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Music

20 FEEL-GOOD LATIN SONGS TO FIND YOUR RHYTHM

Naldine

Music is good for the soul. It heals. It evokes emotion and makes us cry, reminisce about old memories, or dance. I love when a song speaks to me. I don’t even need to understand the lyrics for my mind and body to react. That’s the magic of music. 

Lately, Shazam has become my second pair of ears in dance class. Rhythmology instructors, Jose Bolivar, and Bryan Perez have the best playlist by far. I’ve stolen some songs off their playlist and use them to improve my body movement and musicality everywhere! For example, I dance to these songs while getting ready for work, cleaning my room, or driving in the car. I probably look loco dancing by myself, but I can’t help it when the beat drops. Check out these Latin songs to practice your dance moves wherever you are. 

  1. Mi Salsa Tiene Sandunga – Elito Revé y su Charangón
  2. Mi Musica – Alexander Abreu
  3. Abre Que Voy – Miguel Enriquez
  4. Y Ya Para Qué – Manolito y su Trabuco
  5. Negra Rumba (feat. Frankie Vasquez y Jesus Alejandro) – Dj Ricky Campanelli
  6. Muévete Pa Aquí – Elito Revé y su Charangón
  7. Tres Dias – Havana D’Primera
  8. Vente Negra – Habana Con Kola
  9. Adicto – Prince Royce y Marc Anthony
  10. Bailame (Bachata Remix) – Bachata Tropical
  11. Love Song (The Cure Salsa Cover) – Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra
  12. Hush – Jr. 
  13. Historia de un Taxi – Marc Anthony y Ricardo Arjona
  14. La Vida Continuó – Karol G y Simone & Simaria
  15. Buscando la Verdad (feat. Jimmy Bosch) – DJ Ricky Campanelli
  16. La Bicicleta – Carlos Vives y Shakira
  17. Cúrame – Prince Royce y Manuel Turizo
  18. Vivir Mi Vida – Marc Anthony 
  19. La Tortura – Shakira y Maluma
  20. Immortal – Aventura

I hope you enjoy these songs as I do and find your rhythm. Please feel free to share any other songs that rock your mind, body, and soul.

La música es vida!

SHE SAID “YES” TO THE SHOWCASE: THE JOURNEY TO HISTORIA DE UN TAXI

Who knew that my private lessons with Alfred would lead to performing at the “Step It Up” Showcase last July. The old me would have waited until mastering the Salsa levels before my debut on stage. Alfred, however, had other plans and believed in my potential before I did. His belief was enough for me to rise to the challenge and commit to the process.

In hindsight, I’m happy I said yes when my mind told me, “No. You’re not ready yet. You’re only in Salsa Level 2.” The journey to “Historia de un Taxi” was an unforgettable learning experience and I can’t wait to perform again.

