Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

Aug Jayers Birthday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all our August Babies ~ Rueben, Jacques, Adrienne, Lena

SalsaJay recently hosted a surprise birthday bash for August Babies at Salsa Cabana. Event was attended by many, whom received top secret messages to show up on the designated time and day. Thanks to all, the surprise was pull off somewhat accordingly, save for the fact that only 1 of the bday babies was totally clueless with events unfolding.

Amongst those that came included, the legendary Phileo Flowers ....

Our Latin extrodinaire sifu, Darren Yee ...

and a roomful of Jayers who partied the night away...errr where are the boys in the picture?

While on the subject of birthdays, i can't resist to pay tribute to another Bday Baby whose big day fell on 30th July 2007.
This person is none other than our lovable Tony "the tiger" Goh , whose happy feet can't stop salsa-ing be it in Malaysia, Dubai, Japan, Korea , Vietnam, Phuket and etc. To tony, there is no such thing as SALSA OD. He is our resident SalsaJay ambassador around the world as he frequents clubs and dance with ladies of all different nationalities (writer's comment: lucky fella).

They say that life takes after the movies, and in this sense... tony, who draws inspiration for the love of dance after watching Shall We Dance featuring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez, truly enraptures the spirit.
Note: the writer can't help but wish that he sees his teacher in the lights of J.Lo. Nonetheless, my initials are J.Lee close enough :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Farewell to Arina

Farewells are never easy, especially when it involves a person whom you have known for some time. Although some of us have been briefed of the situation, nothing quite prepared us for the fact that Arina would not be taking classes at SalsaJay anymore, nor join us for our regular makan sessions before classes begun.

Who is Arina , besides the fact that she attends the Wed pre intermediate classes, and also known as the 3rd member of the Malaysian version of Destiny's child? I guess Gregg describes her the best , " She is the gal with the grace, the beautiful smile and with endless patience to dance with the guys in class."

Never have i seen her throwing a tantrum in class. Always ready with a shy smile for guys to come and ask her to dance and always asking me ..."Jeamie, can you show me the step again?"..... although she does it quite well herself. She is the one with the keen sense of adventure to DARE to ask the Teacher to show her more than just salsa moves. From bachata to rueda, to who knows what else she will throw at me .... Arina certainly has shown me her passion for dancing. Oh and did i mention that she makes a very good camera woman as well? This gal can be the artistic director of any publishing company she wants to work for, coz she has an eye for beauty.

On 15 Aug 2007, at approximately 2.40 pm .... Arina left on a jet plane to pursue her dreams for travel and adventure.

Arina... this poem is dedicated to you. It's exclusively written for you from our Malaysian imported French man, Mr. Jacques Lebosse:

In a sarcastic way I should say, see you on Friday,
But today the other me is typing this way,
We all gonna miss you much ...
Some of us very very much .
For a dance or for a play ....
For sharing a coke or something from Marley.. ;)

In the loneliness of a sunset
Anywhere in the world at thousand feet
You might wanna come home,
and join back our fleet.
Be strong! and wait for the sunrise,
You will see all of us standing by your side
A phone call, an e-mail or just a small message..
to keep you up there we will arrange..

You will charm the sky as you have charm us all,
Your smile will travel miles before getting back home,
So farewell my friend and don't look back...
farewell my friend, you will be back .

Arina ... We will sorely miss you. Take care and all the best. And even if you are a thousand miles away, you will always have a home @ SalsaJay.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tuesday @ Salsajay

Jeamie (instructor) leading the new students in the basic footwork

Over the last 3 weeks, SalsaJay has merged the previous batch of Tuesday 8pm students with the 9pm students thus freeing the 8pm slot for people who would like to come in and give it a try aka newbies.

New Students having a go at the footwork

I decided to drop by after work as I have some time to spare before heading back to the office again and so witness the birth of a new group of students taking shape.

Leading the beginners in the 1st Set of Footwork.

Reflecting back as well, it felt just like yesterday when I first took my first step in salsa way back in December and I can say that even though I'm no expert, yet, I have come a long long way from having two left feet on the dance floor to being able to strutt my stuff.

Helping a couple with their steps

Of course, looking at the progress of the 9pm's group also impresses me as it was only 2 months ago that most of the students started learning and now, they have started going into doing group footwork as well as more complex moves. 

Imagine 3 months down the line and how far these guys would progress! More pictures over here! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

July Birthday Celebration

July birthday baby is none other than Derek Teoh who turns 35 on 23rd July 2007.
Not someone who was used to having surprises sprang at him.... the Jayers once again outdid ourselves by pulling a fast one on an expecting but terribly surprise birthday boy. ( you see, we've got insider news that Birthday Boy was digging around to get news if we were planning any surprises for him as it was a SalsaJay Tradition!)

