Highlights of Toronto's Salsa 2006

by Rose Knows, Toronto

911 - Unity Against Terrorism!


December 28, 2006

Countdown to the New Year!

With the mildest winter we've had in awhile, it's been great seeing many dancers (new and old) out in the clubs dancing up a storm!

As always, it's that time of the year where you spend time socializing and catching up with your friends and family. It's also a time for reflection about how you'd like to kick-start the New Year...

This past year for me, it's been all about balance -- how to fit the right amount of salsa into my life without taking away from some of my other goals. It's been a challenging journey from living and breathing the world of Salsa a few years ago to finding time to doing everything I love about Salsa; including the dance, music, writing and updating the website without it consuming the balance of my life. Am I there yet? Well, not quite, but getting close.

Looking back on some of my articles, it's nice to see that alot of the negative dancers have disappeared from the scene and/or learned to respect other dancers; and in 2003, I put together Salsa New Year Resolutions, and they still hold true today...

1. Remember to have one dance with someone you don't know every time you go out to the clubs...

2. Remember to show appreciation to a fellow dancer whose dancing you admire or had a fabulous dance with by paying them a compliment...

3. Don't forget to show respect to fellow dancers or readers on the world wide web of salsa... the goal here is to educate and to learn to respect each other's differences, not insult each other's opinions or ideas.

4. Getting bored of doing the same moves over and over or don't like how you look when you're dancing? Set up a goal to take your salsa dancing to the next level...

5. Tired of going to the same old clubs dancing? Get together with some of your friends and pick a night to go to a salsa club you've never been to.

6. Tired of seeing the same people over and over in a club? Make a decision to go and check out another popular salsa club night for a change of pace, or start checking out the clubs which feature live bands.

7. Always wanted to finally learn about your favourite latin music? Pick one night a week to stay home and surf the net for information on artists, albums and to listen to sound clips from various websites.

8. Always admired and wanted to have the shape of a dancer's body to fit into those skimpy little outfits. Make out a realistic timeline to start working out 2-3 times a week for an hour, including cardio (for stamina and assist in reducing body fat), stretch (for maximum flexibility and to help reduce injuries) and light body-building to tone and strengthen muscles, not to bulk up. And even if you can't always stick to your schedule, turn them into appointments so you have no excuse not to go. After awhile, it will become as regular a habit as eating food every day.

9. Always wanted to compete in a dance competition? Find a partner and just do it... it shouldn't be just about who's going to win, but think of all the extra training and practicing you'll be doing to take your dancing to the next level. Also, set your goals to do your best under pressure and you won't let yourself down; and remember to have fun! Isn't that why you started dancing salsa in the first place?

10. Always wanted to go to a Salsa Congress but can't afford it? Start by cutting back on some extra expenses by always looking for free parking spots, cooking instead of eating out all the time, etc. -- you'd be amazed at how many dollars you can start saving. Pick a salsa congress that fits within your budget -- some of the best congresses are the small ones where you can get to know the dancers and are within driving distance. The cheapest way to travel is to ask 3 of your salsa friends to share travel and rooming arrangements.

And finally, always remember to smile and dance as if nobody's watching...

November 30, 2006

December Salsa Mania...

If you're looking to go out almost every night of the week during the holiday season... look no further... Toronto is jam-packed full of Salsa Xmas Parties and other events to keep you busy inbetween shopping and other festivities...

November 6, 2006

Let's help break the official record for the Longest Single Line of Dancers!

Mark your calendar for Thursday, November 9, 2006 (Guinness World Records Day) when The Hummingbird Centre, the Radio City Rockettes and CITY TV’s Breakfast Television will be joining together to beat the record for the World’s Longest Single Line of Dancers .

The current official Guinness World Record for the Longest Single Line of Dancers involved 1,150 participants and was organized by NDR Fernsehen at the Steiner Molenfest in Stein, Germany on July 30, 2004.

When: Thursday, November 9th at 8:30 am. The kicking will start at 8:45 am.

Where: Hummingbird Centre for Performing Arts, 1 Front St. East at Yonge

Officials from the Guinness World Records, Carey Low (Record Keeper) and Craig Glenday (editor of The Guinness World Record Book), will be present at the event to ensure we follow all the guidelines laid out by them. Let’s link arms and kick our way into the record book as the world-famous Rockettes lead the kick-line for five minutes.

CITY TV’s Breakfast Television will be on-site to cover all the action.

Each participant will receive a voucher for one complimentary ticket to one performance of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular® between November 15 - 19, 2006 inclusive, in selected sections of the theatre.
Subject to availability. No Cash Value.

For more info, click here!

October 18, 2006

All New Dance Shows at the Hummingbird Centre...

Last minute, I checked out Kagemi at Hummingbird Centre. There was a very interesting write-up in the Globe and Mail on this dance troupe; and later this week I'll provide more insight into my own thoughts; and why you should or should not see this type of performance.

