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New York Trip, March 2002

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After we had such a great time on our trip to New York in December, me and Nicky immediately started planning our next trip. This time it was with a bigger group of eight of us. Apart from me and Nicky, the group was Emma, Kate, Marlon, Mo, Mushi and Olu. This report is mainly photos, with a few comments here and there.

We stayed at an apartment on 2nd Avenue and 14th Street, called Second Home on Second Avenue. It's in a great location, with loads of restaurants, diners and grocery stores around. There's a subway station not far away and if you fancy a stroll, it's not too far to walk to various downtown shopping areas. It's only a 20 minute walk to Times Square, if you want to stretch your legs a bit more. It worked really well for us, because it gave us the freedom to come and go as we pleased. Much more flexible than a standard hotel. The rooms are very nice, with cable, a video and a CD player in each one. If you want more information, check out their web site at secondhome.citysearch.com.

Lessons with Eddie Torres

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When we were in New York in December, Eddie Torres was waiting to move into his new studio. By the time we returned in March, he had his new studio, which was conveniently located for us on the 3rd floor of 21, East 26th Street (between 5th Avenue and Madison). For more information, you can check out his web site at www.eddietorresstudio.com.

Because Eddie was not teaching in his own studio, he could offer a lot more classes than when we were last in New York. As a result, we could pick and choose what we wanted to do. Most of us chose to do shines classes, some took a ladies styling class and some also took a partnerwork class.

The classes I did were Cha Cha shines (which was interesting and at quite a basic level), intermediate Salsa shines (where we learned about half a dozen shines) and advanced Salsa shine choreography. This last class was the most challenging. The basic principle was that Eddie put together about ten of his shines and taught them as one long sequence. It started off with some simple turns and I thought it was all going to be straightforward and then, he threw in a shine called "tell it to the judge", which was extremely nasty. I hadn't got that until I'd practiced it loads of times when I got back to the apartment. In fact, for the rest of the week, it seemed that whatever room you went into in the apartment, there was someone in it practicing that shine! Anyway, after "tell it to the judge", the routine got more manageable again and I managed to get the rest after a fashion. It definitely helped that I knew a couple of the other shines in the routine already (like the grapevines).

The scary thing was that this was class number 7, so everyone else already knew 6 more shine sequences. Towards the end of the class Eddie drilled everyone in all these sequences. It looked really great, seeing all these people doing all these shine sequences together (with us running in every time sequence number 7 came round again).

I'd definitely recommend this class, if you're visiting New York and you're happy with basic shines on 2. The class isn't really about learning the shines (it's assumed you know most of them), so Eddie runs through them pretty quickly. But, since he's such a good teacher, he does see where there are problems and break down those shines that are causing most problems (as far as is reasonable).

Lessons with Frankie Martinez

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We already knew Frankie (www.abakuadancers.com) from his trips to the UK and from our last visit to New York. He was now running classes at Carnegie Hall (where Eddie Torres was teaching on our previous trip) and asked us if we wanted to come to one of his classes. Well, we ended up at his "level 3" class and it was definitely very hard going. It was basically a shines practice class. He'd call out the name of a shine, then everybody would do it about four times and he'd then move onto another shine. We hardly got any of them! At the end, he broke down some of the shines and taught them very well (two Salsa shines and two Cha Cha shines).

Apparently, the class where he actually teaches the shines is his "level 2" class, which most of us couldn't fit into our schedules. Nicky managed to get to it and said that it was an excellent class.

The "level 3" class was on the Wednesday, so we went to Nells afterwards and Frankie came along too. Nells is a great club, I really like it there, but it gets very crowded and you often find yourself with very little room to dance. However, there seems to be one way of getting plenty of space to dance ... be Frankie Martinez ... every time he was dancing, a load of space cleared around him as people stood and watched.

Mambo Fateegz Clothes

I'm sure you'll have seen people around wearing "on 2" t-shirts. Well, they are produced by Mambo Fateegz (www.mambofateegz.com) or, more precisely, by Choco who owns and runs Mambo Fateegz. Apart from his website, Choco sells his clothing by setting up a stall at Salsa events in New York (and at congresses and places like that). He was very helpful to us and came round to our apartment with just about all of his merchandise. We each bought a few t-shirts and Choco gave us all some good discounts.
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Starlite

Our last night in New York was a Saturday and we went to the Starlite Rooms, because we were told that was where everyone would be. It's organised by David Melendez and you can get more information from www.starlitedance.com. The event was in the Bronx and so we organised a cab to take us there and one to bring us back at 2am. When we got there, it was a bit quiet, so we sat around chatting with people, trying to find out about the East Coast Congress, which David is organising, and doing a bit of dancing. It was a special evening, because it was their 10th anniversary. So, at 1am, they started the shows. There were some excellent performances from the Heartbreak Boyz and from the junior teams, the Junior Heartbreak Boyz and the Sweethearts. They would put many adult display teams to shame!

At the end of the shows, we checked the time and, to our horror, discovered that it was 1.45 ... only 15 minutes until our cab arrived. We then discovered that the event went on until 4am!! So, we all rushed off to find our last dances before the cab arrived. The taxi arrived promptly at 2am and no despite loads of discussion, we couldn't work out any way to get him to come back later. So, reluctantly, we headed back for the apartment. The photo below captures our feelings when we arrived back at the apartment.

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The Rest of the Pictures

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Out and About with Mo in New York City
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Out and About
with Nicky in
New York City

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Out and About in New York

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Simply Salsa
at
El Flamingo
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Second Avenue
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Central Park
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Rebuilding Ground Zero
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Michelle
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