Friday, October 27, 2006

Or not

Shame about Risa last night - the sound system downstairs was broken so we had to stay upstairs. At least the floor was a lot cleaner this week.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Yesss! The free dancing at Risa will continue to be in the downstairs bar, and it's now free. I think that now officially makes Thursday the best salsa night in Cardiff.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I've decided to use my real name on this blog. Most people know who I am by now so a pseudonym is a bit pointless.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Saturday at the Burleigh Academy wasn't a great night out. I was relieved when Andy turned up with his CDs as I couldn't take any more easy listening music. I started off dancing with Helen, who did an excellent job of staying upright and keeping smiling on a skating rink: the new floor was very slippery. Unfortunately when the band came on they didn't play much salsa and didn't play much that was danceable. At one point it became surreal: they announced "We're going to do the salsa" and an old man in a tropical shirt and straw hat led a kind of conga line while the band played "Everybody Salsa" (which isn't a salsa song).

They played a couple of chachacha numbers which got a few people on the floor, and then there was an interval while Andy did another lesson and then we got to dance to his CDs again. Nice to dance with Liz and Teresa who I hadn't seen for ages. A couple of songs into the interval they started on "Mambo Bueno" so I thought somebody - me and Liz - should dance, but it was a bit disconcerting to get the spotlight turned on us (fortunately it not for long). That was pretty much it for danceable tracks, and very soon everyone headed for La Tasca which was a lot more fun. Shame, because the venue has a lot of potential.

I heard that Pontyclun on Friday was great. Irene's running a Christmas party there on December 22nd.

There's also a Christmas party at Tiger Tiger on November 30th with Nigel Maye, organised by Tammi.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Oh well

I really was intending to start back on Spanish this year - I even went last week. When it came to it last night I just couldn't face sitting in a classroom for two hours after a day at work. Particularly as it's on a Thursday this year. I'm going to have to find another answer, maybe a combination of private lessons and a language exchange.

It was definitely the right decision. Despite the heat I thoroughly enjoyed the lesson in Bar Risa: the 'leading without touching' exercise was very entertaining and the last move of the night was a cracker. Even better, we all went downstairs for the free dancing which made so much difference: working air conditioning and a great atmosphere. I hope free dancing downstairs is going to be a regular thing now. Last night a few good dancers also came back after the summer, so I had some really good dances despite the sticky floor.

I'm not at Pontyclun tonight as you may have gathered: I decided three nights in a run is too much. Definitely planning to go to Burleigh Hall tomorrow, and then head on to La Tasca. I heard today that some people are planning to go from Burleigh Hall to Bath, which sounds a bit excessive - when I emailed the venue they said the band will be playing till midnight.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Salsa Bangor

My work involves travelling around Wales a fair bit, so I'm always on the lookout for a salsa event nearby. A couple of years ago I had a good time at a couple of nights in Bangor. There's a site now (see link above), which I assume is run by the same people.

If anyone knows of any other regular salsa nights in other bits of Wales I'd be interested to know, and I'll list them here.

Just noticed that there's yet another event on Saturday night - Stevie is running a reggaeton night at Fiesta Havana. I don't mind reggaeton later on at La Tasca when nobody's watching and I've danced away my inhibitions, but a whole night of it is a bit too much for me. I was assured the other night that I'm not too old for it (I hope she wasn't just being kind).

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lots of salsa

Loads of stuff coming up this week. Kate's rueda workshop starts in Tiger Tiger on Wednesday night; Thursday is Risa; on Friday Irene has a night at Pontyclun Rugby Club; Saturday there's a choice of Descarga Cubana in Newport, the Claverton Rooms in Bath, or La Tasca.

I went to O'Neills on Monday for the first time in ages, and had a good time. Actually I don't think John played a duff track, though as usual the mood is mellower than Andy's venues. Nice to be somewhere with good airconditioning and a non-sticky floor (though parts of the floor were actually a bit too well-polished).

Spanish evening class meant that I got to Risa too late to join in Andy's class. As Kate's class was short of men I joined in there. I could actually hear that Kate's feet were sticking to the floor. They really must get their cleaning sorted out.

It's quite useful dancing with improvers as it certainly makes you think about the lead. It also helps you to identify who's going to be good to dance with in the future: one girl in particular stood out as a really good, light follower and I'll be asking her for a dance in the free dancing the next time I see her.

The free dancing was fun but really hot again. As I was leaving - at just after half eleven - Lee and Kevin were arriving, having just been to tango class. Kevin said it was really useful for the lead (though from what women have said to me I'm surprised that his lead needs any improvement).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wednesday nights

Que Pasa on a Wednesday night has been cancelled, which means the end of salsa in what was once the most popular venue in Cardiff on Thursday, responsible in my case for a lot of unproductive Fridays.

