Interview with Restaurateur & Salsa Student, Alberta Jarane (Tarrytown)

Tell us Alberta, why are you SO enthusiastic about Salsa?

I love listening to Salsa music and I have always enjoyed watching people dance Salsa but when I tried it myself I could never find the beat.  I grew up listening mostly to Jazz.  Then a few years ago, I saw Josie's International School of Dance post on Tarrytown's 10591 Facebook page.  She was offering a Belly Dance workshop with guest artist Nourhan Sharif.  It wasn't easy, but I actually did really well and managed to keep up with the rest of the class for the entire 2 hours!  I was basically looking for some type of exercise because I needed to move my body.  I was under a lot of pressure at work after having opened up our new Tarrytown restaurant, Mint, and I needed something to counter the stress.  While I was at the Belly Dance workshop I learned about Eddie Q's Salsa classes and since then I've been studying Salsa and I have followed Eddie & Josie to their new location in Pleasantville!  It's been an exciting 3 years so far.  I am determined to learn the language of Salsa!

Tell us about your Salsa dance lesson adventures!

As much as I love dancing, going to Josie's studio was my first time taking formal dance lessons.  The group classes were excellent but then I switched to privates with Eddie so that I could study more intensely.  With my responsibilities at work I don't have a lot of free time and that one hour each week alone with Eddie really helps me to focus.  I definitely see an improvement with my technique and timing.  Salsa is hard work, but Eddie makes it fun and also makes it a good workout.  It has greatly reduced the stress in my life and has made me enjoy Salsa music even more.  I'm exposed to a rich variety of music each week at my dance lessons which I can appreciate even while I'm at work!  The fact is I play a lot of Salsa music at our restaurant which keeps me in a happy groove while I'm working.  I now feel much more confident with my dancing and I'm just happier with my life in general.  My lessons usually start with shines which are footwork patterns that train you to become quick on your feet and an all-around better dancer.  Shines allow you to freestyle while you're partner dancing or when dancing on your own.  They allow you to improve your ear training, rhythm, technique, timing, creativity and challenge you to remember routines.  Although my favorite part of each lesson is the partnering, I find that learning the shines have really helped me to become a better dancer.  I look forward to my Salsa lesson every week.  I want to stay active with an exercise that I love and enjoy and Salsa is the answer.  It has all the Latin energy and flavor that I need.  I tried running, I tried Zumba, but they just didn't motivate me the way Salsa does.  I could tell when I started taking Eddie's classes that I was going to learn how to truly Salsa!

How do you integrate Salsa with your restaurant business?

My husband and I own and operate our restaurant business together.  And even though he is too busy to dance, I give myself this special treat each week because it makes me happy and he benefits from that because I come home with a smile!  Now that I'm totally engrossed in Salsa, you may get more than Moroccan spice if you visit our restaurant!  I play a variety of Salsa music and my customers absolutely love it.  It puts everyone in a good mood and it puts me in a good groove.  I am determined to become an excellent Salsa dancer.

What advice can you give other Salsa students?

Salsa is sexy.  It's challenging.  It's even erotic!  Over these past few years I have observed many Salsa students improve their timing and steps, but more important I see them letting go and being more flirtatious and playful with the Salsa music, which makes the dance more fun and naturally improves their dancing.  Men like women who can Salsa and vice versa.  It certainly has made MY marriage happier!  The studio also offers a monthly Salsa social which gives students an opportunity to practice with other dancers in a comfortable setting.  Eddie & Josie also plan regular outings to Salsa clubs and socials.  So give yourself a treat and join Eddie's Salsa group class every Tuesday @ 7:30 pm @ Josie's International School of Dance in Pleasantville!  I hope to see you on the dance floor!  - Alberta Jarane (Tarrytown)