First things first, you and your team are awesome teachers!!
I have attended a couple of other Salsa clubs and the classes in London and found they were very crowded, the teachers were fun but were limited in teaching decent technique by virtue of the venue and thankfully, I had your voice in my ear ensuring I kept the TLC basics going!
As a learning experience, it was worlds apart from TLC, and the post lesson dancing was ok but not like ours.
What it demonstrated is that we are spoiled with you and your team so I am now very much looking forward to next week when I plan to Salsa from Weds to Fri!!
Roger - Southampton
Thank you for organising the tango class today with Sophie. Both enjoyable and informative, - time just flew by.
Thank you also for your own weekly classes, which I always look forwards to. - Yes, Appreciations for a truly gifted and conscientious team of teachers (who's enduring good humour and care, has picked me back up, after a confidence crash, many a time), lovely variety of neo and trad music, and lovely dance hall.
Dancing, like yoga, brings a much needed balance to my life, on all three levels, plus the social aspect too. My life feels a lot richer for your classes. Thank you.
Kathleen. January 2012
I had a great time attending two nights, Wednesday (Woodlands Community College) and Thursday at Archers Club.
During my holidays I go out some evenings and dance all over the south of the country, my nights in Southampton were the best ones this year. This was due to the numbers of people attending and the atmosphere there, all very impressive for a week night! It was obvious from talking to people there that a lot of work goes into this and that it's very well organised.
For anyone thinking of giving one of these nights a try, you won't be disappointed.
All the best
Toby - Guernsey 2011
I've had the great pleasure of attending your Salsa Caliente nights (and one party) on a couple of Friday nights and because I have always enjoyed the very friendly atmosphere, the great classes and dancing (and your warm welcome), I have developed a bit of a soft spot for that venue :-)
I am just back from LA (where ironically and disappointingly the one salsa club I visited did NOT dance cross-body style!!) so I haven't been able to join you recently, but I hope to get to one of your Friday Calientes in the near future, (back at the Archers Club) and I look forward to seeing you again.
Thank you for providing such a lovely salsa experience
Very best wishes,
Thank you so much for organising Saturday night (16 July 2011), it was fabulous. Trevor Layne was lovely and the DJ (Anthony Harlock) was superb, he played such fantastic music, the vibe he created was electric
This is just to let you know that TLC has been very supportive of me in keeping me healthy in body and mind over the past couple of years and I really do not know how I would have been able to cope without the support of your dance team and dance partners.
I've just been looking all through TLC web site & got to your philosophy, while reading "why dance" I was amazed to find that every single line of it applies to me.
I came along with a friend who wanted to try Salsa & do something to cheer me up as I was going through a difficult time. My friend only came 1 week back in February & decided it wasn't for her, here I am 7 months on dancing 3/4 nights every week at TLC & really looking forward to a whole weekend of dance at Hayling Island.
I have made new friends, have a new social life, lost weight, feel much fitter & more confident. I am even doing fancy dress at Hayling Island for the first time in my adult life ! TLC has DEFINITELY changed my life for the best I live for Salsa nights.
Thanks to you & your team for making me feel part of the TLC family
Southampton Sept 2010
& then again in June 2011:
As you know I was taken seriously ill in April with pneumonia & pluresy which resulted in me spending a month in hospital & having major chest surgery. I am now recovering slowly & planning to give Ballroom a try at the end of August & hopefully back to Salsa by end of September.
A big thanks to you & everyone at TLC who has encouraged me to dance & increase the number of times a week I danced, which was at least 4/5 times a week. Without this I wouldn't have been so fit & the medical staff told me I probably wouldn't have made it through my first week in hospital. So dancing is DEFINITELY good for me & very likely saved my life. I will be back as soon as I get the all clear . I am really missing my Salsa fix.
See you all soon
Southampton - 2011
What is all this Salsa dancing about?
I get asked along to partner a friend who wanted to start but was in need of support.
I realise that by the end of that first evening that the Salsa bug had already bitten me!
I rapidly move into the addiction phase, evident by needing to dance twice a week, and invest in some leather soled shoes too.
By week 4 having moved holiday plans around so as not to miss a Thursday night
and whilst away, find and attend a Salsa club in North Yorkshire.
Why eye. One tut three. Git ur whippet owt o’ ere. Fifv sisx svhen wi yi. A bit different up there but great dancers.
Worryingly concerned that addiction has now become obsession.
Realisation that these classes are beginning to make sense and the moves are actually being remembered.
The BUZZ after successful evenings with genuine volunteered compliments finds the following day rather long having been too excited to sleep!
NOW a kind of hunger to discover new moves and pattern combinations.
Please help – where will all this end up?
