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Editorial: The house is dead! Long live the house!

by Robert Abrams
January 26, 2002
New York, NY

Editorial: The house is dead! Long live the house!

January 26, 2002

Tonight, January 25th, and this morning, January 26, was the last night of the House of Latin Dance. I cannot speak for anyone else who was there, and they were many, but I speak for myself with enthusiasm when I say that this night was perhaps the best night of dancing I have had in a long time, perhaps ever. The vibe was humming, on all three floors. I danced with people who I didn't know. One was a cellist whose tango was worth dancing thrice. I ran into many people I knew. We danced. We talked. I even talked to people I didn't know. This may not seem significant, but all too often at dance events it just doesn't happen.


An elegant tango couple at HOLD

As usual, free lessons in Salsa and Tango were offered at the beginning of the night. I took the Tango lesson and learned to a new way to lead into the ocho.

The evening was graced with several performances by a series of completely different, yet equally fantastic dancers. Talia Castro-Pozo and Jules Helm danced a Cha-cha. I have seen them dance on numerous occasions and they just keep getting better. They were great the first time I saw them. The difference is subtle. A little tighter, a little faster, a little more confident. Still the same great human beings.

The other performers were people who I have not seen dance before, so I can't comment on their progress. There was an impromptu Brazilian Samba demonstration. There was a belly dance demonstration by three dancers (Andrea Anwar & The Dancing Rubies) who could isolate parts of their body you probably didn't even know existed. They also had a crew of about six people playing on the drums (Raquy & the Messengers). The interaction of the drummers with each other and with the dancers was as much a part of the performance as the dance itself. It clearly showed the kind of responsive interplay between dancers and musicians that is often missing in partner dance.

Later on, up on the third floor, there was a demonstration of Carolina Shag and West Coast Swing by Tybladt & Hazel, along
with the YSBD Student Shag Performance Class. The two professionals (Tybladt & Hazel) made both dances look so smooth. Hazel looked very stylish in a tan reinterpretation of a tuxedo. They then brought out a group of their students who danced a formation team routine. Tybladt & Hazel are obviously competent as teachers as well as dancers because their students were pretty darn smooth too.

The DJs kept the tunes spinning all night - 1st Floor: SALSA DJ Joey Salsa, 2nd Floor: SAMBA DJ Aochan, 3rd Floor: TANGO DJ 'El Pibe' Lipkin.

I left at about 2 o'clock in the morning and party was still going strong.

The House of Latin Dance has come to the end of the its run because the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral needs to begin repairing the roof of the annex, the space in which we have been dancing. I would like to personally thank them for being gracious enough to make their wonderful building our temporary home. I wish them well in their efforts to restore this part of New York City history that has been entrusted to their care.

The House of Latin Dance may be at an end, but Reba Perez and her compadres have demonstrated repeatedly that they can take the humblest of spaces and create fantastic venues for dance. When they find their next floor I will be there. I hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Robert Abrams

More HOLD photos




Our initial review of the House of Latin Dance


Check out Reba Perez's new column, "Let's Dance"!

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