In case you didn't know, Hummingbird Centre (previously O'Keefe Centre) was primarily a ballet theatre with other shows; and has changed to a performing arts format with all types of dance and music shows.

If you check out their schedule, they have all types of dance shows coming up early next year, including Alvin Ailey, a dance version of Edward Scissorhands and a new "Burn the Floor" show called "Floorplay". While waiting for the show to start, I got to see some "trailers" and can't wait until next year!

 October 15, 2006

Salsa Media Mania!

I know, it's been awhile since I've updated my column and/or been out dancing; but getting the chance to take a break means you get a chance to reflect and/or do other things you just never have the time to do...

But to make up for my hiatus... I finally had the time to post the rest of the clips from the Winter Salsa Carnival last March!

And Ziv has just finished posting all his pics from the Canada Salsa Congress this past Thanksgiving weekend...

And I'm just about done with my new Top 100 list... This one took awhile as I've already posted over 400 songs that are great to dance to! That will be coming in the next little while...

August 3, 2006

Step Up and Dance!

For everyone who loves to watch dance movies and videos... I did some surfing and found some great stuff to watch...

Let's start with the new dance movie coming to a movie theatre on August 11th -- Step Up where a hip hop dancer meets up with a ballet dancer; and that ballet dancer happens to be the same dancer who was in "Take the Lead" doing the Tango Threesome.

If you want to find out more about this movie, check out these links... 1 2 3

And where have I been?!?! Well, where to start... June was an insanely intense month of non-stop, non-salsa activities, but I usually got out at least one night a week for social dancing. Then mix lack of proper rest, stress, intense humid heat contrasted with extremely cold air-conditioning and you have the recipe for the dreaded summer head cold that WON'T disappear during the month of July!.

And even though I was rarely spotted in the clubs, at least two nights of the week you can be sure I was religiously glued to my favourite dance show "So You Think You Can Dance". And since my last column, we only have one week left to find out who will be the winner.

And then I found some links to dance bios from "So You Think You Can Dance" -- the final four...

Heidi, his cousin

And also found a bunch of great links to the dancing on YouTube.com, but their site is temporarily down...

So mix the show, with surfing on the web to find out what else is happening in the dance world, and feeling almost back-to-normal and you have a dancer who's itching to get back on the floor!

And since I heard so much about the new salsa night in Missisauga called "On the Curve" for the past few months, I quickly changed after watching SYTYCD, and zoomed thru the thunderstorm to the club; and of course making a few calls to guarantee some dance partners/friends to hang out with. Arriving at 11 pm, it was jammed full of the usual dance regulars I would find at Babaluu's on a regular Friday night (almost felt like "home"), and a pile of non-salsa spectators who just enjoyed hanging out and "sight seeing". Little did I know that wearing top showing some cleavage with tight jeans could cause eyes to turn most of the night (which is the normal state of dress at Babaluu's) was a little unsettling. But luckily, I had enough dance friends to hang with that made it a little easier to feel less uncomfortable.

Although I didn't like the size of the dance floor that was limted by the fact it was "sunken" and having social dancers either bumping into you or stepping on your feet didn't help either; the DJ played some great classic salsa romantica that I haven't heard in 5 years?! Classics, such as "Lobo Domesticado" and "A Puro Dolor", and then he played a song I have only heard in New York City and Salsa Congresses "Soneros de Vailadores".

And as I searched for the name of that song in my collection... it made me realize again how many other great salsa songs I haven't danced to in clubs for years that would keep me going back to the clubs for more, such as "Disculpeme Senora" by Jose Alberto el Canario, "Necisito un Amor" by Antonio Cartagena, "La Quiero a Morir" by DLG or how about "Que locura Enamorame de Ti (Remix)" by Eddie Santiago y DLG. And then there's songs I've heard in other cities that I have never heard played here, such as "Salsa Con Candela" by Karamba.

The only other part I wasn't crazy about was that the salsa sets were short, and evenly rotated between bachata, merengue and reggaeton sets. So if you wanted a fix, you had to dance to every salsa song and then spend time chatting and catching up with friends during the other sets. And would I go there again? Probably, for a change of pace and only if I know my friends are there...

June 11, 2006

"So Can You Decide What Event You'd Like to Watch or Dance!?!

It's been a non-stop crazy Spring, and as always there's lots to do and see... whether it's on TV, at the salsa congresses or in Toronto!

May seemed to be full of the usual Taurus bday dances, but June is turning out to be a non-stop month of "So Can You Decide What Event You'd Like to Watch or Dance!?!"

Things heat up this week on "So You Think You Can Dance" as they couples competition starts on Wednesday for 2 hours, and another hour on Thursday!

Have you always wanted to compete and/or see if you're the best of the best? City Dance Corps is actually involved with two different dance events here in Toronto during the month of June! Check out the Toronto Events section on the bottom right-hand side of this page!

We have more than enough socials and anniversary parties this month for those of you who just wanna dance!