Does this sound familiar? All this since the beginning of March what a turn around of a year.
So a BIG thank you Tracie
Paul - Hythe July 2010
(Tracie replied - if you think you're hooked now .... wait until you try Tango on Tuesday - see you there!)
I went to the last social (Salsa Caliente) for the first time on Friday, 6 November and felt I had to let you know how much I enjoyed the evening!
I am new to Salsa, having only just got to the point of being able to join you on Fridays, and was apprehensive to say the least. Not only because of my salsa ‘ability’ but also because I am not the most confident person in the world. In fact, I think I was as nervous about being a female there on my own than the dancing!
However I need not have worried at all. I was made to feel so welcome by everybody I spoke to. The people who suffered dancing with me were understanding but also encouraging when I did manage to get something right!!
Several people explained I could just ask people to dance without fear of them saying no-after all, people are there because they love to dance.
My only disappointment was that driving home at 12.15 it was too late to phone anybody to tell them what a fabulous evening I had just had!
TLC-it says it all!!!!!!!!
Thank you for a brighter future I can see heading my way.
CM, Southampton Nov 2009
My name is Maria and I have been going to your salsa classes for over a year now. I am from Uruguay, in South America, and I love going to your club because it makes me feel I little bit closer to home.
I started going to salsa because I thought it would be nice to hear some music like in my country and in Spanish, but after a couple of weeks I realize that I was having so much fun, and it stopped being about the music but about the atmosphere and the energy there.
I am writing to you to tell you how amazing is the place you have created
Thank you very much
Maria from Southampton in 2009
"Hi Tracie, I just thought I’d get in touch to thank you for including me in your class last Friday and I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to speak afterwards. Your club facilities, teaching and standard of dancing on the floor are far superior to anywhere I’ve been before, nevertheless the guys made me feel welcome and it was great to be given that much opportunity to dance afterwards." ...
Liz from Alton in 2009
"It is a great pleasure to be able to make friends on the dance floor anywhere I go, and I owe it all to TLC. I've never really said thank you enough for the enthusiasm you inject into the club, and will cherish the memories I have had with so many great dancers, and talented teachers. I am surrounded here by a huge salsa scene, and it makes me realize how world-class TLC is."
Tom - now in Boston in 2009
"I feel so lucky to have found your wonderful dance school. It all started with a hesitant email to you 3 years ago, asking whether you accepted a 40-something with no dance experience in your classes. It was the beginning of great fun, new friendships and great passion for tango. Great!! "
Sonia on leaving Southampton to Italy in 2009
"Just a quick e-mail to wish you and your team all a happy Christmas and to say thank you for all your efforts during the year that go to make your classes so enjoyable.
I've really enjoyed my dancing this year and its all down to you and your team of teachers who are all so friendly and enthusiastic which makes the classes very welcoming and brakes down the nervousness."
So thanks again
Paul from Southampton in 2007
Just a couple of the lovely emails on celebrating Tracie's 10th anniversary in 2006:
Congratulations on your 10th anniversary, Thank you for your especially gifted teaching and the joy of dance with which you have enthused your students over this time.
Maggie and I would love to attend your 10th Anniversary Celebrations. Although I am finding it difficult to get to salsa regularly at the moment it is great to know you are out there giving so many people such pleasure and being part of your salsa scene has been a wonderful and life changing experience for me.
Looking forward to celebrating with you.
The invitation made, they take
their places on the floor.
The scene is set for dance,
emotions, passion - maybe more
Enfolding in his arms,
the balance for their dance.
Accepting his embrace she slips
into a Tango Trance
A breath, a step -
they start anew
their search for the sublime
experience, in this "new"
dance - that's old as time.
He takes a step and
to see if she will take the chance:
to step into the space, and lead
them further in the dance.
Firmly yet softly he
her as they use the floor;
Softly yet firmly she responds,
To make their feelings soar
The other dancers as
embrace in turn this pair.
They lead them into space
once filled - now empty air.
The music leads; the
The follower leads too.
A single body dances where
a moment past were two.
Their feet caress the
a gentle hold upon the space
They need to write the words
of tango; dance, embrace.
Embrace it is that
each move so crystal clear.
A thought from one is all the lead
the other needs to hear...
(c) 2007 O.McArdle
The doors opened and in walked Elvis, George Clooney and Superman! Who would you choose to dance with?
Where was this I hear you ask? Is it at Madam Tussauds? Is it in the US, no … it’s in SOUTHAMPTON!
Yes it was at Salsa Caliente, in Southampton last Friday evening (2nd May 2003) where the dress code was any character within a TV drama wearing uniform. There were many actors from the Bill in police uniform, gangs of saucy school girls and head masters from Grange Hill and of course the army came in their squadrons.
