Copyright March, 1997, All Rights Reserved.
Is Salsa Worse Than Cocaine?
Why do I hear so many people site the similarities between the two?
- “Salsa is my drug”.
- “I needed my Salsa fix for the week”.
- “I can’t get enough of it”.
- “I almost lost my job”. “
- “I can’t stop”.
- “I’ve never spent so much money on dance outfits and shoes in my life”.
- “My friends and family don’t understand”.
- “Everyone thinks I’ve lost my mind
- “I can’t convince any of my friends to come!”
What IS IT about THIS MUSIC?
Yes, my friends, there is definitely a trend going on here, and I’ve decided to document it.
Just what is it about the rhythm of Salsa that gets under one’s skin, and becomes part of our body, mind, and soul?
Why does it sizzle in our veins when we hear it?
Is it the congas?
Is it the passion?
It can’t be the lyrics, because some of us don’t understand Spanish…… yet it STILL INFECTS US.
The feeling that the sound of Salsa brings is something deeper, more like something ancient, a distant past that is remembered, but never before experienced – until the music is heard. The rhythm pulls out something inside of us that cannot be described. The music itself is magical, and sweeps you away into a hypnotic state of mind – not unlike that of a deep sleep or incredible high…
I can admit, I don’t do drugs, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink. I just Salsa, which to me, is probably a bigger addiction than all three combined!
The Story of the Above “World Famous” Salsa-Holics Graph, and My Story Now.
By Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!
That graph above has been passed around the world, folded, framed, emailed, hung in studios and Facebook’d thousands of times over since I made it with Excel and Powerpoint in early 1997. At the time, I was asking a few of my Salsa friends about how they could handle a full-time job “AND” Salsa dance seven nights a week, seven hours a night… how they do it (cuz I was doing it too, but barely staying awake at my job). When they just looked back at me in a zombee daze, I knew there was a “trend” – and it WASN’T JUST ME GOING THROUGH THIS… it was EVERY DANCER AROUND ME! “Edie, when I go out dancing, THAT is WHEN I wake up!… the rest of the day at my job, I am half asleep!”
My original “How Edie Discovered Salsa” Story resonates for just about anyone starting out.
I “knew” I couldn’t be the only one going through this. It was like nothing I had ever experienced… no amount of movies, going to dinner, going to the gym, or even sports could possibly match the feelings and sensations I was feeling at Salsa clubs in Los Angeles. It was worse than cocaine. I couldn’t get enough of it. I would live, breathe, eat, sleep, practice, dance, and dream about Salsa CONSTANTLY. I thought I was going insane at one point.
It was the only thing that made me happy at that time.
- I hated my job
- My husband was cheating on me
- I hated my friends (they were “his” friends)
- I hated my body
- I hated my clothes
- I hated my face
- I hated my hair
- I hated my life
- I was a disaster with an attitude.
- … oh and by the way, to top it all off… people hated “me”.
- I was a suicide, just WAITING to happen.
When I made that graph, I had just discovered Salsa about 4 years earlier, and was in the midst of quitting my day job so I could have more time for Salsa. I had lost 50 pounds from dancing 4 to 7 hours every single night, and WAS LOOKING AND FEELING ALIVE AGAIN. I felt AMAZING!!! (sleepy all the time, but in a dream-like, drug-like, drunk-like state of sheer bliss without any drugs nor alcohol – I still don’t drink to this day).
At the time, I had just quit working for Enron Oil, and had started working for SAIC Aerospace as a Programmer / Analyst and was getting quite good at Excel and Powerpoint presentations. I created the world’s first “Salsa Website” along with another friend of mine, solely for the purpose of training the USAF on what HTML was, and how it could be applied by the military via satellite. I was working on “Secret” projects at the time, so could not train anyone with “examples” of what I was working on, so hence the world’s very first “Salsa website” named “Salsaweb” was an example “training template” for the United States Air Force. I taught the USAF all about HTML programming, posting events, discussion forums, chatrooms, tables… etc, all using Salsaweb as an “example” site for them to test and play around with. The United States Air Force was always the first to know about my Salsa competition wins, who was in Salsaweb’s chatroom, and how late I got home every night from the Salsa clubs. When I won the Mayan competition, they made an announcement over the intercom and the entire Los Angeles Air Force Base congratulated me for about a week after that.
