiring Mambo performances.The part I enjoy the most in his workshops is the warm-up. He goes through tons of simple mambo shines for 2 or 3 high energy tracks which prepares you for whats coming up next! It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that by the end of the first 30 minutes of his Advanced workshops, only 75% are left on the dancefloor and only 50% by the end of it! If you want a real challenge, work your way up to his advanced footwork workshops. You'll love it even if you try but fail!
This is what a typical footwork combination with Adolfo and Tania looks like
Adolfo and Magna Gopal social dancing
Adolfo social dancing in Paris
Frankie Martinez is the Philosopher prince in my opinion. I finally got to attend some workshops with him at the Amsterdam Salsa Congress in Oct 2015. I had read a lot of articles/social networking posts by him, watched his interviews, shows on YouTube an have his famous body movement DVD. His workshops, however, were not exctly what I had expected! I had expected a serious and intense workshop. Intense, it was, but not so serious! He cracks a lot of jokes and explains a lot about his philosophy of movement. The workshops with him have made me rethink the fundamentals of my basic body movement, especially the core.
But the one thing that separates him from the rest is that he has a cult following! I frequently hear of already amazing dancers who decide to move to New York for several months to join his dance school and learn from him. If you watch any video of him dancing, you'll see straightaway that his style is very very different from any of the other leading dancers in the World. You will see his body move to the music and give you goosebumps. Yet, at times, you'd feel that the way he moves makes no sense at all and has no relation to the music. One of his famous quotes is about "being another instrument" and adding something your own to the music that you can hear.
Here's a sort of funny video of him social dancing:
A Frankie Martinez style Cha cha workshop
Here's a nice video of him social dancing. You'll very rarely ever see him do any complicated partnerwork but there's a lot of complexity in his subtle body movement:
7 Times world Salsa Champion Oliver Pineda is definitely my kind of teacher and dancer! I've been a fan of his style, moves and musicality from my very early days as a newbie salsa dancer. I then got his partnerwork and body movement DVDs from a friend and started adapting his moves to my dancing. The body movement DVD however was never really used until after I attended my first ever workshop with him in Hamburg. He prefers to focus on the basics and he says his favourite workshop to teach is body movement. His body movement workshop in Hamburg changed the way I dance and it wasn't until I repeated his basic technique workshops several times at other congresses, that it all felt truly assimilated with my dancing.
An awesome performance by Oliver Pineda and Luda Kroitor (looks semi/unchoreographed to me)
A body movement fundamentals workshop with Oliver Pineda
Oliver Pineda social dancing
If you watch him dance, you'll notice now clear and precise his feet movements are and how he adds contrast to his dancing with smooth moves as well as sharp breaks. I used to watch videos of him in on repeat before bedtime and I did learn a lot just by watching him perform and social dancing.
Words are just useless when desribing Terry. Just watch the videos below. I have attended a lot of workshops with Terry over the last two-three years and he always amazes me! Body movement, footwork, partnerwork - all very unique and really really Cool! First timers to his partnerwork workshops will be a bit puzzled when he asks 70-80 guys to literally squeeze into a single line shoulder to shoulder in front of the girls. But you'll soon see that there's method in this madness! I do find the way he runs his workshops quite challenging though. There's a lot of instruction and teaching to take in but not enough repetition for me. But if you manage to take in all that he's explaining, you'll learn a lot from just one class and with a bit of practice in your own time later, you'll be able to easily do the pattern. "IF" you listened to him in the workshop! And watch out for his big shoe if you're busy shmoozing! Ha ha!
Here's one of my favourite perfomances by Terry and Cecile. I remember that it was Philip Charles who showed me this video and I found out about Terry.
This one is probably his best social dancing video on YouTube:
And here's Terry showing you his spinning skillz!
I'm going to stop at Terry for now! Of course, there are many more amazing influencial people in the salsa world, and I'll hopefully manage to write a follow-up blog to talk about them too.
Blog on "Most Influencial Ladies in the Salsa World" coming soon!
See you on the dancefloor!