As Molly Hallmark rightly said, dancing in heels should count as a superpower. Glamour and superpowers ascended on the stage of the Ground Theatre in shades of white and gold as SMU Caderas Latinas’ Alumni team opened the evening. The perfectly dimmed lighting, Celia Cruz at her best, and the mighty Caderas men spinning their lovely women as though in a tornado woke me up from all that dozing that was involved in waiting for the show to begin. The club’s annual production was a collaboration with JJ Salsa Rengue, a local dance school.
‘Viva La Salsa’ was an event dedicated to educating the audience about the evolution of Salsa dancing (and also a reasonable amount of advertising). Who knew that this seemingly pure Latino dance style had French origins? I, for one, cannot picture a baguette or ratatouille with Havana Club on the same table.
However, as is the inevitable byproduct of indulging oneself in most performing arts jollies, my tapered vision was expanded dramatically. When the Caderas ‘Shine’ team, consisting of both Alumni and the current Senior team came together, they blew up the stage and stunned the audience in their ravenous black and red outfits. Watching these graceful swans spin, cart-wheel and fly to Kelis’ “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” was the most entertaining thing to happen to a Smugger before week 13.
SMU Caderas Latinas Shines Team (Photo Credits: Ashish Diwan)
As I sat there in my specially reserved seat wondering how these performers have it in them to balance going to school and knocking out hundreds of wide-eyed fans, I remembered a conversation I had with the President of Caderas Latinas, Edison Lim. Edison discovered his passion for salsa when he attended ACF’s annual Arts Camp and followed through on the Latin dance form. To put up this show of an hour or so, his team practiced for four months – a testament to the dedication that seeps through every level of this organization.
Apart from the two brilliant choreographers who are external consultants, everything else was student run. However, Caderas Latinas continue to receive rock solid support from their alumni who contribute in a variety of ways. These ex-SMU students, who have to balance the life of a full-time corporate professional with a life of glamour, display commitment at its best and purest form. The big family of Caderas only grows bigger as each year passes, and the bonds do not fade upon graduation.
Passion displayed itself in several forms during the production – from the dedicated long time salsa –lovers to the brand new, freshly pressed juniors of the team. If one watched the latter group without any hint on only their six months of experience, they would pass them off as major pros.
SMU Caderas Latinas Seniors Team (Photo Credits: Damien Ng)
Like John Mayer said, “If you had done anything two weeks ago, by today you would be two weeks better at it”. The stage emitted these words. Expertise was not an option; rather it was a given. Perfection was not effort, but a habit. Grace and beauty were not attained, but endowed.