Salsaweb became HUGE after it was aired on national television four times a month by the Sinbad show (Sinbad was taking private lessons from “my” instructor, Luis Vazquez). Once the “dot-com boom” happened in 1999, my business partner and I were approached by some very sneaky Wallstreet businessmen to “take Salsaweb public”. To make a very long story short, we lost Salsaweb to a bunch of Wallstreet crooks. Months later, I got back Salsafreak.com (thanks to a wonderful Wallstreet Salsero to whom I am forever grateful). Since that time, I created Dancefreak.com, and a myriad of other dance and business sites, my most popular: www.DancerHangout.com.
The graph above was a very REAL situation that was happening in my life – and other’s. I was getting very little sleep (dancing every night), yet, because I was a nicer person and now “fun to be around”, I still got a raise at my job. Co-workers were starting to see that I wasn’t such a bi-tch to be around anymore, and I was smiling A LOT more often.
My job soared, my dancing soared, my income soared, as with my dresses every night.
Something had to give. This “addiction” slowly became an “obsession”. My job was getting in the way of my dancing, so I took the plunge and courageously left my corporate day job. I started teaching and traveling the world full time. (I now teach an online course on exactly how to “exit” your day job and become a massive success doing what you love. The course is called the “DBM”)
From about 1998 to 2002, I traveled virtually every month to a different country, teaching and performing throughout the world. Starting the year 2002, my travel schedule went up to virtually every weekend on the road. My busiest year was in 2008 – when I was booked 54 of 52 weekends in a different country, teaching, dancing, and living the “Congress Circuit” life (two different countries on the same weekend – happened twice in the same year). I was quickly approaching the million-mile mark with airline frequent flyer miles.
In 2009 I realized that I was trapped in an extremely mental and physically abusive relationship. I literally had to move out in secret and RUN back to Colorado to heal. By then, I could “see the writing on the wall”, and decided that I wanted to settle down with a “Real Colorado Man”, non-dancer type (less drama/stress).
I used Match.com to meet someone in Colorado. Yes, I specifically wanted a Fabio-looking “Mountain Man” that never complains about ANYTHING, lives in the mountains, has no kids, no mental baggage, a great outlook on life, and a peaceful guy that loves motorcycles. Ladies, when you know what you want, ask for it, and it will come.
More importantly, by this time in my life I knew what I DID NOT WANT. I had that figured out (finally), and to a science.
Ladies, I was VERY specific, and got EXACTLY the man I wanted. I wanted someone who was also “imperfect” like me. . Once we met, and when I decided that he was “The One”, I chose to use the “It Factor” to keep him. “It” is EXTREMELY powerful so I was extremely selective. Don’t just throw The It Factor concept around ladies, it is LETHAL and really REALLY works.
Many of you have asked, “… omg … Edie, how could YOU POSSIBLY marry a non-dancer??” Some of you who knew me for a few years were actually relieved (you know who you are). The bottom line is, that when you’ve been what I’ve been through with relationships, given my history with fellow professional dancers and the like, mmmmm… no. No thank you.. no more. Too much drama.
I searched for the love of my life “outside the Salsa scene” because over time, I painfully realized that I was NOT ABOUT to find him at a Salsa club – been there, done that. This realization hit me like a brick in the head. I actually had to sit down for a minute and catch my breath. It was a wake-up call that I did not want to face. I remember my heart actually sinking, then swelling up in my throat. I could never find him if I continued this lifestyle. Ever.
For me personally, over time I realized that a person in my professional position and background is at this point far too intimidating to “marry” someone that dances Salsa. I realized that if that happened, over time he would not be able to take it anymore… the looks from amazing Salseros dancing with me night after night at the clubs… he would have to tolerate my “THROWING DOWN” – tearing up the floor and LEAVING SMOKE BEHIND with the “Best of the Best” Salseros in the world, and my Salsero husband not being “up-to-par”, enduring the looks of incredible Seasoned World Class, AMAZING Salseros dancing with me, staring back at him with “Let me show you what I can do with YOUR wife”... attitude… omg…. BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. No way. No how. No more.
