HOW TO BUILD A HOUSE? ONE BRICK AT A TIME - Next bailando May 9th!

Hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful Sunday weather; it seems (fingers crossed) that spring is finally upon us, and Ottawa folks welcomed it with open arms.  The streets in centre town were packed with people excited to wear shorts and t-shirts, having their first afternoon beers on a patio this year.

I've fallen a bit off the cart with my weekly blogging, but not for lack of things to do or write about, but more to focus on the film.  The first cut of my film on Cuban rumba is almost ready; I'm thrilled (and relieved). Thrilled, not just about the content, although I'm happy with it, but more because I was never quite convinced I'd actually get to this point.  When I returned from Cuba with 20 hours of footage, over a hundred of clips and sound files, all I felt was overwhelm.  I guess the lesson from all of this is a simple one.  How to build a house?  One brick at a time.  The first viewing is at SAW video on May 14, 2015; details to follow.


After two successful Bailando parties (March 13 & April 4), the next is scheduled for May 9th!  Back is the 1.5 hour kizomba social (with DJ Addiction from A2K) followed by a three hour salsa social.  Check us out from 4:00 pm till 8:30!


CY-IWANDER/DJ LA CHINA present Ottawa’s newest latin dance social:

Ever experience the sheer joy of a fabulous latin social?  Of course you have! How about on a Saturday afternoon in Ottawa?  In Havana, we call this the matinee party!

Get your afternoon dance fix at Bailando, Ottawa's new Saturday afternoon latin dance social. 

Bailando will keep you dancing into the early evening, to the best of salsa, kizomba, bachata, and cha-cha-cha with DJ La China and guest DJs


Do you want to be a salsa DJ?

“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:


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: