For the past five years, I have been turning to online content to find inspiration from those that are geographically far but have lessons to teach. Although I believe that the London scene is home to many creative dancers after a while you need new input from new places.

I do not watch Salsa shows which are planned and rehearsed but I do watch social dancing which is in the moment, spontaneous and more connected. This clip is of Joel Dominguez (based in New York City and founder of Dance with Feeling and one of my favourite dancers) and Shani Talmor (former Eddie Torres dance partner and dancers I have not had the pleasure to dance with).

The first thing that I love about this clip is the song Pongase Duro by La Salsa Mayor. I fell in love with this song when Jamil Bacha used it in his musicality class and I have loved it ever since. I now use Pongase Duro in my classes to demonstrate “another way” of dancing as there is too much opportunity for playfulness and, in my opinion, is a good way to stop your students from going into random turn patterns.

Back to the video. I love the dynamics in Joel’s dancing and the space that he creates for his partner. It is as if Joel offers silent invitations to his partner to express great parts of the music. As Salsa dancers, we try to dance in rhythm and accent portions of a song, however, we generally accent a very small portion of any Salsa song. We pick and choose what to groove to and what to accent in the music and Joel’s accent choices within this song are awesome.

Shani is also fantastic to watch in this video and represents what I think most leaders want. Playfulness is the ability to follow and more importantly to just go with the flow. Shani, without hesitation, seizes the moments when she is given space and is immediately ready when Joel approaches.

Social dancing is not about perfection but about having fun with music. It is not a test on how many moves you can fit into a song, who you can impress with your latest material, how much of the music you can accent or my favourite how much energy and sweat you can expend. For me, the beauty of Salsa social dancing is connecting with a partner and enjoying the music together and this Joel and Shani do beautifully in this video.

My favourite portion is the few seconds around 1:01 where Joel hits a break, pauses, smiles and then the next move looks like it could have been choreographed as it just looked perfect, creating space, inviting Shani to react and she does. It just looks so easy and fun.

I hope you watched the video and liked what you saw. Let me know what you think.

Toan Hoang

Written by Toan Hoang

Toan Hoang has been dancing Salsa for more than 10 years and was the co-founder and managing director of TNT Dance in London; A dedicated and holistic Mambo school, that thrives on innovation, and hopes to develop and inspire the next generation of instructors and performers.

1 Comment

Wendy Lee

Hi Toan
I am a big fan of your writing and posts re: salsa and updates. Please keep me on your mailing list.


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