It’s that time of year again. *Sigh*
And if you’re anything like me you’ll be racking your brains, trying desperately to think of something unique to give.
Most presents are duds and end up in the bin, charity shop or ‘forgotten’ in the back of the cupboard.. But you want to do even better this year. This year you want to get hold of something that will really hit the spot for your Salsa dancing chum.
You can relax now. I’ve done all the hard work and collected 10 truly brilliant presents that are practically guaranteed to have a Salsa dancer grinning from ear-to-ear.
Buy them a book about Salsa that they can pour over when they can’t be out there dancing. Ned Sublette’s Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo is one of the few books that remains on my bookshelf (I’ve digitalised the rest, but can’t bear to do it with Ned’s) and it has been my music bible for many years.
Other great music choices are the Rueda Encyclopedia by Ian Smith: Dancing the Beautiful Wheel , any of Dan Allen’s books on Salsa, Rueda or Bachata or any of Kevin Moore’s ‘Beyond Salsa’ books on piano or percussion.
There are so many great salsa books out there and far more than we can mention here. Visit our salsa books page to discover more.
You don’t need me to remind you that Salsa music and dancing fit together like hand in glove. That’s why it’s important to be familiar with the music, able to ‘find’ the beat and best of all to dance with it. The trouble is that Latin music isn’t always the easiest for European ears to understand. Luckily, it’s a challenge that plenty of teacher, musicians and dancers are keen to help you overcome.
There are two great solutions I’d suggest to someone who needs a little helping hand in this area:
- Alex Wilson and Lee Knight’s book ‘Find The Rhythm’ will get you familiar with vital parts of salsa music like clave, rhythm and instrumentation. It’s a brilliant 120 page book with a workbook and a CD included and is written by experts in their field.
- The Salsa Beat Machine website (and now app) has been around for a while and is simple to use and easily accessible. Make sure you donate to the makers of this great resource!
3) Salsa Dance Class Voucher
Can you imagine endlessly postponing Salsa lessons simply because you didn’t have the time or money? Despite longing to learn. Despite repeatedly investigating classes, dates and details. Then what could be better than giving the gift of dance to this person? I know it’s a gift I myself would adore and it’s easy to arrange too. Simply contact your local salsa teachers and ask about Salsa class vouchers. Most will be really happy to help you and will have plenty of options, from individual classes, to group lessons, workshops and much more.
Have you ever been to a Salsa congress or festival? It’s the essential experience for any serious salsa dancer. Expect great stuff like workshops, performances, parties and plenty of all-nighters condensed into a weekend. The next one for the UK is the Scottish Salsa Congress in Feb 2014. See you there?
5) Stunning Pair of Dance Shoes
Formal dance shoes are not essential items of dance-wear but they are both beautiful and comfortable and they make it that much easier to dance . US- based Burju Shoes have some simply stunning Salsa shoes for men and women, as do UK- based Oobashoo
6) A Voucher for Babysitting Services
Don’t laugh. This simple inexpensive gift could be the difference between your friend dancing the night away, or sitting at home alone and pretending not feel insanely jealous of everyone else out there having fun! As you might know, it becomes a whole lot harder to get out dancing once kids come along, especially if both parents love to dance.
7) An Online Salsa Class or Smart Phone App
Whilst they don’t even come close to face-to-face classes, online courses and apps are a great alternative to consider and they are plenty to choose from. Find out what style of Salsa your friend or family member dances before parting with your cash.
The leader in the market has to be Addicted2Salsa with their app PocketSalsa which features over 150 videos and is also available offline. Another great option is SalsaAnywhere with over 300 clips including On1, On2, Cha-Cha, Cuban,and mens and ladies styling. These are mainly for cross-body style.
For complete beginners, try out the 5 week course from master US teacher Seaon Stylist-Bristol on the Udemy website. Or for more experienced dancers, select the ladies styling course from Irene Miguel (being offered for free at the moment).
If you are after some Cuban style Salsa, head on over to SalsaLust and see what they have on offer.
8) A Salsa Holiday
Are you ready for the ultimate Salsa gift? Sun, sea and salsa? There is no better way to immerse yourself in everything Salsa, supercharge your skills and have a completely fabulous time too. Take a look at our Salsa Holidays page to discover some of the best UK Salsa holiday operators around.
9) Music, sweet music.
I could hardly write about Salsa without including Salsa music on the list, could I? Thankfully it’s a lot easier to find great music online than it used to be, and most great music can be downloaded from mainstream stores like AmazonUK and iTunes or more specialist online stores like CubaMusic.
10) Fun Salsa things: DanceSocks™, T-shirts, mugs, keyrings, money pouches and more…
Make their trainers (or grippy shoes) danceable with these nifty cuffs for their shoes. They simply slip over the top of the shoe to make them dance-tastic (sorry I couldn’t help myself on the last word!) I wish they’d had these when I learned to dance. DanceSocks™ are brilliant.
Looking for something cute, funny and with a lower price tag than the suggestions above? You are going to love Zazzle . They have an enormous selection of amusing Salsa t-shirts, mugs, badges, caps, aprons, in fact any item of Salsa memorabilia you could imagine. Please.stop.tempting.me.to.buy.
For someone who loves to dance but often doesn’t have pockets, consider treating them to a dance money pouch. They usually fit around your ankle or wrist and are a discreet way to carry cash and other smaller items like lippy or keys.
As you can see, there are many wonderful Salsa gifts that you could treat your friend or loved one with. You can educate their brains or their dancing feet, treat them to a Salsa congress or holiday, find stunning Salsa shoes, or treat them to something that is simply fun like an amusing t-shirt.
The next dilemma is simply what to choose…..
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