TrulyMadly Amanda, as she is referred to in the international salsa community, was simply looking for a change from dreary London weather when she moved to Cairo a few months ago. A self-proclaimed lover, performer, and teacher of salsa, Amanda chose Egypt as her haven in the sun, to be closer to her family here and because she was aware of an existing salsa scene.
When she first settled in, she was shocked by what she discovered.
According to Amanda, who has been studying and teaching Salsa for the last 13 years across the world, there is a thriving salsa scene in Cairo, which came to her as a lovely surprise when she arrived.
Having danced and trained in England, Cuba, and various other countries around the globe, Amanda remarks that Cairo’s salsa scene and its members have made quite the impression on her. She said, “People who dance in Cairo are so warm and friendly; it hooks you as a newcomer. The standard and quality of the salsa that is taught and performed here is higher than countries that one might typically expect, like Argentina or Spain, she added.
Amanda was not always so active in the international salsa scene. In fact, it wasn’t until a trip to Cuba in 1995 that her interest in salsa dance and music began to grow. That initial trip ended up drastically changing the direction of professional and personal life, she explains. “I went to Cuba and I saw them dancing and that was it. I started learning how to salsa on that holiday and returned every year for years to keep learning.
Amanda also began taking classes in London, and soon enough started participating in salsa conferences around the world – from Puerto Rico to New York – to learn from a wide variety of teachers. These conferences and festivals would run from Friday evening to Monday morning, and it was nothing but dance, dance, dance the entire time. Amanda couldn’t get enough.
She gave up a lucrative management career in London in 1998 in order to pursue her new-found passion full-time. “I was addicted, she says. Soon after, she began jazz and hip hop classes to get some additional dance background, and studied dance technique. All of her hard work paid off when she became a finalist in the 2002 Tropicana World Professional Salsa Championship. She also held salsa classes at the well-known Bar Cuba in Kensington, London and eventually created a business that she called “TrulyMadlySalsa.
Today, the world renown salsa teacher has set up shop in Cairo and is offering workshops, Tuesday night classes and personal lessons in various kinds of salsa dance including LA salsa, New York salsa ‘on 1’ and ‘on 2,’ Cuban style, cross-body and Rueda, to name just a handful.
Amanda’s workshops are held every Saturday afternoon for three hours in her dance studio in Zamalek, and soon Tuesday evening courses will begin. Private lessons cost LE 200 an hour, but are reduced to LE 150 an hour if you sign up for 10 or more private lessons.
She will also be holding a beginner’s workshop on May 31 for anyone who is interested, whether they have any experience or not. “You don’t need a partner, shoes or clothes. Just show up! she says.
When asked why she is so passionate about salsa, Amanda is hard pressed to put it down to one sole reason.
Firstl of all, she explains, “You can’t be miserable and listen to salsa music.
She adds that it is a street dance and consequently very creative. It is not as rule-laden or restrictive as other kinds of dance, such as ballroom salsa, and is therefore a great way to establish a foundation from which to learn other forms.
Not only is salsa itself fun and a great way to stay fit – Amanda said it can burn up to 600 calories an hour – without the pain of traditional gym workouts. And venturing into salsa dance opens up a whole social scene.
“The great thing about Salsa is that you can go to a club or a lesson alone or with friends and have something to do. You can come when you want and leave when you want, and everyone is so welcoming and yet so different.
It’s a great way to socialize, she says.
For those foreigners new to Cairo, Amanda thinks that attending hers and other salsa teachers’ lessons is a great way to meet new people as often the socializing extends outside of the salsa classes themselves.
In Amanda s own words, the bottom line is that salsa is “fun and sexy .
For more information on Amanda s classes, email [email protected], or check her Facebook group TrulyMadlySalsa. Tel: 010 105 9857.