Tag Archives: salsa

Christmas in Cuba

Like old women who were once BEAUTY queens, buildings radiantly worn, time has aged them increasingly VIBRANT, there’s a thickness in the air, my hair has created a life of its own, jungle texture, there’s a PURITY and a GRIT that exists in the people that hasn’t yet been corrupted by our consumerism, we praise thru song and DANCE to the deities originating from the mother, OSHUN drips honey all over her body, seduction, chango takes hold of my hips, cigarettes so prevalent my voice has some rasp, I like the sound and consider smoking for 3.7 seconds until the feeling of being boxed in with the smoke leaves me claustrophobic for freshness and life force, no puedo imaginar Cuba without vintage treasures that adorn their streets and lives and hearts, no system is flawless, I still am learning what it means to be FREE, beyond the constraints of my government, in the obscure parts of my mind, in the pained parts of my heart, dancers BRILLIANT as the sun! honored to study with maestros, limber/effortless/fluid they paint through their bodies with a strength that withstands the cement floor, my feet dance till they’re dead and reincarnate into a spirit beyond my understanding, no mirrors in class to learn so everything must be felt, the queen of folklorio reminds us to dance with our faces, Rumba! Various levels of provocativeness, one in Matanzas where the man playfully pops the woman in the pussy! damn! the roosters call our alarm clock, Guantanamo’s HEART exceeds its reputation, el aire in Santiago tan sucio – makes LA smog seem refreshing, no toilet paper in any public restrooms, my uber healthy spoiled palate adjusts to minimal veggies, good thing I love some rice and beans, pescado and platanos, mmmm fresh mango juice, dark aged rum, ménage a trois via salsa, SINGING on the verdadero American r&b tunes with Cubanos and Americanos, laughing and free, Christmas in Cuba! taking in el campo y la ciudad, the sea my heaven, every molecule baptized, there is no higher BLISS, grateful for golden LUMINOUS souls impacting the world with their light, met a 7 foot tall otherworldly angel whose hug pieced my heart together again, the father drum asks questions the mother drum gives answers, polyrhythms in my body, my heart’s elation, beautiful tears of joy born from realizations, cheeks ache from smiling, I will never be the same.

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i miss you

abuela, i miss you so much. i remember when you taught me how to dance in your living room. and how you explained the difference between salsa and merengue with your hips. every time i’d come visit you, you would have arroz con pollo already made, with love. and the world’s best beans. you would reheat them in the microwave with a few drops of water and covered in wax paper. i remember watching all the miss universe pageants with you and you’d always express with conviction the beauty queen that deserved to win and you were always right. i don’t think it hurt that Miss Puerto Rico has won more than any other nation. 😉 i remember how you would pinch the f*** out of my nose so it would be more straight and less wide and ethnic looking! i remember how clean your house always was and organized. you had all of your shoe boxes labeled. “navy blue pumps.”  i remember going to the movies with you, we would sneak in nachos and soda that you would conceal perfectly in plastic tupperware in your gigantic purse.  no matter what film it was, you would always fall asleep and snore super loudly. and then i’d wake you up and you’d complain of how the movies of today were horrible. you said you always used to go to the movies every week no matter what when you were growing up. you had seen all the classics. you could sing all the standards. you had this cute nasal voice. i heard that mom got her voice from abuelo but i’ll give you some credit for your musicality.

until i was older i had no idea how chic you were. you were super stylish. i wear some of your stuff now, like the gold chain handkerchief necklace. i wear your pearl belt as a necklace too. i think you would appreciate that. i would’ve loved to have worn your clothes if we were the same size. though i am petite i never inherited your DD breasts. you told me to be grateful, and that i would never have back problems. 🙂 i remember being a kid and playfully putting your enormous bras over my booty which still couldn’t fill out your bras! ha!

i’m so glad that you got to see me graduate college and learn how to dance like a true salsera. since you passed- i learned how to cook, i’ve written 2 albums, i’ve done yoga teacher training (i would’ve loved to teach you), i died my hair back to blonde (you would be so happy- you always loved me blonde… though i’m not sure how long i’ll keep it!). but i can’t help wishing you would be here for the day i get married. and i wish i learned to speak Spanish properly and we could’ve conversed solo en espanol… i remember you would speak to me slowly and then just get tired and say “it takes too long” in English. jajaja! you would watch endless telenovelas on telemundo (you had years and years of VHS cassettes of them). and you would explain to me the intricate dramas of them.

i miss your advice. i remember what scrutiny you put my boyfriends through. most you ignored. one you treated pretty badly. one you liked but said “he wasn’t the one.” i wonder what you think about the man i’m with now.

i really feel your presence and energy sometimes, when i’m dancing it’s like you become a part of me. i think it’s part of why i become so OVERWHELMED with complete joy and bliss when i’m in the zone of the perfect salsa rhythm. and there are certain things about me that i know don’t come from my parents but come from you. i know you are watching over me now. i see your signs– like when you moved the photos of you.. not once but twice and many feet away… one fell down the stairs… yet all the other photos not of you were perfectly in tact. i think this is the way you tell me that you are there. protecting me. watching over me. communing with me. and i’m so grateful.

i miss you. i wanna laugh with you. you’re so silly. i want to hug you. and cook for you. and dance with you. you had so much passion. fire. love. class. feist. strength. smarts. beauty. it will never be as it once was. but i do believe our souls will reunite in another realm.

