“Do you want to be a salsa DJ?” proposed Rahim in the spring of 2014, after my last long trip to Cuba. "I think you could do it".
“No way!” I responded. “I am a dancer, not a DJ”.
But over the next few months, I did a lot of research, I bought a ton of music, and I pestered other local DJ’s with questions about what they were playing. I finally decided that I could try playing a set.
Now, after several attempts, I’ve decided that yes I’m still a dancer, but picking out great music is another fun way to enjoy the evening. I was worried about having dance envy, but surprisingly, it wasn't an issue.
Other bonuses include that I can still rock out from time to time (on the dance floor or just behind the DJ table), and I can play a few extra Cuban songs (old and new). I’ve been really impressed by how everyone (mostly NY/LA dancers) in the Ottawa community has adapted some of the Cuban salsa and timba that I’ve played. Serious kudos!
A highlight from this past Friday was guest performer Walter Rivera (from Rivera dance studios) who did an amazing cha-cha-cha fusion performance. His footwork and musicality showed the breadth of his training and experience. Walter closed the party with us, was amazingly generous with his time, and brought a ton of energy to our Friday party. At some point, quite a few people had gathered to follow (or try to follow) Walter through various footwork patterns and afro-cuban movements including Chango and Elegua. No es facil...
So, a huge thank you to Rahim for suggesting that I try this DJ thing. One of the reasons Rahim’s Friday party is so successful, is because he is flexible and open to trying new things (whether it means bringing in new DJs or offering workshops in styles other than just salsa); week after week he packs the house.
I guess DJ La China (prounounced 'chee-na'), will have a a few more attempts at this. Admitedly, I'm in need of some better bachata music, any recommendations would be appreciated!
Thanks for all the support and stay tuned for upcoming events and news =)
Azucar’s Sexy Bachata Valentine’s Day Party
Next week, I’ll play a short set at Azucar’s Bachata Valentine’s Day Party alongside DJs Darnell La Cruz and Jeff Huang at Pressed cafe. If you are available and looking for an activity for Saturday night, join us for some food, a sexy bachata workshop, and of course, for dancing.
Here is the invite for more info: https://www.facebook.com/events/339011386304767/
Montreal Social Dancing: Feb 27-29; Titosalsabor, Moka and Nuit Blanche
I also wanted to take this opportunity to mention a dance excursion to Montreal, Feb 27-29. There is no cost to attend, I’m just trying to get a group together for some social dancing =)
This includes Friday’s night's Cuban Social at Tito Salsabor, and Moka’s afternoon social on Saturdays. And with the energy you have left, we can explore the city’s free all night art installations courtesy of Nuit Blanche. Cover for each is $5 for each dance event.
Lastly, if there is interest, I would really love to arrange a class with Montreal instructor, Walter Rivera in footwork, musicality, and/or pachanga.
That will take a bit more planning, so perhaps we can't pull it off this trip, but if you are interested, please send me an email (the sooner the better).
Here's the Facebook invite: