I thought my Toronto trip would be a nice break from dancing so much in México. But to my surprise, I discovered the rising bachata scene there and ended up making dozens of new friends + dancing every weekend.
This trip was one of the highlights of my year. So here’s a recap of my 3-month adventure in Toronto with my thoughts on how the sensual bachata scene has evolved.
The Toronto bachata meta (before and now)
I started learning bachata in Toronto back in 2019 and let me tell you, it kind of sucked.
I’m the kind of learner who wants to surround myself with ambitious people so we can level up together. But before COVID, the level of dancers wasn’t good. And there weren’t many teachers who specialized in sensual bachata (traditional and modern styles were more popular).
I’m pretty good at building community. But it was DIFFICULT to find anyone around me who wanted to level up with me. Once COVID hit, I kind of gave up the dream TBH.
I later found what I was looking for in México and Spain. So when I came back to Toronto this year in 2023, I had very low expectations of the sensual bachata dance scene. To my delight, I discovered that things have improved drastically.
I found a pocket of dancers who had great technique, playful musicality, and solid body awareness. I instantly felt the connection while dancing with so many different people (connection is arguably the most important thing in social dance). There was another pocket of dancers whose technique wasn’t quite at a high level yet, but they had ambition, enthusiasm, and a desire to learn.
I turned to a couple of new friends at a social and said, “WTF? When did the Toronto bachata scene get a glow-up??” I quickly learned that all of this progress happened super recently. Like 6-12 months before I got there. It felt like after COVID, people really wanted to grind up on each other... I mean learn sensual bachata.
This summer felt like an inflection point in the Toronto bachata scene meta. And I’m glad I got to be a small part of the movement. 🤓
Imagine you just learned some cool figures during your bachata class. You're excited to add these combos to your repertoire. But when you hit the socials, you "suddenly" forget everything you've learned... 😩
I hated this feeling. So that's why I created Bachata Library, the ultimate system that helped me remember and master dance moves.
I can now learn new moves, track them in my Bachata Library, and execute them at socials within just a week of practice. After adding dozens of new figures, I now have a wide range of tools to better express myself and connect with my partner.
If you want to "get out of your head" and feel more flow, start creating your own Bachata Library. 🤓
Highlight #1 – Making friends, dancing outside of “socials,” and practicing together
I’m not a very smart guy. A year ago, I didn’t know where Russia was on a map. I didn’t know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. I still don’t know what cells are or who fought in WWII.
But I do know how to make friends. I went from knowing basically nobody in the dance scene to leaving Toronto with so many new friendships.
I’m grateful to all of the amazing humans that I’ve met and for accepting me into your groups!! I’ll be back soon. 💗
Highlight #2 – Gero y Migle weekender
Fun little backstory… so one of my favorite dance couples flew to Toronto to teach a workshop over the weekend. They just got off the plane and went straight to our Friday night social.
After a quick welcome, they started to dance together and everyone stopped to watch. So amazing to witness greatness in action 😍
Midway through the song I turned to my friend Linda and said, “here’s my phone. If they start asking people to dance, could you get a vid of me?”
And she’s like sure lol. Because what are the odds of that happening? Or the odds of me being picked out of this huge crowd?
Sure enough, two 8-counts later, they stop dancing with each other and look to the audience. Migle approached the area I was in.
I’m not usually an aggressive person but I BOLTED from the back row to grab Migle’s hand 😆😅 and we danced the last half of the song together. All eyes were on us.
I mother f-ing manifested this moment!! jaja
I felt no nerves for some odd reason. Just happy to be alive, dancing my heart out.
Highlight #3 – Angelica y Ros weekender
So another couple that I’m obsessed with is Angelica y Ros. I’ve taken their online courses and watched their videos religiously because Ros is like, my dance god at the moment.
It is WILD to me they visited Toronto at the exact same time I’d be there. We got to dance together and eat lunch. I even took a private lesson with them.
Highlight #4 – I taught my first-ever bachata class!!
While I started dancing in 2019, I didn’t really get started until I flew to México in 2022. I got decently good but never to the point where I thought I would be a teacher.
But I put in the work. I’ve obsessively honed my craft and trained from several notable teachers over the last 12 months. The organizer of the biggest bachata dance community in Toronto took notice and he invited me to teach an all-level class before the social.
What an absolute honor.
My friend Laura and I taught the class and people didn’t hate it!! Achievement unlocked. ✅
I planned to enjoy one last Saturday social before I flew back to California for work. On Weds of that week, the organizer invited me to teach one more time. Apparently, people said some nice words and wanted to see me again. OK, my ego has officially been stroked.
I got the first-class jitters out of the way. And my 2nd class felt a lot better in terms of quality and smoothness. It was the perfect way to end my summer in Toronto.
My /now page is the most up-to-date page where you can see what I'm up to next.
So I'm back in California resting a bit before spending the rest of the year in México. I want to write more about my life setup and why I chose to live in a few home bases. Expect a post about that sometime soon. 🙂
Tam Pham's Blog
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