And check out what's playing at Lula this month... They have a variety of music to suit everyone's latin taste...

On June 21st, there's a Latin Jazz Band which will have both vintage and modern pices from influential Latin Jazz pioneers such as Mongo Santamaria, Cal Tjader, Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente, and Poncho Sanchez.

And then July will start off with a Bang with the Toronto Street Festival and all the Harbourfront outdoor events each weekend!

What more can a dancer ask for!!! except maybe a life outside of salsa?!?

May 23, 2006

As the CyberWorld Turns...

As some of you may be aware, our site was down for over 24 hours? But we're finally up and running now; but some features may take a little longer to work properly again... see you somewhere on the dance floor or in cyber-space...

May 17, 2006

I'm dancing as fast as I can...

Thanks to a reader who emailed me asking when "So You Think You Can Dance" would premiere on TV again... I checked the google search engine and found out in the nick of time it was starting up sooner than I thought!

After all, last year it started in the summer! But this year it's premiering on Fox network on Thursday, May 25th at 8 pm!

And then out of curiosity, I also wanted to see when "Dancing with the Stars" would begin, and it seems that it may also be starting on Thursday, June 1st! Double Dance whammy all in one night -ugh !!!???!!!

And even though I haven't been out much in the past month, a BIG thank you to all the dancers who danced with me this past Friday and Tuesday at Babaluu's with the traditional bday dance and all the other dances I needed to get my fix!

Believe it or not, Friday at Bab's was the ultimate bday night as I was on my feet for 5 hours! Not always dancing salsa, but thanks to DJ Julio, every song that night was one of my ultimate favourites mostly from the modern and romantica era. The music was so good, I just had to find a partner and dance the night away... What more can a girl ask for...

April 22, 2006

April Showers bring More Salsa?!

Another action-packed weekend for some... and two more dance clips are posted with more to follow on the right...

April 17, 2006

Congratulations to our Winner of Grupo Niche tickets... Laura Ulloa

April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

Hopefully everyone had a great Spring long weekend; and enjoyed everything on and off the dance floor...

Since the stores were closed for Good Friday, I decided to head down to see Tropicana in Niagara Falls and ran into Ana Machado.

It was not your typical Cuban roots-type show, but more the old-world Hollywood-Vegas type show. The music was fabulous, with a live band and some great singers, with tunes you would have recognized, such as Guantanamera and Guarare, along with some folkloric pieces.

The costumes were out of this world, and my favourite section would be the second-half of the show where they had more acrobatics mixed in with a little Cuban dance.

After the show, we headed back to Toronto to catch the last set of Bio Ritmo at Lula Lounge. For a live band, they definitely did not disappoint and the music and the jamming of the musicians was great to watch.

Not all of their music was totally "danceable" by salsa standards, but that didn't stop the crowd from dancing. For myself, I took in the talent of the musicians as they jammed throughout their set.

And for those of you who still haven't seen "Take the Lead", you should take the time to go and see it... it's been averaging a 9/10 by most viewers as a feel-good movie, with humour, some great dancing and great music to keep your toes tapping. It's definitely going into my dance movie collection to watch again...

And what were those scenes like, check it out here!

Yahoo Movie Clips

The Streamy Tango Scene

Tango Threesome...

VJ Trailer Remixes...

And Monday is your last chance to win a pair of tickets to see Grupo Niche next weekend in Toronto, unless of course, you're going to head over to the Montreal Salsa Congress...

Once again, work is keeping me busy and I won't be able to attend...

April 10, 2006

Congratulations to our winners of tickets to see Bio Ritmo Salsa Machine!

In Guelph
Thursday, April 13th
Christina Stavrou
Elizabeth Neumann

In Toronto
Friday, April 14th
Kathy Campbell
Kirt Richards

April 9, 2006

Pics in the Toronto Sun!

Just got a call from Marc-Anthony, one of the organizers of the Winter Salsa Carnival; and if your pic was taken by the Toronto Sun, it's out today on Page 32! Unfortunately, there's nothing on the Toronto Sun website!

I haven't seen it yet myself, but there's a pic of me with my "dance partner", but don't go spreading rumours that I have a new boyfriend... it's amazing how hanging out with the boys can put a different slant on things!

And don't forget to enter to win tickets to Bio Ritmo this coming weekend, I'll be picking the winners either tonight or tomorrow.

Hot Internet Finds for "Take the Lead"

While surfing, you can check out some of the videoclips posted on the Web...

Yahoo Movie Clips

The Streamy Tango Scene

Tango Threesome...

VJ Trailer Remixes...

April 5, 2006

Take the Lead, Part 2

Thank you to everyone who took the time to write in. It was more difficult than I thought to choose the winning entries, but when you read their stories, I think you'll see why they deserved to win a pair of tickets!

I've chosen all the winners in no particular order...

Christina S
Christie H
Arthur R
Ben F
Tara R
Heidi R
Akila V

For the winners, you should have received an email with all the details for the pre-screening tomorrow night... can't wait to see you there!

