On Saturday I competed for the University of Manchester in the Liverpool University Dancesport competition; I thought I’d share with you my experiences of the day and give you an insight into the rhinestone-filled world of competitive ballroom and latin!
Fashion doesn’t really have a place in my profession (Student and Scientist) so on the weekend I love to get dressed up if I’m going out! This isn’t a fashion blog but every now and again I’ll share with you some of my favourite pieces, as I love fashion inspired by Cuba and South America and I find it’s a great way to brighten your day in this grey and rainy city!
I went for afternoon tea yesterday with some friends (yes, I’m British, I love tea, we all do!), in this fantastic Alice in Wonderland-themed tea rooms (Richmond Tea Rooms, Manchester – would highly recommend). This gave me the opportunity to wear my new palm tree print shirt which I got from Le Boutique in Manchester. I enjoyed dressing it up yesterday with black trousers and jacket with white heels and is something that I would even wear for more formal days at work, however rare! It would just as easily work untucked with jeans and flip flops for a more casual look though.
When I used to teach salsa, ladies often used to ask me what they should wear or if I could recommend dresses etc for salsa nights, so I’ll start giving my outfits a dance rating, that is, how easy and comfortable they would be to dance in…
Dance rating: 7/10
I often dance in a shirt and these trousers, so this combo would work, however even on a sunny day in Manchester yesterday I was so warm and I think you would melt unless it was a really well air-conditioned venue!
Let me know what you think or if you have any recommendations of anything similar that you think I should check out! :)
I am writing this post as Day One of The Daily Post Blogging 101 course. I know I’m a little late but I’m completely new to blogging and this seems like a great place to start! So here goes…
My name is Sophie, I am 22 years old and I live in the city of Manchester in the UK. By day I am studying for a PhD in Biochemistry but by night, and just about any spare second of my day, I am a Latin American dancer. My passion is Latin American music and culture and I dance constantly, which can be embarrassing at times as I often get caught busting some shapes to the radio in the lab when I think no-one is watching!
I loved salsa music from an early age and went to my first salsa dance class at the age of 14. Despite the fact that this was with my Dad, who has the unfortunate medical condition of two left feet, I took to salsa straight away. 8 years later, I’m still going; there’s just something about the rhythm that I find iresistable! At university in Liverpool I started up the University of Liverpool Salsa Society which was loads of fun. Through teaching 3 classes a week mostly in Cuban salsa but also including merengue, bachata, zouk and kuduro amongst others, I had found a way to share my experience and passion for dance with others and to this day the improvement and enjoyment of my pupils is one of my proudest achievements.
Having moved to Manchester last summer I now just dance socially for the pure enjoyment of it, and what a fantastic city Manchester is to be a salsa dancer! Through this blog I hope to share with you my experiences of dancing in the North West along with dance tips, music and other interesting aspects of life in this vibrant city. I hope that this blog will be useful to fellow dancers and also to any of you who are interested in trying salsa or letting some Cuban flavour into your lives. It would be great to hear from other dancers about your experiences of dancing where you live and any tips and tricks you may be able to share with me, as one of the joys of dancing is that you never stop learning!
There aren’t many similarities which spring to mind between Manchester,’The Rainy City’, and Havana, Cuba. In fact I can’t think of a single one. Sure, with plentiful shops, nightlife, universities and football teams, Manchester has it’s perks and I fell in love with it as soon as I moved here last summer. But for a salsa dancer whose heart longs for the latin beats and sunny streets of La Habana, Manchester’s eternal rain and incessant obsession with Oasis can somewhat dampen your spirits, quite literally. It was time to find somewhere where I put on my dancing shoes and let my hair down, pronto. With a little investigation it became clear that Manchester does in fact have a Latin side which it hides from the shoppers and day-trippers. A whole variety of Latin nights and classes catering for a wide variety of abilities and dance styles are available for Mancunians to try something new, improve techniques or simply enjoy hitting the dancefloor.
Having been a regular at Liverpool’s infamous ‘La Casa’ throughout my university years I am no stranger to the salsa world. Arriving every Thursday I would instantly be surrounded by friends and familiar faces, even the bar staff would know my drink order before I did. Here in Manchester my passion for salsa is not shared by my friends and even as an experienced dancer I was daunted by the thought of turning up to a bar and not knowing anyone. Who wouldn’t be?
Turns out I needn’t have worried. Mancunians are the friendliest people I have ever met. Within minutes of arriving in the Cuban dancehall-themed basement of Peter Street’s Revolution de Cuba one Wednesday I was invited to dance and by the end of the evening had made several new friends who shared my love of all things salsa. With a dancefloor packed with people twirling away to the Cuban beats and often a live band I had discovered my own piece of Havana in the heart of Manchester.
What I like the most about Salsa Social at RDC is the diversity of people and abilities. While there are are many experienced dancers who can head straight for the dancefloor there are also complete beginners trying out moves learned in the class beforehand, and both are equally as welcome. There are also those who ‘do not dance’ who prefer to have a drink (the rum selection is fantastic!) and just enjoy the atmosphere, many of whom are drawn down from the bar upstairs by the irresistible beats and sheer curiosity.
My advice to those wondering if they should try salsa would be to just give it a go! We’re a friendly bunch and once you start to feel the beat you’ll be hooked, I promise. See you there next Wednesday!