I heard a few comments from the female students after the classes and the majority of girls said it was hard to concentrate on their moves as Superman Marcus was teaching with a pair of socks down his pants!
The Advanced lesson was taught by none other than Rohan Brown in full High Ranking Naval Officer’s outfit. The females were visibly drooling and they had trouble keeping their accessories in tact as they tried to stay focussed!
The Southampton Angels provided the cabaret and boy, were they equipped … with pistols, bazookas, daggers, pompoms, whips, feather dusters and mops! The eight-girl troupe comprised of 3 salsa policegirls Ruth, Michelle and Maxine, squadron leaders Olga and Jo, cheer leader Julia, Wonder Woman Tracie and Peggy Ollerenshaw from Pontins ... oops - sorry Campers, I mean Maplins - aka Sarah-Jane. Their routine was accessorised with all forms of weapons that delighted the crowd.
Not one to avoid the attention, Brian Porter from Portsmouth was celebrating his 40th birthday on the same night. He had a very sexy and active birthday dance with all the girls, in which Rohan tried to infiltrate the bevy of beauties. Luckily Brian managed to spot him in time by the stubble on his chin - that was not a close shave!
Rohan judged the ‘best dressed’ competition and the atmosphere was tense with anticipation. The winners (see photos) were:
Best His & Hers: Isobel in PVC maid outfit and Doug as Bin Laden (Rohan obviously knows something about Bin Laden’s non-religious secrets) Best individual: Thelma as One Muskateer (having left the other two at home) Most Innovative: Sarah-Jane as Peggy from Maplins Holiday Camp who just had to utter those famous words ..."Hi de Hi!" ... naturally the crowd responded with - of course - "Ho de Ho!"
The night proceeded with hot and sweaty dancing, where one could see couples playing … ooops … dancing doctors with nurses, Upstairs with Downstairs, teachers with school girls, police with army and Superman with Wonder Woman.
At the stroke of midnight we had to end the fantastic evening, but all was not lost. We could discuss and gossip over a lovely brew served in the lounge. Brian’s cake fed the many and we all went home happy … just waiting for the next Caliente in two weeks time!
Our next themed nights are listed on the Events Page
Little did I think that when my friend started a salsa dancing school in Southampton and asked me to go along, that a few years later I'd be treading the boards on stage!
I've been dancing for 6 years now at Tracie's Latin Club. Apart from keeping fit, I enjoy a great social scene with frequent dance weekenders, (yes, I can still stay up to 6am!) being taught by top dance teachers from London, New York and Cuba, have met great friends, enjoyed sailing and cycling holidays with them and met my partner on the dance floor ... all through salsa!
In April this year I was invited to join a salsa dance troupe called The Angels - as in Charlie's (see photo). We worked hard over the months with some gruelling practices and leading up to a performance we put in approx. 5 hours per week. We have performed at local events, including the Queen's Jubilee celebrations in Southampton, the Bacardi Annual Dinner Dance at the new "Saints" Football Stadium (never thought I'd be anybody's cabaret!) and recently at a "Dance Extravaganza" at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton for charity.
In the week running up to the Extravaganza, we practised almost every night. It was to be a Dance Extravaganza - never seen in Southampton before (and probably never again!) comprising all kinds of dance, from ballet, belly, flamenco, Irish, salsa, swing (Lindy hop), street jazz, tango and more.
On the Friday night we tried out the stage at the theatre. Well, the floor was so slippery, I must have slipped at least twice in each practice - this was not the sort of stuff that would impress a 230+ audience! Luckily, it emerged that the stage was to be painted in time for the show, providing that vital friction to enable us to remain upright!
On the Saturday afternoon, all 70 dancers were required to go through a technical run-through, which lasted nearly 5 hours. Talk about "Lights, cameras and action"! There was walkie-talkie control between the "wings" and technical men up in the "Gods", who were setting the lights, colour schemes, backdrops, spotlights, music, video cameramen, with all the finishing touches being made to the running order etc, etc. And so we were transformed to the world of stage and screen for a day (yes it's all going to be on video - that's the screen bit!).
We were all shown to our huge dressing room, complete with a sign saying "Female Stars" on the door and with light bulbs running down the mirrors - just like the movies! At 7pm the House was open to the public, all performers nervously waiting backstage for curtain-up at 7.30pm and running orders still being written up.
While the Angels were preparing for our big moment, listening to the music being piped through speakers backstage, (even in the toilets) so that we could keep abreast of our running order, there was a request from the female tango star, "Does anybody mind if I bring in my hairdresser?" (a male of course). "No, that's fine, almost everybody replied" ... as we're all sat there in our underwear!