April 4, 2006

Take the Lead...

Over the past few days, I've had to sift, read and sort through various emails to decide who should win a pair of tickets...

It was a tough decision as many stories were quite similar in style; but it also made it easier to see which stories stood out from the rest.

Click here to see which two (2) entries have already won a pair of pre-screening passes, and I'll be picking the rest of the winners tomorrow night as everyone must be at the theatre by 6:30 pm at the latest to pick up their passes!

April 2, 2006

Showering Salsa into April!

Well it definitely pays to take a siesta from Salsa, as it gives you a renewed energy into something you can't totally stop doing if you totally love the music and dance as much as I do...

And there's so much more happening in Toronto each weekend! For example...

Apr 6 - Take the Lead Screening Passes!
To be a little different this time, you don't have to be part of the mailing list, BUT you have to write me from the Feedback Page and let me know why you feel you deserve to win a pair of tickets and/or a Tshirt...

In the subject line, please type "Take the Lead"; then write about what salsa has done to change your life, what inspires you to keep dancing OR what got you into salsa in the first place... Also don't forget to include your phone no. I'll try to choose a few winners each day; and I must be allowed to post what you wrote, but can keep your name anonymous.

Apr 12-16 - Tropicana Cuban Dance Show
Love Cuban dance and music, than take a trip to Niagara Falls and check out the longest running Cuban show in Havana, Cuba at Fallsview Casino!

Apr 13/14 - Bio Ritmo Salsa Machine Concert!
Don't forget to enter to win a pair of tickets to see this salsa band live in Guelph and/or Toronto!

Apr 22 - Grupo Niche Live at the Docks!
Here's your chance to see this Colombian band live in Toronto -- click here!
And of course, if you want to dance with the best from around the World, don't forget about the Montreal Salsa Convention which is happening from April 20-23!

March 28, 2006

Take the Lead!

Well, it will soon be your turn to "take the lead!" Thanks to Alliance Atlantis, I have double passes and t-shirts to give away for the movie screening at Silvercity at Yonge & Eglinton for Thursday, April 6th!

Come back soon to see how you can win a pair of passes and/or a tshirt!

Want to find out more about the movie, check out these links...

Take the Lead Overview

The Website

March Winner of the Montreal Salsa Convention Pass -- Anayansy Garcia from Atlanta, USA

March 20, 2006 - Pt 2

Springing into Salsa!

Today is the first official day of Spring!

And what does it take to bring the "Spring" back into Salsa? Stay tuned as I give you my "Rose Knows" update; but in the meantime, check out all the pics I've posted, compliments of Ziv, a bit of DJ Julio in our "Making of the Mask"; and my usual creative inspiration for dancers to go a little wild pictorial...

Hope you enjoy them and stay tuned for more...

March 20, 2006 - Pt 1

Get Ready!

What a weekend... thanks to Marc-Anthony and Stephanie's creation of Winter Salsa Carnival, and lots to write about... stay tuned over the next week or twofor all our updates, including pics and videos...

We'll be picking our final Montreal Congress Winner at the end of this week. Click here to enter if you haven't already...

I'll also be posting a chance to win tickets to see Bio Ritmo in Guelph and Toronto. If you like the old school mambo sound -- you definitely have to check out this band! You can listen to their tracks on their own website... my personal faves... Atrevete and El Monte.

 March 3, 2006

Salsa into March...

This month in TO should be eventful with all the salsa events coming up... and if you're lucky, you were one of the lucky winners of the following promotions...

Brian Ashbaugh of Rochester, New York
February Salsa Winner of
Montreal Salsa Convention Pass coming up in April, 2006

Carol Belisle, Toronto
Shelley Hua
, Toronto
Winners of the Mambo Tribe Winter Salsa Carnival on March 17-19, 2006

You have one more chance to win a congress pass for the Montreal Salsa Convention, click here!

And while surfing, the dance movie that mixes ballroom and hip hop will be in Theatres on Friday, April 7th -- "Take the Lead" with Antonio Banderas. The idea came from a true story of a dance instructor in New York City who teaches ballroom to high school students. In this movie, an internationally acclaimed ballroom dancer volunteers to teach in a NYC high school. When his dance style clashes with their hip hop, he creates a new style of dance.

The website has some nice features including a mixer that allows you to mix salsa with another style of music, ie Jazz, Hip Hop, etc. and you can create your own choreography using virtual dancer. Click here if you want to read more about the making of the movie...

February 27, 2006

So You Think You Can Dance...

Fox is bringing the show back again for a second season and auditions are during the month of March in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Charleston! Click here to see videoclips from last Summer and to get info on how to audition!

 February 23, 2006

Dancing with the Stars Finale OR While Surfing...

If you haven't been watching this show each week; as a dancer, you've been missing out on a great season with better celebrity dancers and soem of the best dance costumes shown on TV in a long time... the finale is tonight... They also have a site which shows you some mini-clips of what you've been missing all this time... click here!