Lessons Learned During My Journey to the Showcase

  1. Being Bossy with the Boss Is Against the Rules. I feel out of control as a “follower” in Latin social dancing. In my world, I run things, but the Latin dance world doesn’t allow for two bosses. Therefore, learning to trust my leader is still a work in progress. Sometimes, you have to be humble and play your role ladies. Towards the end of the journey, I grasped the challenging concept of “follow and lead.” If Alfred asked if I was ready or knew my steps, I threw the ball back in his court and replied, “I’m just following your lead.” 
  2. Don’t Be Afraid to Participate in the Creative Process. From the beginning, I expressed my likes and dislikes about the music, costume and dance moves. I fell in love with the song “Historia de un Taxi” by Ricardo Arjona because of its catchy intro. Thanks to Google translation, it was more fun dissecting the lyrics of that song with Alfred. To add a more feminine touch to our routine, Brianna Cruz choreographed my stellar entrance. Lastly, Alfred and I chose the beautiful yellow costume owned and designed by Aleksandra “Ola” Kozlowska. It was an honor to wear that piece. Ultimately, teamwork makes the dream work, and we created a masterpiece!
  3. Just Do It like the Nike Tagline. Like the old me, don’t wait until you’re ready to commit to new things. I’m learning to say yes to opportunities that I fear because there’s growth on the other side. So face your fears and do it!
  4. Small Progress Is Still Progress. My goal was to achieve a double split and leg hold by the showcase. The good news is that I can touch my toes and do a right split. If I weren’t performing at the showcase, I would never start stretching or take dance classes more seriously. Like Cassie’s throwback song, I still have a long way to go, but I’m proud of my small milestones. 
  5. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others. Dancing with an amazing leader like Alfred is intimidating, but he is extremely supportive and exudes positive energy all the time. The reality is that not all leaders are like Alfred. So dancing in a room full of other seasoned dancers can be more daunting. Instead of comparing myself to my peers, I cheered them on and observed the qualities that set them apart from inexperienced dancers like me. So put aside your pride and be a student, take notes and be open to constructive criticism. Also, remember that there’s room for you in the spotlight too. 
  6. Smile and Hold Your Head Up High. I’m not going to lie. I didn’t perform the routine flawlessly as I imagined in my mind countless times. Despite the mishaps, I never lost my smile during that routine. I was present over perfect, and that alone gave me peace of mind after my performance.

If you’re interested in performing, go for it and say yes to the showcase! Also, check out some videos below of my practice sessions with Alfred and Brianna where you’ll see the “real” journey.

 

 

 

high five

TOP 5 REASONS TO JOIN RHYTHMOLOGY TODAY!

Naldine

At Rhythmology, I’ve met people from all walks of life. I love to hear stories about why someone started social dancing at this studio. I shared how burnout led me to dance. Like me, some people need a lifestyle change. Others start dancing to bond with their significant others or to come out of their shells. You might want a beautiful wedding dance to share with your future husband or wife. Whatever the reason is, I guarantee that there’s no better place to start your dancing journey than at Rhythmology. I’ve been a Rhythmology customer for over a year, and it’s an investment that you won’t regret!

1. It Offers More Flexible Group and Private Classes than Other Local Studios

Rhythmology is open seven days a week, allowing its customers to achieve a work-life balance. When I worked in the real estate field, I experienced long days where my closings extended beyond my regular work hours. Nevertheless, I could still catch a class in the late evenings or on weekends to de-stress. Likewise, some of my fellow dancers attend school, participate in extracurricular activities or work part-time.

You’ll also love the cool Rhythmology app, which shows the various Salsa and Bachata classes for beginner, intermediate or advanced students. The app allows me to plan out my schedule and to sign into class in advance. Don’t forget to download the app today from the iTunes app store or Google Play!

Apart from the app, you’ll deal a lot with Catherine, the face and heart of Rhythmology. Catherine will make sure that you’re in the right class and answer any of your questions or concerns. She keeps Rhythmology running so that you and I can have an enjoyable experience and come back for more.

2. It’s a Family-Like Culture

The minute you walk into the studio, you feel the magnetic energy. Every class fills up with people of diverse backgrounds who unite under one roof to immerse themselves in social Latin dance. More importantly, the people are warm and inviting. I always look forward to the friendly hellos, hugs, or kisses on the cheek before class. Giving high fives during partner dance is custom. We also clap and cheer for the student that performs the dance routine with the instructor at the end of class. So if you’re looking for a sense of community, you’ll undoubtedly find it here at Rhythmology. 

Dancing at Rhythmology Brings All Walks of Life Together

3. The Instructors Spice Up the Classroom

Every Rhythmology instructor brings his or her personality in the classroom. If you’re interested in the mechanics behind dancing, then you’ll enjoy Alfred’s class. Alfred is a mathematician at heart, and his methods will help you understand concepts like timing and musicality. If you’re seeking a more physical and mental workout, then I dare you to take Luis’ class. I find his choreography to be challenging, but he pushes you to the limit. If you’re looking to channel your rhythm and sensuality, then Bryan’s body movement class is a must. Your body will move in ways you didn’t know it could. Brianna represents for the ladies and moves with style and grace! She’ll make sure that you’ve mastered the basics to advance to the next level. 