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last night a dance class saved my life, the fly girls, egoic dancing, exxxploration, and owning what you LOVE

yesterday i woke up and i didn’t want to get out of bed. you know that feeling when you just feel stuck in the mud. after my dance class last night i realized that i MUST embrace that dance is my therapy. it can bring from a point of the lowest frequency to sublime ELATION!!!

i’ve always denied the dancer in me. even after class, a woman came up to me and asked if i was a dancer and i said “no, i’m a singer.” why???  i don’t know why. maybe because i don’t have the typical dancer history which would qualify me as a real dancer? though i was a late bloomer (i wasn’t formally trained until college!), i had it in me. my dance background consisted of taping the fly girls on “in living color” and my childhood best friend, Carla, teaching me what she learned in her dance classes. that girl had (and still has) moves. my abuela (who was a dancer in NYC) danced with me a lot and i learned to move through osmosis. she could shake it with the BEST of them. even in her 70s even she could get DOWN. 🙂 it was crazy! then i met alejandro, my now ex-novio, when i was 19. he taught me to dance a salsa that was not my grandmother’s salsa. we trained. 3 hours a day. and when i moved to LA to pursue music, he came with me to pursue his dancing. in LA you can dance salsa every night of the week! coming from North Carolina, that blew my mind! i started dancing with dancers from all over the world and learned so much from the clubs. i took lessons, workshops, even volunteered at the LA Salsa Congress so I could get a free pass to learn. now salsa is like breathing for me. it feels so natural. i can intuitively feel where my partner wants me to move and play within that space, with them and with the music. it’s divine. what killed that for me was when i starting meeting dancers that dance  from their egos… they were too busy showing off, trying to flip me, trying to get attention or a reaction, seeing how many times they could spin themselves or me, some wouldn’t even look at me in the eyes or even my face… i was merely a puppet, barbie dollesque being turned, flipped, thrown around the floor so they could have people look at them and think they’re bad ass. egoic dancing doesn’t allow dance to be the divine connection it can and should be damn it! i see the same thing with musicians. when people are so concerned with how they will be received the art suffers. not necessarily skill. but the feeling. it’s devoid of authenticity. we artists need to bring that back!

i so enjoy exploring other genres of dancing… i did some what i’ll call… “classy exotic burlesque” dancing to pay for my schoolin at USC, did a brief stint in a belly dancing company, took a random and not so great tango class with my man (we need to find a better one we just leaned on each other and walked in a circle for an hour), african dance was my favorite class in college- the way the dancer and the drummer commune fascinates me… i took a few hip-hop, ballet, and many jazz classes… and i appreciate them all… i love the strength and fearlessness and solidity of hip-hop, the discipline and beauty of ballet, the sass and extension and funkiness of jazz… they all have their something. now i’m learning samba and i swear my hips are learning a new language.

i’m discovering now how essential it is that we honor and acknowledge and celebrate what we love. thus,  i have decided to embrace my dancer self completely. i can’t deny what’s within me. it heals me. it connects me. i think of all the people in the world denying themselves from what they love to do, from expressing that love, and for what? why? i encourage you to own whatever it is you love, acknowledge your passion and celebrate it through authentic self-expression.

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3 Part Randomness: Brazilian waxes, dancing salsa, and interesting work…

*I just learned that there are men that get Brazilian waxes as well!!! Wow, u really do learn something new every day! And no I will not reveal my sources to this new found information (cough “Jered,” cough)… I hear Cookie at Umberto in Beverly Hills is really good too 😉

**After dancing salsa last night at Monsoon’s in Santa Monica I realized a few things… Salsa is a healer (it’s truly my therapy/my escape/my way of connecting-to my roots, to God, to who I am)… Salsa can be a ridiculous workout- I seriously got WORKED on the dance floor-beyond dirty dancing and dancing with stars- Miguel (I think that’s your name) you are a ridiculously talented salsero- thank you for schooling me! lol!… and last but not least I’m going to create a t-shirt that says “I’m just here to dance” because as sensual as salsa may be it’s just a form of expression not a means to hook up gentlemen!!! Respect the art!

***After looking for some extra work (teaching dance alone isn’t quite cutting it) I found some interesting part time job offers (gotta love LA) including “sales girl for a newly opening medical marijuana dispensary in Hollywood…” (which you need to submit a headshot along with your resume)… and a receptionist position for a gay porn office…

Those of you that know me- know how incredibly random I am so I thought I would share that part of myself with you today! Please share your comments of randomness in your worlds! I’d love to read them!

Peace and Blessings to you!!!

Jeredlicious-he brings the world so much joy 🙂

Jeredlicious

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