And how did we do it....? we roped in the love of his life....ahem... to jump onto the bday bandwagon with us. A simple email was blasted out to all jayers...minus, Mr. Bday boy himself, to make arrangements for the big day, and voila, our plans were in motion.

On the said night, bday boy overstayed his class time ( perhaps he is one of those few who enjoy class...hahaha). Yours truly had to draw up alternative plan quickly to get him to leave ... all the while trying to mask my busy text messaging activity as if i was chatting up some guy ( well.. it worked, didnt it?). Meanwhile, some jayers who were gathered at the pavement downstair had to endure the cold and some rain while waiting for the green light from above.

to cut the long story short... we achieved what we set out to do and that is to give derek a surprise bday ... one which he would treassure for years to come....

below is his thank you msg ~

Dear Jayers...

You guys really got me good last friday!

I guess it started when I was filling up the form for Money & You, when people like Jeamie and Michael Y were busy watching out for my IC number. Jeamie insists she knew way before then, but to quote Wilson, "I Dont Believe!"

Somehow, I knew they would be roping in Lena L for this, so I sent feelers out to her, trying to pull some guilt strings saying stuff like "If they were planning something, you would tell me right? Riiiight?" Yeah. Right.

Stellar performance from her that night! Oh, forget about trying guilt trips on this lady! Shes the master at it! At 10pm sharp, I get a call from her, telling me she is waiting "outside"... With pangs of guilt (plus some confusion... I did say I would pick her up at 10 -something- after all) I rushed out and if they didnt spring it on me at that instant, I would have been tearing down the stairs and you guys would have to eat bday cake all on your own! Oh, BTW, technically, she wasnt lying through her teeth. She was waiting "outside" after all!

As it became very obvious that I SUCK when it comes to public speaking, I want to write what I couldnt express in spoken words that night.

To the guys, BOOYAKASHA my brothers!

Rueben, thank you for taking your time to come over and make a fool of yourself along with the rest of us doing the wanking dance (wank-wank-o?) for the ladies. Thank you for not making me do it alone! Bhwa hwa hwa!

Fai, thank you for being the kind, patient (and sometimes, sick animal!) of a training assistant for me and the rest. Even in the middle of a mountain bike trail, you dont mind me going, "Fai pant..pant...pant... how does the ...pant...pant... bloody B2 ... pant ...pant... move go...pant...pant... again??"

Jacques! I remember the first time I spoke to you. I asked if you were french, and how you pronounce "Moet & Chandon"! Thank you for being an inspiration on the dance floor, with your wife. I love watching the both of you move!

Tony, you are the rock of the Intermediates. The most dedicated one, with a huge golden heart. When you first joined, I thought you were bloody lan-si and aloof! But as it turns out, you have one of the biggest kindest hearts I have ever seen. Aight bro!

Wilson, collector extraordinaire... When I heard you like japanese mechs, I thought to myself, wait till he sees my PG grade Strike Gundam model. When I actually visited your place, I malu only to show my one and only model... Another person with a huge heart...

Michael Y, fellow RC heli nut, and the final of the trio who bundled me off to singapore for that crazy impromptu trip. I love you guys.

Terence, you're the guy who indirectly brought me into SalsaJay. Indirectly, you also brought me into Money & You. Indirectly, you are therefore responsible for bringing so much into my life. Simply saying thank you doesnt seem enough. I owe you a lot...

To the wimmin, rock on, my sistas!

Joyce, the little spinner! Who finally has gotten her first pair of dancing shoes after so many years! And Pink to boot! And who also was wondering why her car started sounding like a sports car after her exhaust fell off!

Stephanie, datin, with the longest most luxuriant hair in the whole group (although for one week, there was someone with an even more ju-on - ish hair do than you in the trials class!). Love the way you laugh without restraint. Also love the fun n excitement when some poor dude ends up eating your hair after a particularly enthusiastic spin. ;)

Rachel, with the sweetest smile in the whole class. The little rocker girl. Thank you to you and steph for being the only two salsajay girls in singapore with me. Without the both of you there, I dont think I would have had even half as much fun as I did.

Arinna, Arwin and Pip (Phyp??), aka, charlies angels... the darlings of the pre-inter class. Thank you for dragging yourselfs all the way back to Salsajay just for me! I apologise for the delays, but thats Jeamies fault for letting the class keep dragging on! (Laying blame!) But seriously, I really appreciate you guys being there. Sorry for missing little Arinna...

