Monday, 23 September 2019

Muswell Hill joins Hornsey for Daytime Dance

Hello and yes! There is news and it that we now have two venues.
Hornsey N8 on Wednesdays 11am to 12.30pm at The Three Compasses, 62 High St, Hornsey, N8 7NX [Map Link]

and now.....
Muswell Hill N10 on Mondays 3pm -4pm (from Sept 30th) at Stella's Room cafe opposite the cinema, 46 Fortis Green Rd, London N10 3HN [Map Link]

Stella's Room is a special place for me personally. Apart from that it serves great coffee :-) it's been my go to place when I've felt a little lonely or isolated for around twenty years! After I left my job as a garden centre manager with a team of around forty, I became a self employed salsa teacher. Evening classes are great fun but during the day I have to admit I felt isolated. The silence was deafening at home, so I would go off to St James cafe (now Stella's Room) and have a coffee or two just to enjoy the background noise of other humans. Back then it was mainly young mums but now cafes are full of every size, shape, gender and occupation. I wonder if that means there are more isolated people like I was out there?

I hope the daytime people of Muswell Hill will come and try a Mambalsa class. They're so much fun. 
Here's a tip: suggest a song to dance to? I doesn't have to be a personal favorite but just something you know that's a good track to dance to. text or send a link to me on 07939012231 
Thanks Alastair.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Mambalsa Summer 2019 Newsletter

Mambalsa Summer 2019 Newsletter

Tomorrow 24th July, is the last Daytime Dance at the Three Compasses before September so come if you can.

Daytime Dance N8 restarts on Wed. Sept 4th 11am

Hello everyone,
It’s been a great start to the year for Mambalsa :

Daytime Dance Success:

The Daytime Dance project has been a success. A massive thank you to everyone who’s taken part and supported Mambalsa.

Launching a class in June is the worst time of year as numbers inevitably drop off during the summer, so any group that’s kept going is doing well and we have done well. Two special thanks to Richard and team at the Three Compasses, and to Kimberley who’s personal and group’s support helped me get things going.

As a proof of concept Daytime Dance has succeeded well enough to start to look for several more venues for the Autumn. Hopefully: Crouch End, Muswell Hill, Highgate and Bounds Green. The advantage of nearby venues is that marketing overlaps and becomes more efficient. It also offers more choice in participation.

“One Small Step”

From a teaching point of view I’ve learnt so much about teaching Mambalsa over the past six weeks. 
Did you know that Daytime Dance N8 was the world’s first ever weekly Mambalsa Class?

There’s a lot of new ideas being rolled in: The general class structure and pace; Getting everyone to lead and follow; The ‘dance off’ cool down; Referencing the emotional experience as we learn; Peer to peer instruction (getting those with little experience to show newbies the basics); Adapting to the group rather than forcing all the pegs into my preconceived hole, Finding the words to get the concepts across.

It’s been a steep learning curve and I thank everyone once again. In the words of Miranda Heart’s sidekick character “Bear with!”

I welcome any feedback and ideas, just email me at info at 

Tesco Fun Last Thursday’s:

As part of Tesco’s Dance Beats charity project I was invited to Tesco Colney Hatch Lane to get the dancing going. It was a heap of fun with staff forming the core and shoppers hopping aboard to ‘have a wiggle’. We were certainly an unexpected item and it took me back to 2015 when I took Mambalsa to the Edinburgh Fringe and danced with the public in the Royal Mile.


Apart from expending Daytime Dance this Autumn, I aim to start a Central London evening class. I’m already tagging a taster on to my Saturday Salsa Rapido 1-Day Intensive Salsa Course and with a little marketing it should succeed. I’ll also run Sunday workshops that should feed into the classes.

Along the way I’ll build a new web site.
In a couple of weeks I’ll start filming the new Mambalsa Clips for Youtube, based on the Salsa Rapido clips I filmed last year.
My aim is to get the website, videos/materials and proof of concepts ready to licence Mambalsa to a network of teachers in 2020.

Combined with my existing salsa teaching, corporate entertainment, psychotherapy training, voluntary counselling, architectural CPD presentations plus Stand up gigs and DIY projects I feel as if time is going to fly. Welcome to the gig economy :-)


This Sunday 28th July we've the Thames Salsa Cruise so visit
Sunday 4th Aug Salsa Clasica at The Three Compasses N8
Oooodles of salsa courses at

See you soon

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Daytime Dance Launch

Daytime Dance Launch
Well it's up and running - Daytime dance is go!

We had a fun 90min class at the Three Compasses in Hornsey High Street with ten participants.
Many thanks to Kimberly and friends from her class in Hornsey Vale who came and supported.

The room was great and I think the pace was about right. The more experienced dancers could go faster but the less experienced were supported.
It was a friendly group and everyone connected with each other.

