There are a lot of salsa dancers out there who live, breath, eat, drink and sleep salsa. All their vacations involve congresses or at the very least visiting all the local socials and clubs, or getting a private lesson with the local “salsalebrity.” They spend every single night at the club and many evenings in lessons or practice with their company. Salsaholics go shopping meaning to buy serious work clothes and end up in Forever 21 getting a cute new outfit for dancing (not that I would know anything about this). They spend hours procrastinating at work, trolling the salsa events websites, commenting on the discussion boards, and watching grainy video footage of socials and congresses on YouTube.
Salsaholics know they don’t need to call their friends in advance to see who’s going out that night because they know their friends will be there. Heck, they don’t even need to consult about which club they’re going to, because they all know which one is best for which night. Even I, the “old married lady,” who just goes out once in a blue moon these days, hardly bother to call or text anyone when I am able to go out because I know when I go that, just like at Cheers, everyone knows my name. Salsaholics unknowingly tap the clave out on their steering wheel at red lights and subtly move their feet in the rhythm of basics and shines while standing in line. In short, it consumes their very being.
But wait! There is a group out there giving salsaholics a run for their money… and that group is tango dancers. In my short career as a blogger in the dance world, I can tell you with absolute certainty that there are more blogs about tango than any other style of dance. These people are obsessed! To say that some are more interesting to me (as a non-tango dancer) than others would be an understatement. There’s a lot of self-reflection and minutiae being written about that I’m sure you just have to be one of them to understand. Not that we salseros don’t have these sorts of discussions… take ye olde on1 vs on2 debate. Does anybody else know or care what this is about?
I’ve posted before about the lack of salsa-oriented blogs out there. Since then, despite the low response I got to that post, I have learned about a few more.
Specifically, there are six active salsa blogs that I know of:
Addicted 2 Salsa (la creme de la creme— an excellent, high-caliber combination of instructional videos, intelligent discussion of various issues, and a new, multi-user format that allows anyone to post to the blog and decide which posts stay up due to their relevance and quality)
Toronto Dance Salsa (from the perspective of a salsa teacher in Toronto)
Salsa Gigolo (a brand new one by a passionate salsa and bachata dancer, and quickly becomeing one of my favorites)
Salsa in DC blog (an entertaining mix of local DC salsa news/commentary, videos, creative writing, advice, and opinion)
Salsa Dude (pretty straightforward accounts of events attended by a salsero in the UK)
and of course, yours truly (though this blog could not be considered 100% salsa, more like 50%)
Still, we can’t hold a candle to the tango blogging community. What do you think the reason is? Are salseros too busy dancing and experiencing life to trifle with recording their lives and interests on a blog? Are salseros less tech savvy? (There are a lot of websites out there, albeit largely promotion-related, but most have not caught up with the RSS feed trend). Does the development of a tango dancer involve more navel-gazing? What is going on?
I’d love to know what you think, and encourage comments from salseros and tango dancers alike (along with interested interlopers).
On a related note, the NY Times today has an article about a spontaneous weekly gathering of tango dancers in Central Park. Now granted, this is the kind of thing that only happens in New York City (and most likely Buenos Aires for all I know), but I wish the salsa community in DC would have some sort of free weekly outdoor thing, like at Dupont Circle. Something like this presents the beauty of the dance and the unique aspects of the subculture to the community at large. No doubt more than a few people walking by would be inspired enough to start learning on their own. It also shows what a fun and healthy activity social dancing is, and that while it can be seen as “sexy” it is also a way to connect in a fun and respectful way with others, be they acquaintances or strangers.