Zai, the tall sexy goddess of the advanced class. I remember the first time I danced with you. It was the first time I danced with someone from Advanced and I was nervous as hell. However, the compliment you gave me was worth it all...

Laney, with the flawless skin and complexion. The skin on my backside oso not so nice. :P You really must share your secret with everyone...

Wee, always the quiet one, helping and buzzing in the background. You are always the one taking the cake away, cutting it up and serving it, and then cleaning up after everyone else. Thank you so much for your kind and generous efforts all the time. I really appreciate them.

Adrienne Lee Aka Adilah! I know how crazy you get at work, which made it all the more a wonder to me that you actually managed to get off early enough to come over and help surprise the absolute crap outta me! Thank you so much for the efforts... Really means a lot to me...

Jeamie Lee Aka Jamalah Aka Rotan Happy Teacher Aka Elephant-skin-on-her-feet-who-can-spin-barefoot-on-tarmac Aka Lead like Lorry! :P The woman who made it all possible. The one single common denominator we all have. Thank you for being with us all, through thick and thin, and having the patience to drill the moves through our thick skulls. I've tried teaching a few difficult students before, and can end up either wanting to kill them, or kill myself! Its a wonder you have managed to stay sane for so long. Keep up with the coffee before class (just dont get horny!) but dont overdose and ... actually, DO overdose! And reward us with more lines like "Girls! If you grip too hard, your guy wont come!"

Lastly, my dearest Lena L. Winner of this years SalsaJay Actors Award for Best Performance in "Springing a Surpise". Indirectly, its through salsajay that made us possible. If it wasnt for salsa, I wouldnt have met Jeamie. If I hadnt met Jeamie, I wouldnt have known about Money&You. If I didnt go for M&Y, I wouldnt have met you, and if I hadnt met you, I wouldnt know the happiness I now know. As you said, thank God for Precession, Love orbits and other Divine thingamies that brought us together. May this be the first of many many many birthdays that we share together.

To those who couldnt make it, I know you all tried, and I got your individual birthday wishes loud n clear! So no worries! Lena Y, Tim & Tam, Choi, Greg, Richard & Jen, Kelly, thank you for being there in spirit.

If I missed anyone out, please forgive me.

Like I said, in my pathetic attempt at a speech last friday, I have never had a group such as you peeps. Through the one thing we have in common, I found so many other things to share amongst you all. The strange thing is, that one thing was one thing I thought I would never ever get into. I never liked to dance, and always thought I had two left feet. It was with great difficulty that I was persuaded to join SalsaJay, but once I joined, there was no turning back. I love you all!

Once again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you ALL for a fantastic and utterly enjoyable surprise birthday party!

Love always

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Salsa 101 - The Aftermath by Michael Yip

I am suspecting the 101 in the Salsa 101, is representing the number of hours you'd be spending in bed trying to recover from your sore leg, after the event.

The whole event was amazing! For a person who has never attended a Salsa Festival or Latin Congress, this first time experience was a real eye-opener. Arriving KL Hilton at 5.30pm, Stephanie and I met up with the rest of the SalsaJayers at the registration counter, collected our goodie bags consisting T-shirts, pamphlets, a small bottle of sampled perfume (tried it on Rueben) and some drink coupons. The next task after registering is to find a 'camping spot' to keep our bags.

A good 15 minutes later and we heard Gupson (Attitude Dance) announcing over the sound system that the first workshop was about to begin. The first workshop taught us body isolations and styling. Boy, we got down "dirtayyy" and "naughtayyy" (Our fellow english salsaman would be delighted to show you how ...), it was a good laugh with him telling us the best way to remember the sequence ... "Just make loads of grunting sounds like these ... UHHHH... AHHHH..... OOOH.... wasn't so hard, was it?"

Patricia from Ritmo Latino KL was up next and taught us the Casino Rueda on Salsa Timba. She mentioned the word "SETEH" (not sure if I recalled it correctly) meaning Seven and Coca Cola. Unfortunately I can't really remember the sequence.

The 3rd instructor was Salsa Sam who gave us tips on 3 sexy moves and a dip called Rumba Wena. Among the 3 moves, my favorites were the 2nd and the 3rd (this also means I forgot the 1st...). In the 2nd move, you wrap your hands around the lady while the 3rd is to get the girl to caress you while both if you go around in a circle. And the last thing he shared was the Slow Dip.

At the end of the workshop, the played a movie about the birth of Salsa ... from Son to Salsa ... and eventually it was dinner time. We went to KFC ... excellent choice with excellent selection of food. Bon App├ętit !

By 9.20pm we're already back at the ballroom, dancing shoes back on and hitting the dance floor to DANCE! Oh yeah ... all SalsaJayers take note. You might appear on Channel [V] as the crews were trailing us all night long .. from the workshops to the dance floor. (Eddy from Channel [V] ... thanks for your coverage).