This means that Kate's rueda course, which starts next week, will now be at Tiger Tiger in Greyfriars Road. If you want to book see her at La Tasca tonight. If you need her contact details get in touch with me by clicking on the 'About me' where you'll find my email. (I don't publish individuals' direct contact details here in case they get deluged with spam.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Descarga Cubana

Bit of a clash with the next Claverton Rooms: a ten-piece Latin band are playing the Burleigh Academy in Newport on 21 October. Think I'll go to that as it's a lot closer (and then go on to La Tasca afterwards).

Details here

The band's website doesn't seem to work at the moment, but according to Google's cached version they play "Nuyorican Salsa, Cha-cha-cha, mambo and Bossa with a splash of jazz and funk" despite their name (which means 'Cuban jam').

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Salsa Noir

I couldn't make it on Friday - completely stuffed after a heavy week and the drive back from Wrexham. Apparently there were very few people there, but with a good contingent from Cardiff. Stevie's had to cancel the remaining events. Shame, as I was looking forward to the Cuban one. I think it may just be that Friday is a bad night - nobody has succeeded in sustaining a Friday night in Cardiff, for example.

I did get to La Tasca, though, and had a great time despite the lack of room. It's a bit limiting but it makes you concentrate on the basics rather than being flashy. Nice bit of serendipity at one point - I invented a move while compensating for a lead being misinterpreted due to lack of space and got a "nice" - trouble is I can't remember exactly what I did now.

Friday, October 06, 2006


I was up in Wrexham from Sunday until last night. I bought the Evening Leader in a failed attempt to find out what was on in town on Monday night. Actually I think it was a successful attempt: there wasn't anything on. One of the bigger stories concerned a local couple who were attempting to sell an empty Pot Noodle carton on Ebay.

My work in Wrexham could best be described as 'challenging' - rewarding but draining - so I really needed a dance by Tuesday night. Bouverie in Chester sounded good. Twenty minutes from Wrexham to Chester by car, and at least another twenty minutes trying to negotiate the Byzantine complexity of the one-way system.

The Bouverie is a smoky but reasonably slick pub in studentland with friendly bar staff. I was starving by the time I eventually found it so I decided to forgo the first class in favour of getting my blood sugar up to a sensible level. Very tasty the fajitas were, too.

Tom and Kwai's intermediate class was very well-organised. It helped that there were only two couples in the class, and they rotated constantly with both teachers dancing with punters. This meant that Kwai was able to spot the bits of Cuban technique I was having trouble with and discreetly mention them to Tom who could teach me through them.

The moves were taught in bite-sized turn patterns of no more than four measures, and the class started with the most difficult one (setenta moderna): in other words, unlike most salsa classes it actually got easier as it went along. We repeated each turn pattern until all of us had it more or less up to speed (they went patiently at the pace of the slowest, which unfortunately as a non-Cuban dancer was me), and then at intervals during the lesson the turn patterns were integrated into a rueda.

By the end of the lesson I was feeling at least halfway competent at dancing in circles, and quite exhilarated (I love rueda, and good Cuban dancing is really funky). I had a couple of good dances in the free dancing afterwards - I'd like to have stayed later than half ten but wisdom prevailed. Friendly, encouraging, and effective teaching: I've actually got a good reason to look forward to the next time I have to work in Wrexham.

Actually, there's another one: Perelli's restaurant, which I discovered when looking for somewhere decent to eat on Wednesday night. A cracking salad nicoise, friendly service, and - unexpectedly - a soundtrack of samba, salsa and boogaloo.

Unfortunately I was completely wiped out after the drive back last night so I missed Risa. I'm hoping to get to Salsa Noir tonight, though.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Some good stuff coming up at Fiesta Havana in October, including Helena and Nicolai on the 11th, and Moe Flex and Helena on the 25th. Mauricio Reyes is on the 18th - never seen him teach but one of my favourite dancers says he's both a good teacher and a very nice guy. I won't be going to the ones later in the month because they clash with Kate's rueda workshop.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Good week

Risa? Sticky floor (apparently it'll be better next week) and an invasion of freshers, but it was still a good night. I need to take three T-shirts next time - two wasn't enough. That air conditioning really is inadequate, but it doesn't really seem to matter too much when I'm enjoying myself.

La Tasca is difficult to predict. A couple of weeks ago there was a distinct shortage of women and I left early. Last night it was great, with the welcome return of Laura (who I assumed had left Cardiff) and Anita, back from Japan. I had a lot of fun and I managed to successfully try out a bachata thing I found on YouTube.

I stayed far too late and I've got to drive up to Wrexham this afternoon where I'm working until Thursday : ( I'm hoping to be back in time for Risa. I'm also planning to get to Salsa Noir (click on 'Events' on the Salsamania site) on the Friday - it's about time I checked that out.