I also can’t leave out the other exceptional instructors like Jose, Simone, Julie, Mark, Sal, Christina, and Bella, who spice up the classroom too.  I recommend that you try every instructor and get a taste of their flavors. 

4. It’s in the Heart of Westbury

Rhythmology is conveniently located on Long Island. The Long Island Railroad train station is right across the studio, and the highways are nearby. I’ve spoken to many dancers, who commute from Queens to East Long Island to attend classes. On a warm day, you could also walk to the restaurants on Post Avenue. My favorite spot is Punta Cana Grill, which has the best empanadas and Dominican cuisine in town. What better way to burn those calories than with a dance class at Rhythmology!

5. The Brand Promotes Community Not Sex

The reality is that most people associate social dancing with sex. Rhythmology, however, strives to keep the environment respectful and comfortable for all dancers. Its underlying mission is to establish a sense of community for people of all ages, races, socio-economic classes, etc. You’ll also pick up essential life skills like communication, confidence, and teamwork. Therefore, bring your friends and family and let’s embark on this journey together as a dance tribe!

following

THE ART OF FOLLOWING: HE RUNS THE DANCE FLOOR, BUT SHE RUNS THE WORLD!

Naldine

I wrote this post exclusively for my tribe of followers (aka the ladies). So men, no offense, but please exit stage left. Before you leave, check out Julian Hayes’ story of how dancing salsa taught him how to be a better man. Now back to you ladies. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: following. 

According to Beyonce, women run the world, but the social Latin dance world teaches us differently. In that world, the man leads, and the woman follows; hence, the rule of “follow and lead.” I know you’re thinking, “I’m not giving up control and following. These men can’t lead….” If you’re not consciously thinking about these harsh sentiments shared by many women, I bet that your body language while dancing speaks louder. Energy doesn’t lie. For example:

Do you perform the steps because you know it already?

Does your body tense up making it difficult to receive signals from your leader?

Did you turn in a direction or perform a step that your leader did not initiate?

If you answered yes to these questions like I did,

latin social; party

EXCUSE ME MISS, WOULD YOU LIKE TO DANCE? AN INSIDE LOOK INTO THE BENEFITS OF LATIN SOCIALS

Naldine

~ Put Away Your Fears and Wear Your Confidence ~ 

Last April, I faced my fear of Latin socials. For months, I made up excuses not to go to “Sabado de Rumba” because I didn’t feel “good enough.” I refused to look like a novice on the dance floor and felt safe hiding in the shadows of fear and insecurity. One day, out of nowhere, I had an epiphany. I realized that I would never muster the courage to go to a Latin social if I waited until the right time. So I put on my Salsa shoes and my sexy jeans and left my fears at home. I walked into “Sabado de Rumba” not knowing what to expect, but it was indeed one of the best learning experiences that I could ask for.

What Is a Latin Social?

A Latin social is a party. You’ll find a DJ spinning a hot mix, drinks, and a diverse group of people dancing the night away. The purpose of a Latin social is for new and seasoned dancers to show off or practice their fancy moves outside the classroom. In my opinion, social dancing is more challenging than the classroom experience because there’s no teacher to show you the dance steps. As the DJ randomly spins his playlist, it’s up to you to listen to the rhythm and improvise. You’ll also dance with a stranger for the first time. Luckily, Rhythmology teaches an introductory class to break the ice between the dancers.

The Benefits of Latin Socials

There’s no doubt that socials bring out the best in you if you’re open to the challenge. Sorry to break the news but you won’t improve your dancing skills by only attending classes. So check out a few reasons why you should be fearless and go to a social! If you’re free on Thursday nights, Rhythmology hosts Latin Pulse Thursdays at Mesita, a Mexican restaurant in Rockville Centre. Otherwise, join Rhythmology at Sabado de Rumba every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month!