And the other day while surfing, I wandered over to Orville's site to see what he was up to; and there was a videoclip of his latest new routine, "Troy"...

And if I had the time off, I might have zoomed over to Europe with DJ Julio who was planning to hook up with Orville while there...

And if you haven't been to the Mayan Club competition site in awhile, last Fall they had a "Salsa Team Showdown" and they have a clip of the winners, "Los Rumberos". I have to hand it to this group, it was a nice combination of salsa and reggaeton with their fast-action tricks and dips that LA is famous for and that the Vasquez brothers definitely set the standard. Just navigate through the site until you see the banner for the competition...

February 17, 2006

Salsa Life and Death...

Tonight is your opportunity to wish DJ Julio a very Happy Bday at Babaluu's, but it is also a sad day as Ray Barretto has just passed away...

Here was my one and only opportunity to see him in Puerto Rico at his Anniversary Concert...

Quoted from Henry Knowles' email...

Ray Barretto Passed Away,
Fri Feb 17, 2006

The Loss of Another Great Latin Music Giant...

New York, NY- Feb 17, 2006- Family spokesperson George Rivera announced this morning that Ray Barretto died at the Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J. at 5 a.m. Wife, Annette Rivera (Brandy) who had been a constant by his side since he was taken to the hospital late last month was taken home to rest. We will get more information from the family later.

For nearly 40 years, conguero and bandleader Ray Barretto has been one of the leading forces in Latin jazz. His hard, compelling playing style has graced the recordings of saxophonists Gene Ammons, Lou Donaldson, Sonny Stitt, and guitarists Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell.

Born April 29, 1929, in Brooklyn-New York, Barretto is one of the most prolific and influential Latin percussionists in the history of modern jazz. With a musical heritage as deeply rooted in the bebop jam sessions held in Harlem during the late-'40s as in his Puerto Rican ancestry, Barretto has spent over four decades refining the integration of Afro-Caribbean rhythms with the improvisational elements of jazz. Coincidentally, it was the tune “Manteca” recorded by Gillespie with Chano Pozo on percussion that drove Barretto to music. And it was a version of that same tune that became Barretto’s first recording with Red Garland.

Few artists have been as successful over the years at fusing these two genres as Barretto, an undisputed master of this style. A pioneer of the salsa movement, Barretto achieved international superstardom and released nearly two dozen albums with the Fania label from the late-'60s until salsa's popularity peaked in the mid-1980's.

More about Ray Barretto
Ray Barretto a.k.a. Hard Hands... a Puerto Rican jazz musician, widely credited as the godfather of Latin jazz. He is also the first Hispanic to record a Latin song which became a "hit" in the American Billboard Charts.
Barretto's parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico in the early 1920s, looking for a better life. He was raised in Spanish Harlem and at a very young age was influenced by his mother's love of music and by the jazz music of musicians such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie.

In 1946, when Barretto was 17 years old, he joined the Army. While stationed in Germany, Barretto met Belgium vibist Fats Sadi, who was working there. However, it was when he heard Dizzy Gillespie's "Manteca" with Cuban percussionist, Chano Pozo, that he realized his true calling in life.

In 1949, when Barretto returned home from the service, he started to visit clubs and participated in jam sessions, where he perfected his conga playing. On one occasion Charlie Parker heard Barretto play and invited him to play in his band. Later, he was asked to play for Jose Curbelo and Tito Puente, for whom he played for four years. Barretto developed a unique style of playing the conga and soon he was sought by other jazz band leaders. Latin percussionists started to appear in jazz groups with frequency as a consequence of Barretto's musical influence.

In 1960, Barretto was a house musician for the Prestige, Blue Note, and Riverside labels. New York had become the center of Latin music in the United States and a style called "Charanga" was the Latin music craze of the time.

In 1961, Barretto recorded his first hit, "El Watusi", the first Latin song to enter the Billboard charts. In 1967, he joined the Fania record label where he recorded "Acid", an experiment joining rhythm and blues with Latin music.

Barretto played the conga in recording sessions for the Rolling Stones and the Bee Gees. In 1975 he was nominated for a Grammy Award for the song "Barretto". From 1976 to 1978, Barretto recorded three records for Atlantic Records, including "La Cuna", and was nominated for a Grammy for "Barretto Live...Tomorrow". In 1979, he produced a salsa record for Fania, titled "Ricanstruction", which was named 1980 "Best Album" by Latin N.Y. Magazine, with Barretto crowned as Conga Player of the Year.

In 1990, Barretto finally won a Grammy for the song "Ritmo en el Corazon" (Rhythm in the Heart), which featured the vocals of Celia Cruz. In 1999, Barretto was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame.

Barretto lived in New York and was an active musical producer, as well as the leader of a touring band which has embarked in tours of the United States, Europe, Israel and Latin America. Barreto passed away 17 February 2006 at the Hackensack University Hospital of multiple health complications.

