Salsa
Five firsts: Samantha Dunn on salsa, self-love, and success

Five firsts: Samantha Dunn on salsa, self-love, and success

Every month, I interview an author I admire on her literary firsts. June’s featured author is Samantha Dunn, author of Faith in Carlos Gomez: A Memoir of Salsa, Sex, and Salvation. This memoir is funny, irreverent, and heartfelt. It starts with the newly divorced, thirty-something Samantha’s introduction to salsa — via a lover who quickly becomes an ex lover because he turns out to have other lovers — then quickly spirals down to her sleeping with her very short salsa instructor — then spins into a heartwarming story of her actually learning to dance — on the dance floor and off. Samantha’s also the author of a previous memoir, Not By Accident: Reconstructing a Careless Life — which details the self-analysis and recovery following a major horse riding accident. In addition, she’s written a slim novel called Failing Paris, which I briefly reviewed here. In this interview, Samantha reveals what she learned about life through dancing, why you should jump into things with both feet, and how to cope with your book going out of print! Sign up with your email to be entered to win a copy of Faith in Carlos Gomez — and to get notified of future interviews! ___ […]

How to buy dance shoes in Chinatown

How to buy dance shoes in Chinatown

Salsa dancing can get expensive, what with the lessons, the club covers, and the new dance-friendly outfits. A good pair of salsa shoes alone will generally run you at least $100, if you get them at a dance store. So when I heard a rumor that you could buy dance shoes in Chinatown at less than half the cost, my interest was piqued! The place to go is apparently the 800 block of North Broadway, variously known as Chinatown Plaza, Dynasty Shopping Center, or some other permutation of those words. This block houses a big collection of small booths that offer everything from jewelry to housewares to clothes to shoes. I hear this place can get really crowded on weekends, but when I rolled in early afternoon on a weekday, I had the place practically to myself. All the businesses were open but the salespeople — Asian one and all — were really just hanging out on their own, eating lunch from tupperware containers, chatting on the phone, humming pleasantly to Chinese music while sweeping straightening things out. Mostly, the booths sell cheap clothes, ranging from polyester kimonos to polyester prom dresses. Because of this, I found the place a […]

How to start salsa dancing in Los Angeles

How to start salsa dancing in Los Angeles

Once upon a time, as in a few years ago, a friend dragged me to her beginner’s salsa dancing class. I learned how to do the basic step and right turn — and instantly developed a semi-addiction to salsa — For writers especially, salsa dancing is in many ways an ideal hobby. Writing is solitary and sedentary. Salsa — being social and active — balances that out. It’s also one of those social night time activities that women can do alone — no need to try and talk a girlfriend into coming with you if you decide you want to go dancing last minute. Many women arrive at salsa dance clubs solo. If you just decide to drop by a salsa club at midnight tonight though, without ever having danced before, you might get a bit intimidated by all the confident strangers shimmying across the floor like semi-professionals. Thus, some tips for easing into it: 1. Take a lesson or two. Let me save you some time. If you really want to learn salsa, take lessons with Danella Dutton. Danella’s a dancer, actor, and choreographer — and IMHO, the best salsa teacher in the L.A. area. Her always energetic and […]