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Originally posted on Salsaweb NY
|NY Social Dances grow in Popularity
by Manny Siverio
Delille Thomas and Glenda performing a dance number for those who attended his originall successful Merry Mambo Social Dance a few years back.
Social Dancing has been a regular part of the New York Mambo Scene for some time. Jimmy Anton's Latin Sunday Social has been the most successful and longest running of these events (held the 1st & 3rd Sunday of every month at the Dance Manhattan Dance Studio); followed closely by Bernard Martinez's Mambo Caliente Social Dance. But the success of Jimmy Anton's Social Dance, Delille Thomass Seasonal Social Dance and Bernard Martinez's Mambo Caliente Social Dance have sparked others to do the same. The most recent to join the trend is Thomas Guerrero with his Santo Rico Social dance. For some instructors, its an opportunity to help their newer students get their "feet wet" in a dancing environment. These instructors realize (perhaps from self-experience) that new students may be too shy to strut their stuff at local mambo clubs. So the social dance scene is a relatively simple way of giving them the experience and courage to go out there on their own. For others, it may an opportunity to help promote their school among the local NY mambo dance community. Most of the original Social Dances I know of started on Sundays, but many of the newer ones like Delille's seasonal event (Winter, Fall, Spring, Summer) and Bernard Martinez's Mambo Caliente currently target a Saturday night crowd (thus offering them an alternative to Dance Club scene).
|WHY SOCIAL DANCES?
Besides dancing Salsa/Mambo at local dance clubs (like the Copacabana & Latin Quaters), there are a series of dance activities held throughout the New York City area call Social Dances. Social Dances are the perfect alternative for those looking to go out mambo dancing but wish to avoid the local club scene. With Social Dances you avoid the smoke filled, over crowded pick-up atmosphere associated with dance clubs. You get the space to dance in and you hang with other people who just want to do the same thing you do: DANCE.
A happy Delille Thomas has made his seasonal social dance an on-going event
These social events held each week gather mambo students and their friends for a couple of hours of fun, practice and mingling. Whats cool about them is that you can come as you please (I normally like to wear sweats & sneakers cause I go to dance my butt off), practice whatever new turns youve recently learned on some poor unsuspecting partner and possibly pick up some turns in return. The sense of pressure to do well which sometimes is associated with clubs is not present here. You are there to dance, plain and simple.
For the most part everyone ends up dancing with almost everyone there. And if you are a good dancer....watch out!!!!!, cause people will be lining up to dance with you. By the way fellas, girls are very aggressive in NY. If they think you are a good dancer, theyll just come right up to you and ask you for the next dance. Whats great about these events is that it gives you a chance to meet others who like you love to mambo. You get to network, find out which spots are hot and which are not. Bottom line the more people you meet, the less hassle youll have finding people to dance with at clubs cause youre bound to know someone you can break the ice and dance with.
Click here for further information on dates for these Social Dances on SalsaNewYork's Calendar of Events Page (the ultimate page for NY "On 2" dance events). By the way, if you end up going to one of these events for the first time, tell them that Manny sent you.
Below you'll find my original take of the NY social dance scene when I first discovered it several years ago.
If you want to read more about the Grand-Daddy of all NY Socials then surf on over to my review of Jimmy Anton's Social.
Take on the NY Social Dance Scene
Social dances are a great place to work out the kinks in your new turn patterns. You can practice and practice and practice and not care how many times you screw up because people are not there to show off, but to HAVE FUN. The key word here people is fun. Let me say that again, the key word to remember when it comes to social dances folks is FUN!!!!!!! If you're not having it, then chances are its not a very good social dance. There should be no sense of pressure or tension. You just go there, let yourself go, dance, enjoy yourself and have fun (plain and simple). And if you're really lucky you can pick up a turn pattern or two and even get to practice them on some poor unsuspecting victim ( ... I mean partner). (all in good fun).
The dress code at social dances is another plus (there isn't any). People go there in anything from sweats and sneakers to slacks and shirts. I myself favor the sweat pants, t-shirt and sneaker attire. To me its like doing an aerobic workout so I dress the part (not to mention that I bring along several dry t-shirts to change into and a towel to stay dry). I find that my partners like me better when I'm not damp with my own sweat.
Like I said earlier, Social Dances are a great place to mingle and meet other die hard salseros like yourself. You can get to network with others who share the same love in dancing and in music. Find out what places are hot and which bands are playing where.
Well I hope that this page has watered your mambo taste buds enough to check out the Social Dance Scene. Look forward to sharing the dance floor with you real soon. - Sincerely, Manny