(may not be 100% accurate)
Time Was - Time Is (2005), Ray Barretto 50th Anniversary: Live in Puerto Rico (2004), Homage Art (2003) Bomba Bomba (2002), Trancedance (2001), Portraits In Jazz & Clave (2000), Contact! (1998), My Summertime (1996), La Cuna (1995), Latin Gold Collection (1995), Taboo (1994), Latino Con Soul (1994), Ancestral Messages (1993), Descarga Criolla (1992), Live in New York (1992), Handprints (1991), Ray Barretto (1990), Irresistible (1989), Hard Hands (1988), Aqui Se Puede (1987), Todo Se Va Poder (1984), Tremendo Trio: Celia Cruz, Adalberto Santiago & Ray Barretto (1983), Que Viva La Musica (1982), Rhythm Of Life (1982), Soy Dichoso (1981), Giant Force (1980), La Cuna (1979), Rican/Struction (1979), Can You Feel It? (1978), Gracias (1978), Energy to Burn (1977), Eye of the Beholder (1977), Tomorrow: Barreto Live (1976), Barretto (1975), Carnaval (1973), Indestructible (1972), The Other Road (1973), Cocinando (1972), Head Sounds (1972), Message (1972), Barretto Power (1972), Acid (1972), From The Beginning (1971), Together (1970), Hard Hands (1968), Fiesta En El Barrio (1968), Alma Alegre (1967), Soul Drummer (1967), El Ray Criollo (1966), Senos 007 (1966), Viva Watusi (1965), Mysterious Instinct (Akannaginnagi) Featuring Brock Peters (1965), Guajira y Guaganco (1964), Moderna De Siempre (1964), Swing La Moderna (1964), On Fire Again “Encendido Otra Vez” (1963), The Big Hits Latin Style (1963), Latino! (1963), La Moderna & El Watusi (1962), Pachanga (1962), Charanga La Moderna (1962), Cocinando Suave (1962), Barretto Para Bailar (1961)

Ray Barretto can also be found on basically all the legendary recordings of "The Fania All Stars"

February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's been a busy time for me, but took a little time and decided to put together a mini photo diary of some memorable moments from the past... click here!

January 31, 2006

Happy Chinese New Year!
Year of the Dog

January is usually a month to recover from all the festivities of Christmas and New Year's, and usually the clubs are much more quieter... but this year, we had so many salsa bday celebrations that the party just seemed to continue on...

Do you want to see what the Year of the Dog has in store for you -- click here!

And if you want to see how lucky you can get, click here to try your luck on winning an Event Pass to the Winter Salsa Carnival, March 17-19 at Roehampton Hotel!

And here are some pics from a typical night at Babaluu's... last week was a bit of a farewell sendoff to Shalini who's moving to Vancouver... thanks Julio for the pic on the homepage...

January 29, 2006

Congratulations to Peter Chin and Demmis Condori who each won a pair of tickets to see Paco Pena Flamenco Dance Co. this Friday...

January 15, 2006

January Winner of the Montreal Salsa Convention Pass

Congratulations goes out to Leah Duque who won our first Congress Pass giveaway -- everyone who has entered has two more chances to win. The next draw will be mid-February. We had entries from all over Canada, the US, and as far away as Italy!

And if you're into flamenco music and dance, don't forget to enter our contest to win a pair of tickets to see Paco Pena Flamenco Dance Co at Massey Hall on Friday, February 3, 2006.

January 8, 2006

New Year Resolutions...

Before I go into the ups and downs of resolutions, you have less than a week to enter and win a Montreal Salsa Congress Pass which I will pick on Sunday, January 15th! You only have to enter once and if you don't win, you'll have two more chances on the 15th of February and March! Remember, anyone in the World can win this Pass as long as you're willing to pay for your own travel plans and hotel.

So silly me... the last month of 2005 flew by so quickly that I didn't even think about any New Year Resolutions... and every year I always have them upper-most in my mind. But this year's resolutions (mostly non-salsa related) are really a continuation of whatever I didn't get to accomplish last year; so therefore, I basically learned from what didn't work, looked to different reference books and HGTV reality-TV shows for inspiration, got plenty of rest after my insane Xmas schedule and had an epiphany this weekend as I've been hashing my ideas mentally rather than listing them out which can be overwhelming when you have too many goals. It was like all my thoughts were summarized as soon as the weekend hit and I got to it as soon as I woke up. And once I get started, I found it difficult to sleep as if I had been working and then dancing all night with little shut-eye.

And while it shocks most people that I didn't do anything special for New Year's Eve, it also dawned on me, that I also celebrate Chinese New Year with my family; and that's coming up early this year on Sunday, January 29th! So I hope to finish last year's vision in the next 3 weeks so I can move onto a new set of resolutions and can get back to spending more time updating TOsalsa more regularly and start travelling again. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn't travel until I was finished...