There were also dance competitions in the mix with 3 couples performing with each performing a number with their own dance partner and another number with a different dance partner. The winning prizes were given to the best individual male and female dancers. At the party, we also managed to watch performances by Gavin and Sally as well as Gupson and Patricia. The crowds were practically cheering their heart out at the couples. Besides these couples, Fahmy and gang also performed a Casino Rueda piece which was excellent !

After 6 glasses of Mojito (double shots), 2 Perriers later and countless number of dance, we ended the night on a high at 3am by heading off to the mamak for some drinks. With this over, there's the Latin Congress and MSF coming up. For those that has attended this Salsa101 and is going for the Congress or MSF for the first time, well, imagine, you'd be doing this same thing over and over again for a few nights and yes, the next day, your legs will feel like it has run 3 ironman events back to back and you just want to stay in bed the next one week. I can't wait to do this again. :D

Salsa 101 was an eye opener for me in terms of experience (as well as a great night for me as I met up with quite a number of my ex colleagues from ASTRO as well as from my freelance TV days)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Derek's Salsa Breakthough

A few months ago, I experienced a little mini breakthrough. That moment came when I found myself actually enjoying myself on the dance floor.

Initially, the dancefloor was more like a goal to be achieved, something to strive for, something to fight for, something to attain. I attended class religiously, I watched the instructors and the other classmates like a hawk, I practiced anywhere I could, in the morning just before heading off to work, in the shower (no sweat mah!), in my head during meetings, etc... And when I hit the dancefloor for the first time, it was a nightmare (previous blog entry).

However, I stuck to it. I braced myself, I steeled my resolve and vowed that one day I will be just as fluid and graceful as most of the other couples I saw. I hung on through the nerve wracking anxiety, the embarrasment of forgetting a move halfway through it.

All this while, I practiced, practiced, practiced.

And then, one day ... I was getting ready to hit the dance floor again. Again, I went through that little resolution routine, of saying, you can do it, you dont have to be afraid, don't care what others think etc etc. And I picked someone up to go.

And go I did. Yes, it was a little awkward at first, as usual. I was concentrating 101%. 50.5% on remembering my moves, and another 50.5% on keeping a few steps ahead to pre-empt the next move. And before I knew it, it was the end of the song. I did it! I didnt screw up, I didnt jam, and most of all, I was not completely hoping for the end of the song, like before! I actually ... enjoyed it!

So yes, that was my mini breakthrough! I achieved it! It was no longer just a goal. It was something to look foward to! Something to simply ... enjoy!

Fast forward to today...

That was then. And everyone knows the saying "Never rest on your laurels." And that, my dear friends, was exactly what I did. I stopped practicing. I stopped eating and drinking and breathing salsa. I thought it was like riding a bicycle, in that, once you "get it", it stays with you. My dear friends... it doesnt. Once you turn your back on salsa, it turns its back on you. The next time I hit the dance floor, I got the rotan full force! Again, I felt like having mid-term exams whenever Jeamie reached out and grabbed me for a dance. Again, I started getting the anxious feelings. Again, I starting forgetting moves halfway through. I found myself no longer interested in dancing with girls from other schools. Yes, it was an excuse of "The other schools dont know our moves". But thats exactly what it was. An excuse. A good lead can lead anyone from any school.

So yes, its time I started looking for my groove again.

And how do you do that? Remember, friends, what salsa is. Its a dance. And dances are always danced to music. Music is the KEY! Timing! Fluidity! THAT has to be flowing through your bones. Now I have a new goal to achieve. Its not so much the individual moves, the repertoir. Who cares if you can remember A1 through to Z12? What, if you can just master cbl, underarm turn, ropes, half turn, kumbias ONLY but able to make it flow, make it graceful, make it one with the music, THAT will be better than remembering all the hundreds of moves, but doing them out of timing...

And again, music is the KEY!

What brought about my first breakthrough? Practice practice practice. And what did I practice to? Music! So I started some research. What makes good music good? And how on earth do you get good salsa music when you dont even understand the language? Well, after a LOT of practice surfing while doing my LLB (looking like busy), one tends to get good at search strings. And search I did. And music I received. Good music. GREAT music! And once again, I found myself listening exclusively to salsa music in my boombox of a car. Ministry of Sound has taken a backseat to artists like La India, Willie Gonzales, Ruben Blades, etc. And what happens when you find yourself listening to salsa music all the time? You start dancing in your head. You start listening to the beat, the clave, you start feeling the groove again...

Hopefully, a second breakthrough is round the corner.