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  • Full-Figured Salseras

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    Dear Edie,
    I love your website. I am an African American woman that accidentally fell in love with Salsa music and Spanish culture in general. I have spent the entire morning browsing through you site. I have two questions that I would like for you to address.
    1) I have been a tomboy for the majority of my life and walking on heels has not been easy nor pleasant. Is there a rule that says you can't Salsa in flats?????? I look graceful and elegant, but I am secure that I won't lose my balance. I would appreciate your opinion.

    2) I am a size 18. As a sista, I am well-proportioned. My questions, is what is acceptable at the clubs. I don't want to do the hoochie-mama thing, I want to look attractive and classy. Can you recommend something that will allow me to do both? Your website explains how to prep your shoes and where to wear your panties, but it doesn't address the women of size trying to represent on the dance floor. We need fishnet stockings and other Salsa necessities in our size. Anything that you can do would be great.
    Siempre Salsa!!!!!!!!!
    Cool Breeze of Baltimore

    Dear Cool Breeze of Baltimore,
    Just because you're a well-proportioned size 18, doesn't mean you should hold back a thing. Remember, it's your ATTITUDE that matters more than anything else. Apply this to ALL aspects of your life, and woman, you can start on that Salsa dance floor... Ya' know why?

    Because it's "OK" to be sexy out there, and not hold back showing it! This isn't your 9 to 5 day job, this is "Salsa DANCING!!!"

    Honey, if you want to wear flats, wear them. It's not worth the pain and suffering of a few inches, believe me. When I was heavier four years ago (I was at my peak at 170 lbs back in 1988, then I started Salsa dancing at 145-150, size 14 in 1994, now I teeter between a size 5 and 3, depending on how much I'm dancing, vs traveling (that's right Europe KILLED me weight-wise... the food was just EVERYWHERE, and was just WAY TOO GOOD!! ),

    Because I was carrying more weight when I first started dancing, my feet KILLED ME by the end of the evening. When I got out of my car after driving home, I could barely walk. All the blood rushed down to my toes when I was driving, and it JUST SAT THERE, swelling up my feet, like you would not believe. I would have to soak them in hot water the next day, and rub, and rub them. I also got a lot of blisters. I hated it when my feet hurt so bad, that I couldn't go dancing, or my evenings would be cut short because of my aching feet. I still had plenty of energy, but because of ill-fitting shoes, the night was over by 11:00pm.

    The first thing I did, was find better shoes specially made for "dancing". Janette Valenzuela introduced me to some ballroom dance shoes she started selling. They felt so great, that I wore them so much, I wore down the soles. When this happened, I stuck rubber sports pads in them to save money on getting them re-soled.

    In fact, I was the first person to ever buy a pair of shoes from my friend, Janette, the now, world-famous "Salsera Con Shoes". I love them so much, that I still own my very first pair. They are so worn down, and so wore out, (they're over three years old now - they're THAT GOOD!) have been spray-painted over seven times... and they're STILL HOLDING UP and are GREAT practice shoes now!! * Whenever I wear them to Salsa Brava practice, everyone gives me a hard time, and says, "God, Edie, why don't you just throw those things AWAY!"

    Yes, they're THAT BAD in the looks department, but are "oh so comfortable" in the wear and tear department because I have glued two pairs of sports pads in them.

    Last year I changed thousands of people's lives when I announced that it was "OK to wear sports pads in your shoes", due to the incredible aerobic nature of Salsa dancing. IT'S A JUNGLE OUT THERE, and to deal with "finishing the song" in one piece, you've got to have the right equipment. Shoes included.

    I also started wearing a much lower heel. In fact, if I could, I wouldn't wear a heel at all, but I'm so short, that if I don't wear heels, I am really tough for some taller men to dance with. And I LOVE tall, big, muscular.. men....

    I mean, I really enjoy dancing with ... men..."all" men.... .

    ANYWAY, get some comfortable shoes, and just get out there, and DANCE. Believe it or not, nobody really cares what kind of shoes you have on, just as long as they're worn in good taste, and are not outlandish or gaudy. Most Salseros just "care" if the woman can follow well. While visiting Miami and New York, there were some "size 18" women dancing that were absolutely incredible dancers. They could spin like a top, and follow better than anyone in the room. They were CONSTANTLY being asked to dance, by some of the BEST, and most handsome Salseros in the club. They were wearing flats, and looked very, very comfortable not only on the dance floor, but with themselves. They had smiles on their faces, and were just having a ball. It was truly a pleasure watching them.

    At Salsaweb, we sell stretchy, sexy nude, tan, and black dance fishnets in all sizes!* So go check them out!* If you want to look "classy" and not like a hoochie-mama, I suggest you stay away from the very short, tight-fitting mini skirts or big flair skirts. I found that beautiful pantsuits or below-the-knee or even to-the-floor slit skirts are very classy, and with the right top AND ATTITUDE, very sexy at the same time.

    Remember, ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING. It's not always how you "look" that matters here. It's how much you smile, hold your head high, chin up, shoulders back, well-groomed, smell good, live, laugh, have a great time, and forget about your hangups. Go in there with a "knock 'em dead" approach, and you'll astonish everyone - including yourself!

    Best of luck to you Ms. Cool Breeze! I hope our "winds" cross paths some day and we churn up a real STORM together!!!
    Mua! Big kiss on the cheek,
    Edie,
    - The Salsa FREAK
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