While looking back over the years since I started this site and as salsa in Toronto was becoming super-popular -- I had so much fun and salsa-related goals when I wasn't at work during the day that I lived and breathed salsa almost non-stop 7 days a week from 2000 - 2003, and then started to take time away from the website content, volunteering and working with Sonia on Salsa Team Canada (which I loved to do), and salsa congress travel plans during 2004 and 2005 as I knew my day job was ramping up; and I didn't want to totally burn out, even though I already had.

And the timing was almost right because the salsa peak of 2002-2003 had "normalized". The clubs are still packed and the salsa congresses are still going strong, but I find there's less of a huge onslaught of new salsa dancers who turn pro -- probably because all markets are getting saturated -- all part of supply and demand.

So do I regret how much time I spent on salsa during the "peak season"? Definitely NO... I've told many dancers in the past year, that nothing happening now even comes close to how much fun I and other dancers had during the peak years on many different levels...

And some of my favourite couples and groups have already disbanded and formed new partnerships since then, such as Joby and Luis Vasquez, along with their dance troupe, Edie the Salsa Freak and Al Espinoza, Ana and Orville, Frankie Martinez' Dance Troupe, and more... Seeing them perform live and/or spending time with them in their city or at the congresses until the wee hours of the morning were memories never to be forgotten and cherished... You could get such a high that you didn't care how little sleep you got and just wanted more...

What's still fun but far between, is occassionally I'll talk to a new salsa friend or meet a new salsa dancer who is just getting the bug; and it brings a smile to my face and reminds me of the days when I used to get and/or receive calls at all hours of the night with the latest salsa escapades and/or asked someone to dance or closed the club and just had to call another salsa dancer because only they understood what they were going through. Sigh... I guess I've grown up!

And then there's my annual tradition of dancing on Christmas Day at a salsa club... After stuffing my face with turkey with my family, I always head down to a free cover night of salsa... originally at El Rancho's, but in the past 4 or 5 years at Babaluu's in Yorkville. Every year is different -- when I first started the Christmas tradition was actually with an out-of-town dancer whose family lived in Toronto, Oren (who now lives on Australia). And each subsequent year, either I've only had one or two friends to dance with, but this past year, many club regulars were out in full force and I danced almost non-stop salsa for 1-1/2 hours -- only taking a break so I didn't die from heat inside the club!

Rose Knows Motto: "Salsa is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get!"

But now I'm all about "salsa balance" -- rest, relaxation, friendships, family and salsa. And recently, I saw an email from DJ Henry Knowles which I just had to post as he summarizes a reminder of how to keep salsa alive and well all over the World...


I would like to thank everyone for the positive feedback received, concerning my message sent on Dec. 28, 2005 (see below). It is good to know that many see the importance of this message. I received many requests for permission to forward and post my message. Please feel free to forward or post any of my messages.

Sent on December 28, 2005:
This has been a pretty amazing year full of mucha Salsa!! I have had the opportunity to share my music with hundreds of thousands Salsa lovers from all parts of the world in 2005. Dancing brings great joy to many and I always take great pride in what I do best.

It makes me extremely happy to see so many people learning how to dance the music which I was born to. The Salsa events around the world have played a major role by offering dance workshops by top instructors. I hope that 2006 can bring more awareness to the music. For many years there have been musicians, promoters, club owners, dancers, DJ's, etc... who do this primarily for the love of the music. Now is the time to begin to pay more attention to the music and learn about the artists who are recording & performing the music which you are dancing.

In order to keep Salsa alive, it will require an effort from everyone.

1- Try to purchase at least one CD a month (not a bootleg) to support the musicians who put their blood, sweat & tears into these recordings.

2- When you are dancing to live music, at some point stop for a few minutes and look at the band and find out who is on stage. This will give you more awareness and help educate you more to the music. Aside from that, it shows a bit of appreciation to the musicians.

3- When you go to a salsa club, try to buy at least (1 or 2) bottles of water if you don't drink alcohol. This will help in maintaining the salsa nights open. Many clubs have discontinued their salsa nights, because they can not cover the overhead (expenses) with the money generated at the bar. Remember that the money generated at the bar is what covers the expenses (rent, insurance, security, promotion, electric bill, etc...) I know a bottle of water may seem expensive at a nightclub, but you have to look at it as a drink...not a bottle of water.

4- Dance Instructors... Please mention at some point in your workshop these points. Ask your students to try and purchase at least (1) CD a month. You can compile a list of the proper music to recommend to them, because most people do not know what to buy. I will be more than willing to compile a list for any instructor. Stress the importance of supporting the clubs by buying at least (1 or 2) bottles of water, to maintain the night open.

If we all come together to make everyone aware of these points, it will help keep Salsa alive and strong! And remember it is all about the music... Dancing is an expression of the music.

May you have a Healthy & Happy New Year!