(Holy wot-not I wanna be a hairdresser! DDE)
And so, the show began ...
The Master of Ceremonies came on from stage right in darkness and where did the spotlight appear - stage left!! Was this to set the tone for the evening? Our first routine was 6th in the running order for the first half and following the interval our second routine was the 8th act - enough time for costume changes and make-up re-adjustments!
OK, the cue runner called us and we're whispering nervously backstage to each other "Help! - what's that bit after the da-da, da,-da, bit?", "Which foot starts off the paradiddle?"; "Am I on the right foot when ...?". We're off on the seemingly long journey to the stage and our choreographer shouts after us "I don't care if you mess up, just SMILE, GIRLS ... SMILE!"
So, off we go, ready and waiting in the wings, three of us facing each other across the stage. Crikey! What a lot of people out there!! .... And what happens?! .... WRONG MUSIC!!! Sounds like two tracks playing at once!!! Arrrrrrgh! We're pulling faces and motioning CUT!, CUT!!, then the music cuts in to recognisable melodies and six girls scramble across the stage to catch up with the music!, being cheated of our dramatic entrance, which we'd practised to perfection ... oh well, that's show business!! The rest of the performance went off without a hitch and sounds of "We did it! Did you hear them clapping?" were ringing through the corridors on the way back to the 'Female Stars' dressing room.
The audience loved our second routine, a funky number, which we finished to cheers and applause - so I'm told. As I'm holding this seemingly endless pose at the end, I was almost oblivious to what was happening beyond the edge of the stage and could only think "For God's sake just hurry up with "lights out", so my quads can relax!"
Then the FINALE .... (which was practised for the first time at 6pm with 30 or more dancers on stage). It was so simple, yet we were still refining it in the dressing room before going on. Yours truly was showing the others what to do backstage and who went the wrong way for the real thing? ME!! Bumping into others with style! A mate(?!) clocked me at distance, came up to me at the After-Show Party laughingly saying "You cracked me up in the Finale!" I wonder what he'll remember me for that night?!
It was over and we were a hit! - to ourselves at least!! ... and remained on a high for the rest of the evening. I awoke the next morning, laughing aloud - sadly, with my boyfriend away in Sardinia on business, unable to be there for my big moment, I only had myself to giggle with! It certainly was an evening to remember and treasure. The alarming thought is that it is all caught on video!
The lightning struck and the heavens opened in true British Summer style. Luckily for us it was the day BEFORE the Summer Salsa, Swing and Tango Ball at Winchester Guildhall held on the 10th August.
Overwhelming demand (again) made this event an absolute sell out again with over 450 dancers from Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Norfolk, Nottingham and of course the South Coast who came to this fantastic venue. With three ballrooms to choose from, the dancers were spoilt for choice. I heard on the grapevine that someone had brought three changes of clothes with them for each type of dance . now that's dedication!
The audience had a rare treat with two shows (see photos): Amir and Kate of DanceFusion performed a fantastic routine to 'Hey Big Spender' followed by Leroy and Jill Barrett - Jill had only just flown in that day from the US - and they impressed the crowd with their Tango show and technique.
shows, the audience had the choice of dancing in three prestigious ballrooms
l In the King Alfred Hall, Steve Morrall delighted the Tangueros when he played his selection of music as well as playing live on his Bandoneon;
l In the King Charles Hall the Salseros could not sit still when Julian "The Duke" played his hot tunes or when 'Palenke' gave a superb high energy live performance and the room rocked with a vibrant party atmosphere;
l In the Wintonian Room Lindy Hoppers strutted their stuff to Andy Kale's swinging big band tunes, while one and all were swooned by the slower Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra songs - reminiscent of the King and Queen of dance, Fred and Ginger!
The mixture of great music, dancing and efforts to dress elegantly for the occasion, helped to make this an unforgettable night.
All photos courtesy of Gary Lam - and I thank him for all his assistance
Quote from the evening:
While watching the Swing dancers in full flow, Richard Pierre asked Marcus "Do you Swing?" and Marcus quickly replied "No I'm normally a one woman guy" !
from behind the scenes:
Some people may not know this, but Andy Kale (the Swing DJ) called me a couple of weeks before the event and told me the bad news that he had broken his foot. However, although concerned for his health, I was relieved when he expressed the good news that he could still DJ for me on the big day! So while everyone was dressing up and jumping into their cars to travel down/up/along to the big event, Andy was hobbling on crutches and Debi Garrod ushered not only him, but also all his equipment in to the venue. So if you were dancing to Andy's beautiful Swing music in the Wintonian Suite and wondered why he never moved from his seat, you now know why. I wish to thank Andy for his professionalism and making such a great effort to be there - we all loved your music.