This “situation” would lead ANY man to drink (more), and cheat, with burning resentment and jealousy. The mere thought of a Salsero being “Edie, The Salsa FREAK’s” husband would be far too much for ANY male ego to handle – especially endured over time. Trust me, I looked for a dancer husband – in 63 countries, only to come home again to Colorado, and find a non-dancer sitting there, waiting for me. “What took you so long?” he asked. We met in a past life.
Our wedding was next to a river in the mountains, with a few guests, family and friends – my dear friend Janette Valenzuela flew all the way out from California to actually “… witness this”. Lol.
Nick and I settled down in a lodge in high mountains of Colorado that we are currently re-furbishing. I took a year off dancing and teaching to enjoy my new calm and peaceful life with our birds, raccoons, foxes, dear, elk, skunks, wild turkeys, and local BEARS (- and they are ENORMOUS) that live all around us.We have no neighbors.
Just each other…… and the high mountain wind.
During that time off, I re-acquainted myself with Internet software programming again. I had ten years of technology I had to catch up with. I soon realized that I could easily program all my own websites and create sites for others. I also found that I could easily pass on my knowledge via online courses about what I’ve learned all these years. I could teach online, and make a HUGE, positive and financial difference for students, struggling performers, instructors, dance schools, and promoters worldwide. So I decided to roll up my sleeves and focus on creating what is now the Black Belt Salsa (BBS) Software Enterprise and Dance Business Management (DBM) Online Academy. It is truly a life-changing system of learning, progression and retention that is unprecedented – and I’m not just saying that – MANY people can attest to what it’s done for them in their lives.
In March of 2012, I held the world’s first BBS Salsa Dance Workshop via a “Webinar” Live Webcast. In November of 2012, I taught my first BBS “Ladies Styling Feminine It Factor” workshop to dancers in Brisbane, Australia, also via webinar as well. It too, was the world’s first of it’s kind. Every month I host and share my experiences with other dance professionals online via the BBS “DBPNetwork“.
So you see folks, I guess I haven’t really “retired” from all this. I’m just doing it all in a different way now. More intelligently, and more peacefully.
I will admit however, that it “IS” difficult to just STOP cold turkey a career of fast-action travel, dancing, fun and excitement to different countries throughout the world literally EVERY WEEKEND.
Now I find myself at times all alone with the wind… silence. … No sound… nothing but the beautiful mountains and trees…
OVERNIGHT, I literally went from loud mind-blowing, high decibel sound deafening, vibrating Salsa music BLASTING every night to… silent, calm wind.
It was VERY hard at first to adjust, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am more at peace now than at any other time in my life.
I look back and will admit to you that there were a couple of times the first year up here in the mountains when I literally broke down.
I was alone in our lodge. Nick was at work.
There was silence. Only silence. No music, no sound…
… for about five minutes, I found myself listening for… “sound”… I started to hyperventilate. I started crying, and telling myself that I had done a horrible mistake.
How could I just quit? How could I just stop Salsa dancing? How could I just STOP doing something that I loved so dearly?
After a few minutes of “ranting” and feeling sorry for myself, I settled down and prayed. The silence relaxed me. I opened my eyes, looked around me, and realized what I had now… I remembered so clearly now that the “all-too-familiar” words: “It’s lonely at the top” had more meaning than you could possibly imagine. Yes, I was on top of the world, but sssssoooooo very alone.
Thanks to Nick, I have slowly, and peacefully learned to let go, and “allow” the new Chapter in my life to unfold. For months I could literally “feel” my body slowly healing, piece by piece, from the years and years of pounding that dance floor for HOURS. I can admit, traveling in an airplane 20-40 hours a week, then non-stop teaching and dancing till 4am every weekend was getting to me. Although I was constantly surrounded by dancers and fans, the loneliness was killing my spirit. I just couldn’t take it anymore.
I do most of my teaching online now – including personal coaching. The cool thing is that I now “choose” whom I wish to train or coach, I “choose” my workshops, and I “choose” to work or not – each and every day. I have found that I truly enjoy teaching private lessons a couple days a week (keeps me in shape), and once every other month or so giving a workshop here and there… which are broadcast via Live Webcast webinar all over the world now for our BBS family, friends and former students in other countries to watch, learn, and enjoy.
