Salsa in Toronto

Discussion in 'Member Reviews' started by DancerGirl, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. Hey guys, we'll be going to Toronto for 4th of July weekend: June 30 - July 4th. Any recommendations for salsa ??
  2. salcero2005

    salcero2005 Rhythm Deputy

    Hey DancerGirl .... wassup. I can only offer you this site for information. I hope you have a great holiday. :D

    Mondays - Alley Catz
    Tuesdays - Babaluu
    Wednesdays - Babaluu
    Thursdays - Babaluu or Mana (Cuban)
    Fridays - Tough choice, the regulars each have their favourite hangout -- El Rancho, Acrobat, Babaluu, etc.
    Saturdays - Lula Lounge (Cuban), El Rancho, or Plaza Flamingo
    Sundays - Babaluu and/or Mambo Tribe Salsa Socials (twice a month)
  3. Thanks salcero!
    I know about that site already, i was just wondering if anyone has any personal recommendations who is from toronto and in case the site is outdated.
  4. tsl89

    tsl89 Changui


    just a small update:

    best crowd is @ babaluu tuesday & wednesday (on1 and on2)
    on tuesday now there is also "6 degrees" (a.k.a. Berlin) 2335 Yonge - completely renovated, good floor, not so crowded as Babaluu
    thursday - el rancho is open too
    friday - Acrobat is a better crowd imho, but air conditioning may not work
    lula is good music, but not so many good dancers usually

    have fun!
  5. jenn15

    jenn15 Changui

    Hi All! Does anyone know good places to take classes/workshops in the Toronto area? I took a few classes with Toronto Dance but I'm looking for someplace different.

    I'm new to the area so any info on places to go dancing would be helpful as well! Also- what style is more common here?
  6. z_zapper

    z_zapper Changui

    Hi Jenn,

    I don't know if anyone has helped you out yet or not, but I would recommend City Dance Corps. I knew the founders years ago when I lived in Toronto, and they're wonderful people. What level of class do you seek?

    In general , people dance mambo-style on 1, with a large number of dancers (particularly the more advanced ones) dancing on 2 as well.

  7. opm1s6

    opm1s6 Sabor Ambassador

    Any recommendations on very high quality instructors in Toronto?

    I'm talking about highly technical type instructors. I'd very much appreciate skipping any instructors who like to pack their classes with students without any intention on truly growing students.
  8. ShineGuy

    ShineGuy Son Montuno

    Go Dance Mambo

    Then I recommend Go Dance Mambo. The director of the school, Stephanie Gurnon, is renowned for her 6-month training program, the only such course of its kind in Toronto. Some people have taken this course twice, some even three times! It really takes your dancing to another level, teaching you body awareness, balance, and technique. And the best thing about it is she doesn't try to sculpt you to fit into some mold, she encourages you to bring out and express your own individuality. Check their website.
  9. AguaDulce

    AguaDulce Pattern Police

    I've danced with Steph, she's not bad. You also might want to look at Mark Anthony, her former partner.
  10. ShineGuy

    ShineGuy Son Montuno

    No I don't think so, he's not much of a teacher.

    Besides, he's moving to Europe.
  11. GayleR

    GayleR Son Montuno

    Classes in Toronto

    I have taken classes, both group and private from many of the well known Toronto instructors. All have something different to offer, depending on what level you're at.

    For beginners I think Paula at Dance to Live is the most technically demanding teacher. She has a published syllabus she uses and hands out to her student and I think her results are the best I've seen. She really cares about technique and moves people through the various levels very effectively. Jennifer Aucoin of Steps is a lovely teacher for this level also though her style is much more relaxed and easy going. If you need/prefer a gentler sensibility Jennifer fits the bill.

    Stephanie has a very distinctive style that is much more Afro Cuban inspired and her posture and positioning are very different than most. She also teaches mainly On2. She is known for her body isolation and styling classes but again, a very unique style that I personally wasn't comfortable with.

    Oscar Naranjo of Latin Energy is a terrific private teacher for Intermediate and higher, most notably if you're a follower. His private lessons have changed the way I follow and have made me light, responsive, more relaxed and able to follow just about anyone. He's an On1 guy though.

    Carol and Angus are IMHO the best On2 teachers in the city.

    I haven't taken classes yet with City Dance Corps but I know quite a few people who have and they tell me they're very technical and demanding and do an excellent job at beginner and intermediate levels.

    There are others too that I do not recommend and will be happy to comment on privately, since this is a very personal opinion and I don't wish to malign anyone publicly.

    I hope you find the right fit for your needs. Don't forget to come out to practice every Saturday at the Toronto Salsa Practice, or Sunday's at The Mambo Tribe Socials.

    Have fun.
  12. ShineGuy

    ShineGuy Son Montuno

    Steps, yes.

    Oscar, yes.

    Stephanie, yes.

    City Dance Corps, yes.

    Caryl and Angus, yes. But best on2 instructors in the city? No.

