Attending a Flash Mob

Image result for flash gordon

I’d seen the “flash mob” craze on my social media feed from time to time, and had the ambition in the back of my mind to participate in one.

Flash mob: a large public gathering at which people perform an unusual or seemingly random act and then disperse, typically organised by means of the Internet or social media.

Having experienced some writers block; It was a gift from the Salsa / Blog gods that beamed a salsa flash mob invite to my Facebook feed.

Kevin Sharkey, pictured above, had all the gear. The most impressive being a chest rig that looked like something Christian Bale would wear in a Batman film. 

The mob was to mob outside the Pitcher & Piano. A dozen hardcore dancers had shown up, familiar faces that would walk through fire for a hard wood floor and decent sound system.

The general brief for the whole show was mill around, don’t be obvious and as soon as you hear the tune… go.

Oddly, despite a huddling of people around some camera equipment, no-one really batted an eyelid. That being said, its a popular haunt for photographers, film students and news crews. Especially near the bridge.

Once Fonzi’s Despacito (the Justin Bieber version, unfortunately) started playing the dancers started doing their thing and a large crowd formed.

I don’t think anyone really struggled with being watched, as most of the dancers would be used to bar patrons gawking by now. Plus we had the added bonus of 99% of the Sunday strollers wouldn’t be dancers themselves and wouldn’t pick apart our flawless free-styling.

The music was hard to hear at times, as it was an open space. Even the shuffling of shoes on concrete seemed to be on par with the tunes. I think the tracks chosen where popular enough that we all had it engraved in our minds anyway. It did make it a little challenging. Everyone seemed to be given it 100%, and where looking great.

All in all it was a short a sweet experience. I’d rate this two del canos and a mojito out of five shimmys (that’s three mambo and a shot if you’re measuring it in cross-body).

Personally, this was one off my bucket list and a nice thing to report. Well worth dragging my partner out of bed and running from Central Station to make it.

Promoting the scene is always good, and hopefully they’ll be a few dozen people punching queries for dance classes and socials into their smartphones after that surprise performance!

Improve Your Salsa at home using The Billy Idol (TM) method

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to attend a Salsa social every night to hone their sweet routines and shines (well, unless you live in Newcastle of course in which case you can shimmy every night of the week).

Or sometimes the other half is doing their hair or swearing at an engine in the garage.

There is no I in TEAM but there is an I in ‘Partnered Dancing’. So there’s usually some element of solo work.

Before you throw in the towel – the one hanging from your back pocket – and slip into the onesie you can always make like an 80’s Pop Idol and dance by yourself.

Oh oh, Dancing with a-myself,
Oh, oh, dancing with myself
Well, there’s nothing to lose
And there’s nothing to prove, well,
Dancing a-with myself
– Billy Idol

Timing

Find The One

Hanging round the dance floor, waiting for the One, we’ve all been there. Your dance partner has been to the bar twice and you’re still trying to pick up the rhythm.

If only you’d spent those ad breaks during your Come Dine With Me binge to train your ear! Instead you where scrolling Instagram, and here you are attracting the attention of other salsa dancers who are debating whether or not you are in need of medical attention as you try to catch the beat.

There’s an abundance of material on the web (especially YouTube, just search “Salsa Timing” or something) detailing musicality and timing.

You can watch all the videos in the world, but it don’t mean squat unless you train yourself to find the beat. Obviously listening to the music for pleasure will help bucket loads in and of itself, but consciously trying to find the beat in your head will train your ear and mind and will help you so much on the dance floor.

You don’t even have to move off the sofa. You could do this now, you could literally do it now whilst you’re reading this fantastic article.

Footwork

Footloose, but don’t kick of those Sunday Shoes!

If you didn’t guess from the punny header – continuing with the 80’s pop theme, the next section is going to encourage you to practice your footwork.

I’m bored of writing about people taking tiny steps, because now I think people are actively lunging in a shady silent protest. But now your tiny apartment, garage or living room can now aid your positioning and footwork.

A smaller space forces you to not only be creative in a smaller space, but is good practice.

Even partnered routines can be practiced alone, even if you just focus on your form and footwork. Not only can you commit these to muscle memory, freeing up your upper body, but it will also improve your balance.

I know your balance is “OK” now, but you’ll be thankful you’ve trained a little extra on it after your third Rum and Coke and your feet have got it licked even when your mind is still working out what song is on.

Shimmy

Its a nice day for a …. Shimmy

If you’ve been taking a couple years worth of Salsa Lessons and still can’t shimmey then this is for you.

Yes you. Johnny / Madame Gorilla Shoulders.

Unless you’re the Abominable Snowman you probably have some control of movement in your shoulders.

This is your time, you can finally practice the shimmey, body rolls and that fruity hand thing (where it looks like you’re holding a tiny egg) without mockey and judgment.

Unless your better half is trying to watch Come Dine With Me that is, and they’re all like “Sit Down”, “What are you doing?”, “I’m going in the other room, this is weird”.

Again, there’s loads of material on-line (outside this goldmine, obviously). I bet you’ve even covered some form of body isolation in a workshop. But never practiced it.

Well, here’s the time to do it!

I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror!

Well, I’m gonna wrap this article up with one final tortured lyrical reference.

If you don’t have the luxury of a large mirror,
you can always prop your phone up and set it to record.

You can
dance like no-ones watching then curl up and revel in the cringe factor
afterwards!

Socials vs Parties

What is the difference between a Salsa Social and a Salsa Party?

Its a valid question, and one that I could not answer.

It began when I was trying to explain what the difference between a Latin Party and a “Social”. Most classes lead into an hour or two of social dancing, with a DJ.

There is no tangible difference, if you break it down using deductive logic.

Both events will have a DJ who plays Latin music, and it will probably take place in a venue where you have had classes.

I think the difference is an internal one.

What makes a “party”, is the decision to make it one.

It got me thinking though…

If a group of people can turn something routine into an exciting event just by choosing to – then how many other of life’s mundane events can be filled with the same zest and life as a party just because we chose to make it that way?

Obviously people dress differently, and let loose a little.

But that’s the decision, and I believe the party has no difference for an observer externally (well, maybe the new shoes and outfits) but its the internal difference in the dancers themselves.

So why not take that same party attitude to your next class, or even to your workplace or next time you meet up with family?

I was going to play a cheeky remark here for comedy – about how I’d advise the reader not to form a conga line at work or shimmying in Tescos – but I actually believe life would be awesome.