Friday, October 15, 2010

Buffalo Makes Me Want to Dance!

Buffalo Salsa
I didn't know what to expect when I signed up for a series of salsa classes. I purchased the series on a whim when LivingSocial.com was offering a deal of four classes for $20. Salsa for the Soul offers classes for beginners as well as more experienced dancers at the Configuration Dance Studio on Lexington Ave. I was intrigued but also a little intimidated by the idea of salsa, not only because it looks like a complicated dance, but also because those salsa girls always make it look so damn sexy! I don't think I'll ever move quite like the pros, but after two classes I'm at least somewhat comfortable with the basic steps. The instructors take their time explaining everything we do in the class, and there is a lot of repetition to help everyone get used to the movement. It's not only fun, but also a pretty decent workout! All that moving definitely gets the heart pumping. Anyone who is interested in Salsa for the Soul can check out their facebook page. For info about upcoming classes you can also email Sarah Hooper (Salsa Sarah) at Salsaforthesoul@gmail.com.

There is actually more of a salsa dance scene in Buffalo than I ever realized. I first saw Salsa Sarah doing a Salsa for the Soul workshop at a Latin Jazz Project performance on Bidwell this summer. She performed again at the Party for the Olmsted Parks last month (which was a great time.) The Latin Jazz Project performs every Friday night at Barcelona on Pearl. Anyone can go to dance, or just listen to some excellent Latin music. They also play at the Anchor Bar (home of the original Buffalo Wing) on Saturdays. Chow Chocolate  has a "noche de salsa" event every Wednesday which includes a lesson followed by open dancing.

Take a dance class in Buffalo!
In addition to Salsa for the Soul, there are other organizations that offer Salsa and other Latin dance classes such as the Latin American Institute, and Folkloric Productions.

As a matter of fact, there are all kinds of dance classes available in Buffalo. Kineo Lab offers contemporary dance classes for both children and adults. The American Academy of Ballet offers classes in ballet for children and adults as well as modern, jazz and tap. For the tango enthusiast, there's Buffalo Tango. Anyone interested in ballroom dancing can check out the Arthur Murray Studios, and there is a surprisingly large amount of studios and teachers offering Belly Dance including Ilya's on Hertel Ave, The Belly Dance Academy in Kenmore, and the Western New York Bellydance Association. For the daring and adventurous, there is the Pole Play Dance Studio on Hertel Ave. They offer pole dancing classes as well as chair dance, flexibility, and hoop dancing.

Buffalo's Own Dance Company
If you're more interested in watching a dance performance than in learning to dance yourself, Buffalo also has its own touring dance company. I took in a performance by the Lehrer Dance company last Friday at UB. I was absolutely blown away by the raw athleticism of the dancers. These people were doing things with their bodies that mere mortals should not be able to do. They were balancing on each other and holding postures that would make bodybuilders tremble.

image courtesy of lehrerdance.org
I've never really attended a dance performance (other than the Nutcraker ballet at Christmas time - check it out at Shea's) but what intrigued me enough to check this one out was a dance entitled "An American Siddhartha: The Way Within" which was performed to a soundtrack of Led Zeppelin and The Guess Who. Not what I expected to see on a modern dance program. I know very little about modern dance, but I enjoyed the performance and noticed how the piece utilized color and lighting along with song and movement to tell a story. Very cool.

The Lehrer Dance company was founded in 2007 by UB alum Jon Lehrer. Since then, the company has spent time touring the country, receiving rave reviews in cities such as Chicago and Houston, as well as from national dance publications including Dance Magazine. In addition to touring, the company also has a home season during which they perform here in Buffalo at the UB Center for the Arts. Not only is Lehrer Dance based out of Buffalo, the company has also recruited some dancers from the Western New York community. I am proud to say that Buffalo has a world-class touring dance company, and I am sure that they are equally proud to call Buffalo home. We need organizations to be out there sharing positive ideas about Buffalo, so I hope my readers will join me in supporting them.

  Buffalo on the cheap!
I purchased my salsa lessons through LivingSocial, a Web site that offers one local deal per day to members. As I have yet to find employment since moving back to Buffalo this summer (someone please hire me!), I have had to learn how to be frugal in this city. Luckily for me, LivingSocial isn't the only Web site to offer the specials. Groupon and Seize the Deal are similar sites. It's free to sign up for all three services, and members will receive daily emails letting them know about that day's deals. I love these services, which feature deals from restaurants, salons and spas, theatres, boutiques, local attractions, and more.

Other sites that help you save money and find deals in the area are the Deal Map and Channel 2's Discount Deals. If anyone knows about any additional sites for finding local savings, please send them my way and I will share them here!

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