DJ Henry Knowles

If you used to regularly read my Dear TOsalsa columns, the club issue has been hashed over so many times. And also why I also spent so much time researching and surfing for new and old salsa music to dance to. If you love the music, I can't emphasize enough how amazing it is to hear a great salsa band, in a great theatre venue with a great sound system -- it's heaven to the ears; and usually hard on the feet! OR how about in the summer heat of an outdoor free concert in the heart of San Juan, Puerto Rico -- watching Andy Montanez and the Puerto Rican salsa dancers on stage...

And another reason why I think it's important for salsa DJ's in local cities to be in tune with the latest music and not replay the same classic songs each week that I heard since I first started dancing salsa over 7? years ago. I don't mean the old classics from the 50's, 60's and 70's as many salsa DJ's don't even seem to appreciate those songs, but love to only play the classic set of colombian salsa, along with Celia Cruz and Adolescentes, and other artists from 7 years ago. While I do love to hear those classics occassionally, they were repeatedly used back then and those DJ's have never stopped playing them which has totally turned me off those classic fast salsa songs.

Need I say more... if you find you can't relate to any of these experiences I've mentioned, then you need to either go and see live bands in your own City; but if you can afford it, you have to at least experience a large Salsa Congress where all the dancers come together to show their best work on stage or on the dance floor until the wee hours of the morning OR dance to the great music from Salsa DJ's from all over the World... and maybe you'll understand where salsa addiction comes from...

But if you're just starting in salsa, you may still benefit from my old Salsa New Year Resolutions from previous years... 2005 - 2003 OR you may just benefit on various articles that help you with specific goals... click here for all kinds of articles!

January 1, 2006

Happy New Year!
The Power of Video...

As 2005 came to a close, it seemed like it just flew by...

This year I concentrated on quality time in other areas of my life... and hit the clubs or events where possible. And because of this, I pick and choose the events that I have time for... And realizing how time-consuming it is to always grab my video gear, tape, photograph, download, review, design and upload pics and clips -- a part-time hobby, almost turned into a full-time commitment which gave me very little time for me.

Hence, the new camera... what a joy to be able to carry one piece of equipment everywhere and be able to take pics or clips... not have to buy extra mini-DV's and spend so many extra hours transposing (which is why I haven't had a chance to make clips from the past few years).

And because of this, I was able to make 8 new clips of dance shows from the Mambo Tribe Xmas Social.

What was interesting to note this year was having a reader complain that I was favouring Mambo Tribe; and in the past, I was always accused of favouring United Salseros or the "same circle". In reality, I don't favour anyone in particular when it comes to events; but have a circle of dance friends I enjoy hanging out with just like anyone else with the same set of dance interests. And in the past year, it just happens that the Mambo Tribe Socials are becoming more popular as they have special 100% salsa dance events that we don't experience in the night clubs.

And in the past year, there are nights I tend to hang out with the more nightclub-style dancers on other nights, such as a Wednesday or a Friday for a change of scenery; and therefore, it becomes a social night for me to just let loose.

The Rose Knows column was specifically designed for me to write my thoughts about salsa dancing -- I didn't even come up with the idea myself. In fact, I found it difficult at first, trying to find something refreshing to write about -- not just what a great night of dancing I had each week.

And as the weeks flew by, it got easier partially because there were enough nights I was out not just dancing up a storm, but would observe interesting tidbits while watching others dance or chat. It became a my own dance diary, and there's been nights when I would have loved to put my thoughts on paper, but realized I just didn't have the time.

Also, to write a good column, you also don't realize how much time you spend sitting, writing and reviewing what you put together; and over an hour can fly by. I think the only time I've been able to write a story in less than an hour is when I just came back from an awesome night of dance and the words just flew from my fingers. But you can imagine what time that is and I do have a regular day job in the morning...

And while reviewing my danceclips from the past... I've also highlighted some other clips from 2002 (coincidentally) that have made an impact on either myself or other dancers, such as

Rose Knows dancing Merengue with Oro Solido... that was one of those impulsive moments when I thought here's a cute looking merengue group that should know all the styles of merengue, and here's my opportunity to get it on tape...

Ray Baretto Concert Live in Puerto Rico in 2002 -- how lucky can you get to be less than 20 feet away from a salsa legend!

Caribbean Soul doing shines in 2000 -- not only was this the first time we witnessed shines in Toronto, but the first time I heard one of my favourite salsa songs, "La Fiesta de Pilito by El Gran Combo". In 2004, I requested it for my birthdance dance song, and now it was become the signature salsa bday song that DJ Julio now uses at Babaluu's. It also made me realize how the power of watching dancers on video can actually get you hooked on a song...

And of course, the Frankie Martinez Social Dancing Clip in Puerto Rico in 2002. That song is so addictive, that everyone wanted to know the name of that song, which just happens to be "Me Prendiste Velas by Oscar De Leon"! I have to warn you that when you do request it in the clubs... you forget how fast this song is and if you're used to medium-paced songs, this song may give you "salsa cardiac-arrest!" especially if you're dancing on 1!

Remember, you can email or let us know in person, any updates, feedback or suggestions on what you would like to read.