We really love our Bachata at Salsabor, so we were very excited that it was two Salsabor Bachata couples that won the Bachata social dance competition held at our Latin Monday at Monkey Bar recently.

Our instructors, Ben and Eva, won the Advanced Division and our students, Adam and Jasmine, won the Amateur Division. Both divisions had seven couples competing from five different Canberran schools: Salsabor, Kmotion, Subsdance, and Kokoloco. And the Canberra Latin Project were sponsors.

We caught up with Adam, Jasmine and Eva to chat a bit more about their win and to share some of their journey of how they got here. If competing is something you dream about, you may find some inspiration.

Winning meant different things to all three dancers.

For Eva, “Going into the competition, I never really thought of ‘winning’,” she said. “It was a total surprise when our names were called out as the winners of the best Bachata social dancers!”

“Personally, it meant so much more to me when Jasmine and Adam won the amateur category that night. Seeing them execute a lot of the patterns we taught in our Bachata intermediate class during the competition made me smile from ear to ear. They looked great and at the time I thought, ‘this is why I teach.’”

Salsabor Bachata

Ben, Eva and our own director, Andrea.

Adam was so happy to have won using the turn patterns that “Jasmine and I have learned in Ben and Eva’s Intermediate class, as well as throwing in some moves from the Bachata con Sabor choreography and moves we like from other dancers.”

“We really wanted to feature some Dominican steps and the shines, which you don’t see that often social dancing in Canberra.”

For Jasmine, although winning was great, it was also an indication of where she could go next. “What is most important to me is knowing where I am lacking expertise so that I can learn and improve further to become a better dancer and instructor,” she said.

Salsabor Bachata

From L to R: Becky from Kokoloco, Jasmine, Adam and our own director, Andrea handing over the Amateur trophy.

All three trained differently albeit extensively in the lead up. Adam had been training six days a week ever since his first performance at Salsabor’s end of term party in December last year. He had been preparing for the Sydney Latin Festival (Bachata and Cha cha) and the Canberra Multicultural Festival (Bachata and Salsa).

Whenever Jasmine wasn’t at the studio she would train at home every day on her own. And as the date for the competition got closer, “Adam and I trained every day at the studio during lunch time for a week,” she said.

For Ben and Eva their training is fairly consistent when working on a project together. “We initially train about 2 times a week for 1.5 – 2hrs per session,” Eva said.

“Leading up to the big performance, we often add an extra day of training for further polishing. This is the method we took when we trained for our lyrical Bachata performance for the Canberra Latin Dance Festival 2015.”

Salsabor Bachata

Jasmine and Adam doing their thing.

So where to next after the win?

Adam will be renovating his house with his beautiful partner Sarah, “I just hope that she is as good at knocking down walls and painting as she is at dancing.”

For Jasmine, she would love to continue on learning and expanding her knowledge for dance and share her passion with her students, “…in hope that they too will take up the challenge to compete in competitions going forward.”

“Apart from that, if I get the golden opportunity, I would love to take up more challenges by competing in the Australian Latin Championship or any other competitions along those lines to further push my dancing abilities,” she said.

For Eva and Ben at the moment their focus is about providing an awesome Bachata class each term for their students, by “… coming up with cool new moves (such as more Dominican footwork) and really make the class something the students look forward to each week.”

“I think this competition really highlighted our strengths together as dance partners and we hope to inspire more people to take our class and try something different and welcome a challenge.”

Here are their performances if you missed them.

Ben and Eva

Adam and Jasmine

If you’re considering giving Bachata a try, perhaps these last words from Eva may inspire that first step.

“I have always said that starting dance (3-4 years ago) changed my life. I never felt more passionate about anything till I started dancing.

“From being a student, to competing, to teaching, I have evolved so much as a person through this journey and the biggest thing is how much my confidence grew. I never in my life thought that I would ever dance in front of a large crowd let alone compete in front of judges! But I did, and I have lots of people to thank for all the opportunities I was given.

“Ultimately, thinking back to when I first started dancing, I am so glad that I stepped outside of my comfort zone, which is something I sometimes struggle with. I am now a big believer of giving everything a go; you never know where it may take you or what you might achieve.”

So true Eva. Congratulations all of you and thank you for sharing some of your dance journey with us.