I have created an “Edie’s Student Night” once month here in Colorado, where I dance and have a blast with my students. I don’t social dance seven nights a week anymore, because I want to spend time with my husband in the evenings and weekends now. Frankly, I prefer teaching now over social dancing! That was a HUGE discovery. I love seeing how my private lesson students progress so quickly and so awesomely!!! I use the BBS Syllabus system and DTB technique to catapult my students to levels far beyond what they could imagine. I train my students to dance with technical excellence, quality, control and most importantly with COMFORT so I can get my “Salsa Fix” during the day (yes, I make my private lesson students awesome dancers VERY QUICKLY for COMPLETELY SELFISH REASONS). It’s amazing what the Chapters of your Life will reveal to you when you RELAX and ALLOW each one to open and unfold before your very eyes.
At times, I look at that Salsa-Holics graph (above) and every once in a while find myself re-living my early years as some of the most amazing and beautiful memories in my mind. What is fascinating… is that I can barely remember anything “before Salsa”, but it’s absolutely astonishing how much I remember AFTER I started dancing Salsa! … – from my very first basic steps with that “kind gentleman in his 50’s”, (whom I just recently found out passed away last month). What is comforting, and very fulfilling is that now I can council students on the dramas and traumas of Relationships and Beginner’s Hell that WE HAVE ALL GONE THROUGH in this dance. When I listen and help fellow dancers with their relationship / business issues, I realize now why I went through the pains of my past. I realize that those that caused me so much anguish and suffering were truly my Spiritual Teachers, in disguise. I can now look back, and thank them for what they put me through.
Looking at that graph, I remember what “that time in my life” was like with a peaceful smile on my face. I see my students go through it now. I laugh out loud hearing their stories. I look forward to the text messages they leave on my cell phone from their “nights out” – the dramas and traumas they faced from the night before (counseling via text message while you’re at the club or at practice is part of my Private Lesson package). My mornings are full of wonderful surprises and stories from my students – reminding me of what “I” went through at that stage of my life. I am convinced that the “Salsa Addiction” affects all of us, and it will never change. It’s always the same story, just a different day.
I will never forget learning my first basic steps. I will never forget how kind and patient that man was with me my first dance. I remember the dress I was wearing, the full glass of wine at my table, the hole in my heart from finding that my husband was with other women…. I will never forget how guilty I felt in the “arms of another man”. I’ll never forget when he told me “just close your eyes, and feel the music through my lead.”
… and then there were the hours and hours of grueling private lessons with Luis Vazquez. I would get to his house and he would move the coffee table, roll up the rug, and we would dance on his living room carpet. I’ll never forget how patient he was with me. I’ll never forget how I left crying in embarrassment after our first dance together at the Grand Avenue nightclub in Los Angeles. I remember eating an entire box of chocolates (depressed from my former husband cheating on me), calling Luis on the phone and asking if he wouldn’t mind “working me out” dancing for two hours because of those damn chocolates. We were two sweat balls afterward.
Yes Luis, you would be proud of me – I put my own private lesson students through hell now just like you did to me. Like you, I don’t let them move on to the next move until they master the first one – no matter how painful and grueling it gets. And yes Luis, I make them SWEAT like you made ME sweat! The other day, I had a 200-pound Fireman on HIS KNEES from exhaustion. Your Legend of hard work, repetition and sweat is now a tradition that I pass on to my students, and will forever live on because of you my friend.
Luis, you will be proud to know that my students DO YOUR MOVES – and are now some of the finest dancers in the region – if not the world. In fact, I had to suggest to one student recently that he buy a portable “Take a Number” ticket meter for his table at the clubs! He has only been dancing three months, but “feels” like he’s been dancing for years already.
Thank you Luis, for those amazing Broken-English Spanglish words you said to me as I was walking out the door in complete embarrassment over our first dance together … “Hey, wait up… here is my card… I will make you a GREAT dancer…”
If it wasn’t for that single sentence you spoke to me that night, Luis, I would not be here today.
If I never said it before, I will say it now. “Thank you Luis, for changing the direction of my life.”
…and most of all, thank YOU Nick, for helping me open up this WONDERFUL new Chapter. I love you.
Story continued … Click below
Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!