Salsa playlist and other fun stuff

O.M.G. Work zapped me today and I had just about zero energy when I stopped by my house this evening. Although I felt depleted, I mustered the strength to change in to my dancing clothes and hit up my salsa class.

My instructor has made it very clear to me that I have to practice more on my own in order to take my dancing to the next level. Sometimes I dance in the kitchen (because I can turn on the tile), but I need more space and a mirror to check out my frame and practice spotting. I’ve decided to use the 24 Hour Fitness aerobics room to go through my salsa drills. I put together a practice playlist for the week, which was a wee bit challenging as I have to find fun songs with a diversity of tempo and transitions. I found myself downloading a slew of Hector Lavoe tunes – how I wish that I had discovered salsa in the 80s. In any case, these are the jams that made the final cut:

Micaela ~ Sonora Carruseles
Yo no se manana ~ Luis Enrique
Lloraras ~ Oscar D’Leon (mi papa… jejeje)
Rebelion ~ Joe Arroyo
He tratado ~ Victor Manuelle
Que locura enamorarme de ti ~ Eddie Santiago
Pedro Navaja ~ Ruben Blades
Brujeria ~ El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico
Se le ve ~ Andy Montanez y Daddy Yankee
Calle luna calle sol ~ Hector Lavoe
Un monton de estrellas ~ Gilberto Santa Rosa

(note: I’m too lazy to look for letters with acentos y tildes at this late hour)

In addition to salsa, I’m looking forward to a fun-filled weekend of kizomba. This beautiful couple will be hosting a workshop at Century Ballroom.

We’re lucky that we have an active kizomba community here in Seattle with some seasoned dancers that are great at networking. I fell in love with kizomba earlier this year. While salsa dancing is very structured and disciplined, kizomba is a bit more sensual and flojo (I don’t really pick my feet up off of the floor). The music draws me in because it is reminiscent of 90s R&B and is mostly sung in Portuguese. I’ve been studying Portuguese via Rosetta Stone so that I can understand what the hell that they are saying.

It is safe to say that dance has taken over my life in a positive way. When all else fails, I can count on the joy that I feel when I lose myself in music.

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A night of hip-hop for Hsquared


I hit up the Snoop Dogg & Ice Cube concert last night with my friend Geri. It really brought back some fond memories of 1992 – being 18, rebelling against my parents and chasing after a boy who ended up being totally wrong for me. Back in 1992, I had purchased tickets (Xmas present) for then-boyfriend to go see Ice Cube with his brother. Unfortunately, said brother was not able to make the show so it turned into a date night. I remember standing in line outside of the Paramount Theatre marveling at the string of four or five cars that were continually circling the building. I wondered who they were looking for and hoped that the person was not standing next to me because I didn’t want to get shot. A group of scruffy looking dudes who were chewing on collard greens, beans and rice in styrofoam take-out containers passed up the line. Several people in line threw out vulgarities not knowing that those dudes were members of the Pharcyde and would be opening for Cube that night. After a long wait, we made it inside and got settled in to our seats. The crowd boo’ed the first act off of the stage and I felt sad for them. The Pharcyde rocked. And then the real fun began. I don’t even remember Ice Cube performing at this concert. We were seated in the middle of the main floor. At various times throughout the night, people from the right or the left of us would run screaming towards the middle as the security tried to wrestle a gun away from someone in the crowd. No joke! Cube had some thugs up on the stage and I was just waiting for those jokers to start shooting in to the crowd. It wasn’t very fun and I didn’t really connect to the music at all that night.

Last night I revisited the Paramount for a completely different experience. As with most hip-hop shows in Seattle, the crowd had a strong contingent of what I like to call ‘kids from Mercer Island’ who can belt out every lyric and pass the blunts to their friends around me. Geri and I snaked through the sea of people and made our way to good viewing spot. I think Ice Cube is a total hottie and I loved watching him perform. The crowd went a little crazy when he cued up You can do it.

Snoop Dogg was also fun to watch. He had a massive diamond studded knuckle ornament that distracted me for most of the show. I enjoyed his set because, in addition to a DJ, he also had a drummer and bass player. Both looked like they were having a lot of fun. I feed a lot off of the energy of musicians, so when they are having a good time I can’t help but smile and dance a little harder to provide ‘feedback.’

Other random observations:
  • I’ve never smoked pot, but I am pretty sure I can now discern good from bad weed. The good has an appealing sweet smell while the bad smells like dog shit.
  • After a night out, I waver between feeling deaf and hypersensitive to sound. My poor ears – I really should start wearing earplugs.

As is a normal night with Geri, we drank a little, danced a lot, laughed, crossed comments about people-watching with serious discussions and ended the night with, “we’ll do it again soon, hon.”

Oh Sheila!!

I hit the town with the ladies last night. It was an honest-to-god date night with Brenda and Alice that included both dinner and a show.

We met up at the Icon Grill in downtown Seattle. I don’t hang out downtown very much, so it was a nice treat. Brenda and Alice are always great company. We determined that married and single ladies who mingle have a lot of fun (no, we are not depressed all of the time :P). We kicked off the meal with a little chicken-fried calamari which was delish. I ordered the fried chicken salad, which was also good, but I think it was a little bit too much fried food for me.

I had a couple of glasses of the Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells cabernet sauvignon. As the server was taking orders for our second round, Alice turned to me…

Alice: How is that cab? Is it dry??
Me: uh, duh, duh, duh…

I have two basic categories for wine which are good and bad (I guess I could also use drinkable and vinegar). This wine was good. I might even go as far as saying it was delightful, but I just can’t really distinguish the body/style of a glass of wine. Does that make me a lush?

After dinner, we strolled over to Jazz Alley to see the Pete Escovedo Orchestra. Now, if you’ve never heard of Pete Escovedo, I can assure you that you are not alone. I had no idea who he was prior to making my reservation for this show. Regardless, the show was packed. Why? Pete Escovedo tours with his daughter Sheila E, who used to play with the artist-formerly-known-as-Prince back in the 80s.

My reflections about this show:

* We sat close to the stage, but on stage left so we really had the best view of Sheila E, the bass player and the wind instrument guy. Sheila E totally rocked! As in, she hit those drums like she was backing up Metallica. The woman is strong! I loved that she had a wide grin on her face as she played and ‘dialoged’ with the energy of the crowd. She also looks damn fine for a 52-year-old woman.

* After the show, we were chatting about Juan Escovedo, another Pete Escovedo progeny who plays congas. What is it like to live in your sister’s shadow? The crowd would clap after his solos but it would completely erupt when Sheila E was in the mix. We all felt a little bit sorry for him.

Overall, it was a really fun show. I love to kick it with my girls. I love to wear dresses. Just another Saturday night in the life of Girl*wander.