,It all started 8 years ago when one of my best friends, Bokmee, convinced me to go to Cuba with her for a Salsa Holiday.
At that time I had been a Social Salsa dancer for about 20 years already, and I was very much into Colombian Salsa. So much so that I was actually planning to go to Colombia to refine that specific style.
But Bokmee, finally managed to convince me. And a few months later there we were on a plane to Santiago De Cuba for a Salsa holiday organized by Caledonia Worldwide which will remain in my heart and memories as the happiest holiday of my life 💞💞💞
I will always be grateful to Bokmee to persist in convincing me to go with her!!!
💬So .... what happened there that literally changed my life?
During the first 9 days in Santiago we were training every morning for 3 hours with professional Cuban dancers in this very decaying theatre with only a small fun to give us some relief from the boiling heat.
We were doing Salsa, Rueda and Son..... Oh My Gosh.... Son, it was love at first note too!💘
After the morning sessions we would have the afternoons free to do our things and occasionally some excursions.
But what was great was that while we were out and about in Santiago or while we were having our lunch, there was always some live band playing for you and you could not help but keep dancing. This went on in the evenings as well at dinner time.
Live bands in Santiago are a constant presence in every corner of the old town. And then in Casa de la Trova and Artex where various bands rotate from early afternoon till the evening.
You are totally immersed from morning till late night in the beautiful world of Cuban music, which, by the way, it's not just Salsa. But I will leave this topic for another post.
And then you keep dancing after dinner too until the early hours of morning leaving you with only a few hours to sleep.
Hmmm.... ok. This does not sound so extraordinary so far. I agree.💤💤
However, what was extraordinary was the excitement and the happiness that all this dancing was making me feel to the point that I could not sleep at all for all those 9 consecutive days.
I was on an overdose of adrenaline that kept me awake day and night
I thought I was going to die! And was thinking "if I die now I will die happy".😅🤣🤣💖💖💖
I had never experienced such level of happiness like I did in those 9 days in Santiago.
I never thought a person could achieve such level of explosive happiness.💥💥💥💥
But that's not all!
During our dancing marathons I received some feedback from Odalys, the Assistant to the Artistic Director of the Balletto Folklorico Kutumba, which gave me goose bumps there and there and the confidence to start Salsa Divina later on.
Odalys said to me and I will never forget her words:
"Divina, I have been working with professional dancers for the last 20 years and very rarely I see in my dancers what I see in you while you are dancing.".. and I ask in my funny Spanish Italian: "what do you mean?"... And she replies: "when you dance, you dance with your soul and I can see how you feel. You manage to convey that in your facial expression and your body movement. And it's such a pleasure to watch you doing that".
Yes... she gave me goose bumps then! And even right now while I am writing..✴✴✴
And then there was this lady in our group, Connie from Canada.
She also said to me a couple of times: "Divina, you are such a pleasure to watch dancing. You make me want to dance too".
This obviously gave me immense pleasure too.. And that was it. It happened there and there. I finally had my "enlightenment". I finally understood what I wanted to do in life.
What was it then? Certainly I understood through that experience that I needed more dancing in my life. But that was not enough.
I needed to find a way to pass this passion on to other people to let them experience the same sort of happiness that I experience when I am dancing to Salsa and the rest.
So there I was, 14 days after, back in UK, and desperately looking for a good Salsa Teacher Training. And after some research and coming across some not so great courses finally my dearest friend Katrina sent me the right link for the right course.
And after 9 months of attending the Level 1 & 2 of the Salsa Teacher Training over the weekends (for a total of 100 hours) at ILS founded by "Fire" Michael Stead, I was finally a qualified Salsa Teacher ❣❣❣
I will always be grateful to all the people that have helped me to achieve my true happiness.
My dearest friends Katrina and Bokmee know how much I love Salsa and guided me in the right direction. And thank you to Fire Stead and Caroline Cunningham, my tutors, for teaching me really an awful lot of great stuff.
Soon after receiving my certificates the first seeds of Salsa Divina were planted between end of 2012 and beginning of 2013...
Que Viva la Salsa!