Salsa en Rueda Dance Troupe
About Palante Troupe
Palante Salsa en Rueda Dance Troupe is an open community. Anybody can join who supports our mission of community building through dance, music, education and the arts. Those who join commit to improving their music and dance acumen and to helping others do the same.
By bringing together dancers of all levels, we build the dance community of Cornell and Ithaca and create a gateway into one of the most vibrant cultural scenes in the world – Salsa and Afro-Latin dance! We teach and train our own. Learning with Palante includes formal instruction with experienced teachers, self-guided practice, and classes led by troupe members. No experience is necessary. All new Palante troupe members are inserted into groups appropriate to their level through placement auditions. Performance opportunity is available to all dancers. Advanced dancers are invited to create choreography and select performers via audition.
Salsa is a fusion of Afro-Latin and Iberian music and dance forms, enhanced by contributions from cultures around the world, including American jazz, western ballroom and pop music in Latin America, Africa and the United States. Salsa is our main teaching medium. We use it to: ingrain the dance universals of timing and rhythm; instruct the particulars of partnered social dance (frame, lead-follow connectivity, space use and etiquette); and to create choreography and performance.
Comparsa is live Cuban carnival music and dance. Dancers and musicians perform together in a parade format, creating various formations while interacting with each other and their audience. Comparsa can be combined with different music and dance forms such as Son, Salsa and Timba.
Our Afro-Cuban dance training is directed by Jennifer Donello, Director of the renowned Afro-Cuban Performance Ensemble, Oriki Omi Oddara. Afro-Cuban dance comprises the historical and aesthetic core of Salsa and other Latin dances such as Cha Cha Cha. Palante Afro-Cuban training and performance includes both classical renderings of the traditional dances of the Orisha, Palo Mayombe, and Arrara traditions as they exist in Cuba, and fusion-style interpretations of these dances created by troupe members drawing on their own previous dance training and cultural sensibilities. Live drumming is provided by the Palante Percussion Group under the direction of Jonathan Kline.
Palante teaches Bachata as a social and performance dance. Bachata stands apart from Salsa and Afro-Cuban dance in its contemporary RnB and pop-infused varieties. In its original form from the Dominican Republican, Bachata lends itself to performance alongside other Caribbean folkloric genres such as Son and Bolero. We work with both varieties of Bachata.
Palante group auditions consist of a workshop, presentation, survey and assessment. All participants receive an invitation. Some members join via individual placement or special invitation. Evaluations determine which level a new member will enter. All levels are Salsa-focused. Bachata and Comparsa is available to all levels. Afro-Cuban is recommended for all levels and required for Comparsa and advanced Salsa performance.
Level 1: Focus on timing, movement and lead-follow in Salsa and other Latin partnered dance, including Bachata. Level 1 members take our Beginner Salsa Series and "core fundamentals" workshops.
Level 2: Salsa en Rueda de Casino is used to teach Salsa combinations in both the multi-couple circle and single couple format. We start with the most common Rueda calls and emphasize contra-tension in lead-follow (e.g. the “guapea” basic), partner change fluidity, use of the cross body lead in transition, and turn patterns starting off of the open break. Level 1 content is reviewed.
Level 3: Dynamic lead-follow connections and moves that start with the "siete" tension are introduced. Directional changes (clockwise vs. counterclockwise) within individual couple and group dance formats are more frequent and varied. Dancers are encouraged to assert nuance and individuality in their execution of combinations.
Level 4: Emphasis here is on repertoire building, advanced combinations, mastery of lead-follow connections, fluidity and style. We also explore Rueda shape formations and methods of getting into and out of the Rueda.
Level 5: All the skills acquired in Levels 1-4 are applied to performance. Salsa en Rueda is combined with choreographed intro and outro sequences, and with other dances, including Comparsa and Afro-Cuban. Choreographies are performed to both recorded and live music in outdoor and indoor settings.
All troupe members help each other learn and advance the overall goals of the organization. Members pay semesterly dues that cover instructional and organizational expenses.
- Most importantly, love Salsa and Afro-Latin music and dance; push yourself to dance with ever greater skill, expressiveness and confidence; learn basic Afro-Latin Caribbean rhythms (e.g. Clave, Tumbao, Palo) and understand their relation to Salsa and other Afro-Latin dances.
- Engage with the Ithaca community via partner organizations: Latino Civic Association of Tompkins County, Full Plate Farms Collective/Healthy Food For All, Ithaca Friends of Cuba, and Shaleshock Action Alliance.
- Event organizing and production: assist with events and organizational tasks; opportunity to initiate programming.
- Dues: $80 per semester ($50 for new members Spring 2012), $100 for non-students ($75 for new members Spring 2012), subject to semesterly increase. Sliding scale, pro rata and work arrangements available. Costume fee for performers to be determined.
- Unlimited access to Palante Salsa classes and practice sessions.
- Ten weekly practice sessions per semester dedicated to your level, led by instructor; video and music learning aids available.
- Opportunities to perform Salsa, Rueda de Casino and Latin dance; to learn and create choreography.
- Teacher training opportunities.
- Discounts on special dance workshops offered by Palante – Afro-Cuban, ladies and men’s styling, Bachata, and more. Discount on Afro-Cuban percussion classes.
- Organizational leadership opportunities.
At Auditions: Dress comfortably with well-fitted footwear, barefeet for Afro-Cuban/Caribbean. Stretching recommended beforehand. Participants encouraged to attend both placement auditions since many of our performances, including our main show in the Spring, combines different dance forms. In the event of scheduling conflict, you may request individual placement audition by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 607-592-1986.
Palante Salsa en Rueda Dance Troupe training is financed in part by the Student Activities Finance Commission (SAFC)/Student Activity Fee, and is open to the entire Cornell community. Ithaca community welcome.