  1. It Boosts Your Self-Confidence

First off, I salute the men. It takes a lot of courage to ask a woman to dance at a social. There’s constantly that fear of rejection. That night, I witnessed a man ask a couple of women to dance, but they kindly declined. Their noes didn’t stop him though! He bounced back from that moment of rejection and asked another woman to dance. That woman was me. I admired his self-confidence and found it to be super attractive. 

Honestly, “Excuse me, would you like to dance?” was quite the ice breaker question at the social. I liked how the men led with that simple question, and a conversation naturally continued on the dance floor. This question also made me think twice about saying no. I had a choice. I could either sit in a corner all night or challenge myself to become a strong social Latin dancer. After the third or fourth partner, I felt more confident and didn’t care if I looked “bad” or “inexperienced.” I had so much fun dancing that none of those insecurities mattered.

  1. It’s a Great Opportunity to Network “Across” and Make New Friends

Traditionally, the norm has been to network “up” in the industry that you desire to break into.  While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, I find that networking “across” is also practical and leads to new friendships. You never know who someone is or if you have common interests until you have a conversation. Latin socials foster meaningful connections. 

That night, I interacted with a lot of people, whom I most likely would never cross paths with. For example, I met a gentleman, who recently moved to New York from New Hampshire or Maine to start a new job. I’m originally from Massachusetts, so it was cool to chat briefly with a fellow New Englander. I also met another dancer, who expressed his interest in Rhythmology’s travel program to the Dominican Republic. I shared my vacation experience at Punta Cana and interest in the travel program too. My point is that besides showing off your fancy “shines,” break out of your shell and socialize with the person next to you!

  1. You Become a Strong Dancer Inside and Outside the Classroom

You could perform exceptionally on the stage, but if you can’t dance socially, then you’re not a versatile dancer. I realized that learning how to dance on and off the stage is valuable. That night, I danced with more than five different partners. Talk about speed dancing! Each partner was at a different skill level and taught me a lot about communication; namely, “following and leading.” I also learned to pay close attention to the music, which dictated whether we danced Salsa or Bachata. During the moments when I had to sit down and catch my breath, I observed the more experienced dancers. They moved with a sense of confidence and appeared to be lost in each other and the music. As I said, you don’t want to miss out on the great benefits of Latin socials. That night, I danced the night away, and you should dance too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPICE UP YOUR LIFE WITH RHYTHMOLOGY!

Naldine

~ It’s a Lifestyle. It’s a Culture. It’s a Connection to Your True Self ~

Most of us feel trapped in the mundane routines of life. We wake up hating Mondays through Fridays. We work eight to twelve hours a day and still come home to “homework.” We catch the bare minimum of sleep to recharge our tired bodies and repeat this boring dance routine again and again. This reality was a snippet of my life. I worked in the legal field, which was mentally exhausting. I felt like a robot. I wasn’t connecting with my work or the people I worked with. Most importantly, I wasn’t connecting with my true self. I was clearly out of sync but didn’t realize that I was experiencing symptoms of burnout, which is common among professionals. In retrospect, my life was missing spice, rhythm, and passion, until I discovered Rhythmology.

Why Rhythmology?

At first, Rhythmology was an escape from the burdens of life. I couldn’t wait to indulge in a dance class after a long day from work. As I immersed myself in Salsa and Bachata classes, I felt alive again and rediscovered a new way of living. I embraced, for example, the challenges of learning the “shines” from the diverse instructors. I loved interacting with people, whom I likely would never cross paths with in my professional world. Lastly, dancing at Rhythmology gave me the confidence to become the best version of myself. Now, I am more energized, in tune with my mind and body and happy. Salsa and Bachata classes are now part of my weekly, self-care routine.

My point is that Rhythmology is more than the four corners of a dance studio. It is a life-changing experience. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. Rhythmology is a community of diverse cultures that are woven together by the fluidity of dance. It also leaves a lingering taste of Latin culture that makes you come back for more.