My concern now is building the group to a sustainable level.
It was very nice to have a coffee and a chat after. And so different from an evening class.
I loved getting everyone to lead and follow from the outset. No one seemed to mind we all just got on with it. Some great music used.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Fun at the University of the Arts

It was a fun session presenting Mambalsa in ninety minutes to dance students at the University of the Arts in Holborn.
I enjoyed connecting to a group of young, talented and brilliant dancers eager to learn and try something new.
I condensed a heap of Mambalsa and dance psychology into one session, introducing Flow, Proximetrics, empathy and respect.

I used the 'use a track from your phone' exercise to communicate the Mambalsa to any music USP.
It also starts a dialaouge about Mambalsa's connection to the music.

After the basics in grid and partner work, we split into groups to create new grid patterns and combos. Much hilarity ensured but I'm happy to convey the 'learn it, do it, show it and grow it' part of the Mambalsa ethos.

What did I learn?
I still hate mirrored studios! I'm fat and that's why I'm at the back of the pic :-) 
Ninety mins is a good length of session.
Getting people to create is fun and engaging and respectful and confidence building.
Mambalsa works for this generation.

Many thanks to Samia for organising everything :-)

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Tons of Mambalsa

It's starting to happen!

Today I'm teaching Mambalsa to Kim's daytime dance group in Stationers Park.
I've sat in on her class before to gauge the pace of the group. They're fun and friendly, mainly 40+ so exactly the target group for Daytime Dance with starts next Wednesday!

This Wednesday by contrast I'm teaching a group of ballet dancers at a university in Holborn.

Friday I'm at a talk about social prescribing where doctors give a prescription for dance classes.

The week end I'm on my psychotherapy course learning addiction and adult issues.

Then next Wednesday Daytime Dance launches. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

2018 the Ethos

So what have I been doing about Mambalsa in the last year?
To tell the truth not much!

I did a new logo!
The old one was looking like a VW Golf c.1984 - stylish but square, a bit like two magnifying glasses.

 The new one is curvy and I've got rid of the awful font.

Hold on a minute! There's not been much out there in the public domain but I've spent a year learning psychotherapy and got a bucket load of psychology and people skills from it. I've also been to talks an discussions about isolation in our communities and decided to do something about it.
Mambalsa has also proved very successful at corporate events and parties. And I hear that one couple used Mambalsa for their first dance at their wedding.

What has changed is that I've developed a detailed ethos at Mambalsa's core.
Basically I've built in well-being through empathy and confidence.
This gives Mambalsa a purpose. Through practising confidence and empathy we become happier and better at being us. I'm sure all dances have that effect but if we place it at Mambalsa's core, we'll stay on track and have yet another unique selling point.

There's now three main tenants that guide my dance teaching (Salsa and Mambalsa)

1) Natural Mechanics- working with our bodies to move in a natural pre-learnt way. e.g. The vast majority of people are more comfortable spinning in the direction they are stepping onto, so if they're placing their weight onto their left foot, they're more comfortable spinning to their left. Many will recognise this as my Salsa Rapido rule No.5 and of course it's also a rule for Mambalsa. Now ballet dancers often spin the opposite way but most people arn't ballet dancers and spotting an ex ballet dancer twenty years down the line can be a bit tricky, so I stick to the rule which is an extension of consideration which in turn may be described as empathy in action.

Natural mechanics also covers the footwork sequence and mirroring, both of which come from the need to synchronise (Salsa Rapido rule 2)  to satisfy our mirror neurons. The effect is we can dance very slowly and very close if we choose.

2) Confidence and Consideration. Now that's been in Salsa Rapido since dot! Confidence inspires confidence in your partner, which in turn inspires your own self confidence. An upward spiralling tornado of confidence.
Confidence allows us to find the edge of our abilities and the thrill of being the best we can, which in turn leads to 'Flow' or Peak State as it's sometimes know. This is a state of mind that gives us a continual hit of happy brain juice (dopamine).
Consideration is empathy which sets us up for the deepest human to human connection possible.

3) Presence and Participation - Presence is the here and now. Most of our errors can be seen as a distraction from presence. Future based errors e.g. anticipation and pat based 'inner critic' errors abound. Presence allows us to focus in on the moment of inspiration and read move through action /reaction cycles. Participation is community. Our partners, the group, the space, the scene and the world.

Much of my ideas are on the  Salsa Rapido Blog including many short detailed video clips on Youtube's Salsa Rapido play list.
check it out and pleases subscribe. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Dancing Squares first at Kings Cross

Today was the second attempt at Dancing Squares, this time at Pancreas Sq. Kings Cross...
and it worked! Mainly thanks to Thomas who supported me at Euston yesterday and works in an office overlooking St Pancreas Sq. He brought a wonderful bunch of co-workers along and we did an intro to Mambalsa session.  We were joined by a man who worked on the building site, which shows how the group can grow.
The equipment worked fine after I switched to flight mode and the sun shone.
Most importantly, many people stopped and watched and took note as we had fun. Fingers crossed for next week :-)

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