    And I agree, I'd rather tell you everything on a PM as opposed to hanging someone in a public forum.
  13. chr

    chr Shine Officer

    Did you mean MA? :confused:
  14. ShineGuy

    ShineGuy Son Montuno

    Yes, him.
  15. chr

    chr Shine Officer

    I have heard a lot good about him from my brother, but he did not mention that he is moving to Europe...
  16. opm1s6

    opm1s6 Sabor Ambassador

    can you give me the split between on1 and on2 in the city?

    this isn't for me btw, it's for a beginner friend of mine. he wants to get back into salsa and has been seeking my advice. Since I have gone through 7 or so instructors here in NYC I know what a quality teacher is, but it's not easy explaining it over the internet. I've seen a wide spectrum and a lot of gimmicks and in the end I can't stress enough the need for a highly technical teacher for leads when they are starting out. Everything from working on the basic until perfection (which is unattainable), or hand positioning/angle through patterns, weight balance through paterns, use of momentum...etc. It's just so crucial for leads.

    it's also having a good group of students. Nothing makes a teacher complacent like a group of students who aren't dedicated, hard core or interested in being as good as possible. At least that 's my greatest critique of "social" dance schools.
  17. GayleR

    GayleR Son Montuno

    Not sure if other Torontonians would agree, but I'd say 80% On1, 20% On2. Most advanced dancers dance both but prefer and favour On2. Just about every dance school/instructor (except Carol and Angus) start beginners On1.
  18. AguaDulce

    AguaDulce Pattern Police

    OK, didn't know that. I just see him on many congress rosters all over the world as an instructor so I figured he had to be OK.
  19. alexT

    alexT Changui

    these are mine 5 cents... :) (based on my personal experience). when i say good teachers i mean they explain everything to smallest technical details, not just giving you patterns.

    1) dance2live studio: paula & jose. good teachers overall. some drawbacks:
    - some of the patterns they teach is not very leadable socially and some moves are a bit outdated
    - their syllabus that you get on paper is very cryptic and hard to understand especially after a while
    - for whatever reason you don't see their students going to dance socially that much (there are exceptions), part of the reason paula & jose themselves are hardly going out
    - studio is away from subway lines, not very convenient location
    - paula has a mean streak to her, :), which i liked, but some people don't. at the same time you get more feedback from her than from jose who is happy easy going guy

    big plus with them: they give you set of shines in the beginning of each class which you memorize one way or the other, some of their shines i still remember years later :).

    2) angus & carol First and only school in TO that teaches on2 only. pretty young school - 2 years. both are nice, especially angus. pretty good teachers, though in general they tend to get students which are already dancing and i didn't see a lot of beginners that would be pretty good after attending their school. overall they are less experienced teachers, plus on2 scene in TO is limited to more advanced people, so i would think you have to dance on1 or both here. i personally enjoyed going to their school but i joined after i danced on1 for 3 years roughly, so it was a good fit for me. they have a body isolation class on sundays which is half isolations (i would recommend highly this part) and half a shine. Shine imho tends to be a bit long and never repeated, which maybe a fun for instructors but not very useful to students imho.

    although i love performances that carol and angus create for themselves, i don't like routines that they create for their semi-pros and student groups. which maybe explained by the fact that they are young teachers and they will learn over time or the fact that i don't have "right" taste for them :)

    3) Very nice, professionally trained dancers and good teachers. They have technical class where they only work on techniques (spinning, etc.). School has variety of dance classes not only salsa. I was there only for advanced levels and i liked it very much. Drawback for me was again location. They also teach on2 but only for advanced people, and i saw their students having trouble with on2 on dance floor, even though they are supposed to be advanced.

    4) stephanie gurnon (ex mambotribe now very good teacher, pays attention to even small technical details. Has pretty unique program which is called "training program" which runs for 6 months. totally dedicated to style and technique (spining, isolations) some patterns as well, but mostly fundamentals as well as understanding of music. She pays a lot of attention to musicality and have different workshops dedicated to that where she brings musicians to demonstrate different instruments in salsa. Also very knowledgeable in afro-cuban and her style is more NY mambo classic compared to other teacher around here. Very clear explanations, small classes (which may not be on purpose :) ). She has a group of more advanced students that fill in spots in classes to even up m/female ratio. Has numerous performance groups for student, she tends to make them short, so routines (their execution) look a bit raw sometimes but they are very different and pretty unique and very funny sometimes. Her levels are pretty structured and she also gives a syllabus at the end, which is easy to understand. Also Steph has a bit of craziness in her which makes classes with her lots of fun. She now have 2 training programs for on1 and on2 separately. Drawback - she doesn't organize outings for students, at least not to extent of sharon (see below), and overall she doesn't get lots of students purely due to lack of promotion. So if you are a beginner then you will not get large dancing scene inside the school.

    5) sharon most sucessful comercially school. has biggest number of students. but classes overpopulated, caters more to quickly teach people patterns so that they can dance socially. any good dancers coming out of this school trained somewhere else as well it seems. if you are serious about learning that would not be the place. maybe good introduction though. and because there are lots of students it is fun cause you have a bunch to dance with at your level. very well organized, have regular outings where the whole club is taken over just for them. sharon is the best enterpreneur here in salsa scene.

    The only too mainstream schools from TO that i didn't mention are Jeniffer's Steps dance studio and United Salseros simply to my limited experience with them. From what i know United Salseros are very technical, good teachers, so their dancers are usually very good. Also, some schools have lots of inside politics (you know, usual stuff when it comes to salsa :) ), some more than others.

    Overall, i would say that anybody can teach patterns. Not so easy to teach how to execute them socially. When it comes to technique/style/musicality i would recommend Stephanie godancemambo. She also have 2 shines dvds which nobody knows about, but which are very good for any level. She doesn't go for long pattern based shines ,but instead concentrates on short moves explaining technique, which is hard to find in other shines dvds. And she also have new DVD with is timing DVD. I heard good things about it, but haven't seen it personally.

    The other choice of mine would be I would say that between these two the decisive factor would be style, Steph has more NY mambo style and are a bit more polished, not as much afro-cuban to it. Location also important, godancemambo is right on subway line.

    Angus & Carol i would recommend if you want to quickly pick up on2 and you are an experienced dancer already.
  20. GRx

    GRx Sonero

    I am a little late....lots of great instructors in Toronto, but I would suggest City Dance Corps if you want highly TECHNICAL instruction. They are having a master class starting this weekend geared towards pros and advanced dancers. They have a diversified dance background that translates well to salsa. I got lots of help from them when I was polishing up my competition routine and I was very happy with the results :)

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