So if you’re looking for a fun night to practice your social dancing skills, then Rhythmology hosts Sabado de Rumba every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. If you’re a low-key foodie like me or want to relax at the bar, Rhythmology partners with Mesita every Thursday evening and offers an introductory class. If you want to get closer to your Latin roots, then Rhythmology is the right place for you. It even has a travel program to Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Step Outside of Your Box and Join the Movement!

Like me, you can change your reality with one single step! Join the Rhythmology movement and immerse yourself in new experiences and meaningful connections that will truly add more passion to your life.

 

 

eye contact, connection

5 FUN TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SOCIAL LATIN DANCE SKILLS!

Naldine

~ Listen Closely. Feel Deeply. Look Beyond. Dance Freely ~

As the modified saying goes, practice makes permanent (not perfect)! It’s plain simple. You’re capable of developing good dancing habits if you commit to the process. Stop making excuses and become the great dancer that you aspire to be. Check out some great tips below and practice them until they stick!

  1. Listen to the Music

The “hustle and bustle” of New York makes it difficult to stop and be present in the moment. Latin dancing, however, requires us to pause and listen carefully to the music. Musicality is an important skill that determines your timing to different styles of dance like Salsa, Bachata, Cha-Cha or the Tango. That’s why you must listen and feel the beat to move to the rhythm. You can improve your dancing skills today by listening more to Latin music. You don’t even have to speak or understand Spanish to decipher the rhythm. If you need music recommendations, follow Rhythmology’s Salsa playlist on Spotify today!

  1. Ladies, It’s Okay to Let Him Lead!

In Latin dance, the man leads, and the woman follows. This sounds quite simple, but most new Latin dancers including myself struggle with this concept. If you’re anything like me, it’s difficult to let go of control and trust a stranger. However, I’ve learned that there shouldn’t be a power struggle between the man and the woman in Latin social dancing. Otherwise, you’ll look like a couple fighting on the dance floor. No Bueno! Latin dancing is about kindling a genuine connection and communicating through body language. The man and woman rely heavily upon their hands to transmit signals between them. For example, the man will spin his partner by using his hand and fingers.

Remember ladies, following your leader, isn’t an invitation to be passive or submissive. You’re not a prop or an accessory to the man. You’re equally important and must still do your part and pay attention to his signals! The next time you dance with a partner, I challenge you to keep calm and follow his lead. Over time, it will become second nature, and you’ll look like a pro on the dance floor.

  1. Make Eye Contact

This might be extremely awkward at first, but eye contact is a great way to connect with your partner. Dancing with your head down does not exude confidence and might cause you to bump heads.  So don’t be afraid to look into your partner’s eyes and break the awkwardness with a warm smile or “small talk.” Trust me, smiling works and that’s my go-to move in awkward situations like dancing with a stranger.  For couples, eye contact increases intimacy and creates a deeper connection. There is nothing more appealing in Latin dance than expressing love on the dance floor.

  1. Let Go of Your Inhibitions and Just Dance!

Why do we become so self-conscious around others yet we confidently dance in front of the mirror when no one is watching? Dancing should be a fun and relaxing experience whether we’re in the comfort of our homes or outside our comfort zones. Don’t overthink and just let your body move effortlessly. Everyone has rhythm. We’re often too focused on comparing our dancing skills to others that it blocks our ability to release the rhythm within us.

I admit that I struggle with the overthinking part a lot. Sometimes, my body naturally stiffens when I’m overthinking the counts or steps. However, we must relax our arms to properly give or receive signals, as we discussed in the second tip. Remember just to let the music take over and dance.

  1. Be Patient

It takes time to develop strong dancing skills. Be easy on yourself and don’t rush the process. It’s okay to step on your partner’s foot or be off beat from time to time. It’s not the end of the world if you turned the opposite way or forgot to shift your weight. Take the time to learn from these mishaps and practice until you improve. Self-awareness is the key to succeed as a dancer. If you find yourself struggling with the dance steps or rhythm, then sign up for private lessons. Private lessons are less intimidating than a group class or a social at a club. So don’t wait to schedule a private class today to hone your dancing skills! You’ll thank me later. 

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