Sunday, October 26, 2008

Salsa by the Lake

Here's yet another reason to love Oakland -- we have Oaklandish Salsa by the Lake. Once in a while Salseros bring a boom box out to Lake Merritt, blast some music and wait for the crowds to gather for some dancing. Organized by Isaac, pictured wearing "Cuba" tee, I was lucky to get the heads up about today's social gathering where I ran into friends and acquaintances I met at previous Bay Area clubs, dance halls, classes...

More often than most you meet someone really cool. On this perfect Oakland afternoon, I chatted with Gilberto, pictured wearing an aloha shirt, sharp blazer and winning smile, dancing with me. He was sitting alone, tapping his vintage Air Jordans, and smiling pensively. I asked him to dance and he coyly claimed he's not that good. But, if I know anything about dancing, I know the best dressed guy in the room is always the best dancer. I was not wrong. Gilberto cut the concrete with his smooth moves. I came to learn that his wife passed just ten months ago and he's tentative about returning to tango which they went to frequently before she passed. In his words, he was "looking for something to fall in love with again." Well, salsa is an excellent candidate.

Also present was my very cool and very hot salsa instructor, India. She was pleased to see me considering my salsa partner, Peter, and I took a break because of my bum knee and his busy schedule. I was happy to report we'll be picking things up with her again. Man, that woman can really shake her stuff. She's pictured in the black tank dancing with one of her former students, Eric, who she described as, "he's no longer a student, he's just a great dancer now." I dream of the day she says that about me.

Then there's Andrea, pictured in a white tank dancing with Kat. She's the one who told me about today's event. She's also a part of my Gold's Gym salsa crew. Our gym's top secret is we get the best salsa instructors in town. So far we've had amazing Cubanos, Yismari and Leyder; the awesome stylist, Seaon, and local favorite, Juan. So here's a quick shout out to them and their loyal followers/students.

I leave for you here some images of the salsa dancing and a video of the rueda de casino with Isaac as caller. In the future I'll review clubs, websites, blogs, and instructors for you curious folks. Salsa, I must say, is great great great!

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