About a week ago, I read the blog article “Pics: Salsa Night sizzles at Coastline” by Will Shamlin of the Courier Post. It made me think back to about 4 or 5 months ago when curiousity got the hold of me and I went to check out the Coastline with Emily Cheng. There were only about 20 to 30 people taking the lesson and the floor was so sticky that it felt like my knee was going to pop out. So I left almost as soon as I got there… Ok.. I really left after 1 dance after the lesson.
Fast forward to a week ago, I took George’s salsa class at Xavier Hall in Westville, NJ and spoke to Dan, one of the salsa dancers. He mentioned that there were a whole lot more people going to the Coastline and the floor was no longer sticky. He insisted that I check it out again because I’d have a really good time there.
Tonight, I recalled the good recommendations, so I got off my lazy butt and went to the Coastline to see what the buzz was about.
I’m habitually on time all the time (a curse, I know), so I rolled into the parking lot around 8:02 pm. I was surprised by how many cars were already in the parking lot!
I stepped though the entrance to the bar area and found the bar to be filled with at least 30 people, and the tables around the dance floor were already filled – I could not find a seat. I walked around spotted my friend Emily (another Emily from Ballroom class) and was invited to sit at her table. Emily is a new salsa baby with many years of tap dancing under her belt, so I was glad that she was able to come out and practice what she’s learned and fine tune her dance skills.
About 5 minutes after I arrived, Barbara Capaldi started the free salsa lesson the help of music by DJ Rumbero. The dance floor quickly filled up with about 40 salseros with many more watching in the wings. The lesson started with a slow basic step for all the beginners. A few were having trouble, so Barbara took the time to go around the dance floor and literally hold the hand of the salsero and salsaera having trouble. Next she showed the side steps, back breaks, half turns and spot turns because all these moves would be used in the pattern she would teach in this lesson.
For those of you who were there, you may remember the pattern. If not, I will review it for you!
The pattern went like this.
1. Basic Step
2. Spot turn the girl.
3. Basic Step
4. Spot turn the girl.
5. Switch to handshake hold, with the right hand over your left. (yes, for both the men and women)
6. Spot turn the girl with your two hands. (your hands are now in handshake hold with the left hand over right hand)
7. Back break into a cuddle to the right
8. Back break into a cuddle to the left
9. Back break into an enchufla (the guy lifts his right hand and brings it over in front so that his right hand is crossed over the left).
10. The guy puts his right hand and girl’s right hand on his left shoulder as he crosses his right foot behind his left foot and turns half way to the right. As he turns to the right, he puts his left palm up and brings it over his head to his right shoulder. Now his hands are crossed with his right hand on his left shoulder and his right hand on his right shoulder.
11. As the guy side steps to the left, he brings his left hand back over his head and places it on his left waist.
12. As the guy side steps to the right, he brings his right hand back over his head and places it on his right waist.
13. The guy steps forward on his left foot for his basic while the girl steps backward on her right foot for her basic. This creates a tension.
14. As this happens, the guy places the girls left hand on top of her right hand and he turns half way to the right to face her. (remember the guy is still hold the girls right hand)
15. The guy spot turns the girl with his right hand and goes back into a basic step.
I overheard one of the ladies say that the guys in the lesson were pretty good tonight. Good job guys!
As the lesson ended, the social salsa dancing began! Many of the people who took the lesson stayed and I asked a few to dance. But some of the people had left right after the lesson only to be replaced by more new people coming in to dance! This was fanstastic.
I was feeling a little weak because I had not eaten much before going to Coastline. I was pleasantly surprised that they had a FREE buffet! They had salad, pasta salad, some pasta, and a tray of hot meatballs. Just the thing to get my energy back up!
I danced a few songs and stayed till about 10:15 pm. Even as I left, more salseros were pouring into the place. It really was a hot place to be that night if you were in Cherry Hill that Sunday.
The music was mainly salsa from 9 pm to 10 pm and then 15 minutes of merengue. Most of the dancers were beginners and some were the familiar intermediate and intermediate/advanced dancers from the area. Overall, I enjoyed myself there and had a good time.
If you live in the area, or want to try something new on Sundays, try the Coastline in Cherry Hill, NJ.
While cover is free be sure to support them and buy a drink or two.