History of the Toronto Salsa Practice (TSP)
How It All Began – In January 2001, four people new to salsa decided to meet outside of class to practice in a space in Trinity St.Paul’s, a church in the Annex, in the heart of Toronto. What started off as an idea to learn faster by way of helping each other out in an informal and friendly way soon became a favourite weekly event tha each found themselves looking forward to. They continued meeting and practicing – and going out for coffee or dinner afterwards. The cost of practicing was studio rent that they split four ways and each took turns bringing a boombox for the music. Their salsa moves improved and soon, they started to attract attention.
Before long, people from other salsa schools were joining in and others came out until numbers started to push a hundred and the lineup to get wove down the hall and into the basement. Within a couple of years, so many people were coming that a proper sound system had to be bought and the Toronto Salsa Practice (TSP) was formally created. People from across the city, other parts of the province and even newcomers visiting from as far away as Israel, Holland, Germany and California, were showing up to dance. What set this practice apart was the energy that everyone contributed to in those early days and the warmth and camaraderie that first brought people together. In fact, its what still makes the TSP what it is today and keeps people coming back for more.
Even more to the story, the Toronto Salsa Practice was the first of its kind in the city and started a salsa movement that’s taken off in more ways than one. Many salsa schools and salsa socials have the TSP to thank for their existence having taken inspiration from the practice itself. Before the TSP, there were few places to dance salsa and of those most were clubs too intimidating for many to set foot in. Learning was limited to an hour or two of salsa in a class setting each week, offered by only a number of existing salsa schools.
When the TSP entered the scene it filled the need many had for a space that bridged the gap between the dance club and the classroom with a safe place to stumble, fumble and get back up again, learning more and more salsa along the way. The number of people who now dance salsa across the city has flourished into the hundreds and while not all of salsa’s success in Toronto can be attributed to the TSP, it was precedent setting in terms of having created something new and needed in a practice and creation of community for Torontonians and recent immigrants alike. Since its inception, the TSP has been replicated many times over with practices taking place in almost every corner of the city and a club to dance in each night of the week. The old Toronto is no longer without the latin flare of the South!
More on the Practice and what its achieved available here: