THE SYDNEY SALSA SCENE
The Sydney Salsa scene has come a long way! Ten years ago, the best you could do was go to "La Campana", have some tapas and watch the local band playing Latin music. You would have seen a handful of Latinos grooving along to the music.
Fascinated by their dancing, you may have approached them to ask what they were dancing, to which they would have replied, "Salsa". Then, you'd ask, "Where could I learn?" A typical answer would have been; "I grew up with Salsa. It's in my blood and I don't really know how to show you - just feel the rhythm"! Often, this would have led to a premature end to one's dancing ambitions!
In the early 90's, things started to change.
A Brazilian musician & composer, Jose Prates,
arrived. He had toured the world and decided to
settle in Sydney, where he became Sydney's first
well-known Salsa teacher. More importantly,
however, was that for the first time, he started to
teach large numbers of non-Latinos. This marked
the beginning of the Sydney Salsa scene.
In 1997, Club Salsa was formed by the partnership
of Ben Tang and Antonio Cortese, a Doctor and
an Aeronautical Engineer respectively. Armed
with a passion for Salsa dancing and crazy
determination, they embarked on a journey to
teach Salsa to mainstream Sydney. Classes grew rapidly, and by 2000, their team of Instructors, DJs & support staff numbered over 20. Today, Club Salsa is Australia's biggest Salsa promoter.
In 1999, Casino Rueda was introduced to Sydney by a visiting Salsa dancer from Switzerland. A group of dancers enthusiastically embraced it and formed the first Rueda group in Sydney. Later the group divided into two groups, each forming their own Rueda school.
Now every week hundreds of Sydney Salsa lovers gather at various clubs and venues around the city, passionately embracing this magical rhythm of Salsa, which is as exhilarating as it is addictive. This network of Salsa enthusiasts, teachers and students brings together individuals with a common interest and shared passion, interwoven with stories of newfound friendships, dance floor romances and the frequent excitement of new moves, new classes and new venues. Yes, the Sydney Salsa scene is small, but it is exciting and is growing every year.
Where will Sydney be in another ten years?
One can look at other international cities to gauge
where Sydney may be heading. Salsa capitals in
Europe, like London, Barcelona, Rome and Paris
enjoy at least twenty or so Salsa venues each.
Other budding new Salsa capitals such as Tokyo,
Seoul and Tel Aviv are now also enjoying growing
local dance scenes. Twenty years ago, all these
cities were more or less like Sydney is today;
small but vibrant local scenes, growing steadily
and gaining popularity over time. Maybe, given
another 10 years, we'll be able to catch up with
these other cities.
Against the backdrop of continuous development in
the international Salsa scene, Sydney will soon find itself connected with the rest of the world. It will only be a matter of time before more dancers return to Sydney from overseas, with more new moves to learn and teach. The steady growth in size of our existing market will continue and we can look forward to many years of happy dancing and partying!
Y que viva la Salsa!