Article 11002 | MIC Buzz
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‘Feel’ Is The Robert Charlemagne Style Of Salsa


Meet Robert Charlemagne,

Robert Charlemagne is a larger than life character and one of the most formidably gifted teachers and dancers in the salsa dancing world.

You cannot put Robert Charlemagne into a box, or a single category, he is too versatile and creative a person. Before becoming a salsa dancer or teacher, Robert Charlemagne was a professional dancer, professional bass player, an IT consultant and he also learnt piano to grade 7 as a child.

His style is based on great technical skills, syncopation, timing, flow, showmanship, dancing ability and most importantly ‘Feel”.

 

What is the ‘Feel’ of a dance or ‘Feel’ of a dancer?

The ‘Feel’ is the essential essence of the inner moods, messages, understanding and appreciation, of the ‘Emotional spirit’ and ‘Intention captured in the music’ that is being shared by the musicians, using rhythm, timing and syncopation.

It is also the skill of dancers who’s expression freely and naturally can capture these elements, through the movement and medium of their dance, using rhythm, timing and syncopation.

 

A place in UK salsa history

Robert Charlemagne has a particular part of his salsa dancing expression, that has a unique place in UK salsa history, because he was the first to fully achieve and represent all of the Caribbean Islands in his particular style of salsa dancing in the UK.

 

What is the Charlemagne style of Salsa dancing?

Affectionately known as ‘The Charlemagne Style of Salsa’ or ‘Charlemagne Style’, this distinctive style is all about the ‘feel’ of the dance and in the dance, that is unmistakably his.

Robert Charlemagne is one of the first well known salsa teachers and dancers who has successfully merge feel and flavours of the Caribbean, R&B, club culture, soul, jazz and reggae dances, with Cuban, Latin and world salsa dances.

A major element of the Charlemagne Style of Salsa truly and quintessentially is the whole Caribbean in a collage like construction, with the added individual personality of Robert Charlemagne himself.

Robert Charlemagne knew that Caribbean music and dancers have always been eclectic and diverse. One of the many benefits is that Caribbean music and dance expression has tremendous international appeal because it is great fun.

Robert Charlemagne understood that like a collage, Caribbean music and dance draws on many inspirations and influences, and yet it always ends up visually and physically being completely different to the individual elements and uniquely more than the sum of its parts.

 

What Robert Charlemagne brings to salsa:

Robert Charlemagne brings a lot to salsa. To give it an understanding, Robert Charlemagne merged the dances of R&B, Soul, Jazz and Reggae and Calipso with Salsa dancing, creating ‘The Charlemagne Style’ of Salsa.

His unique flavour, enthusiasm, emphasis, swagger and overwhelming Caribbean feel of R&B, Soul, Jazz, Reggae, Calipso, dance hall and club nights vibe, is unmistakable in the wonderful way he dances and teaches.

He brings the Caribbean flavours of the island of Saint Lucia where is parents are from, plus a spirit that is larger than life.

 

What Salsa brought to Robert Charlemagne:

It is fair to say that Salsa dancing and Robert Charlemagne were meant for each other. This formidable partnership with salsa is natural, because Robert is from the Caribbean and Salsa based on Cuban music from the Caribbean, because it was Cuba that created the original music forms that are generally referred to worldwide as ‘Salsa Music’.

 

 

Salsa dancing opened up a new and exciting social world to Robert Charlemagne, allowing him to see the possibility to open up the Caribbean Salsa door to the UK’s British, Irish, Scottish and Welsh multicultural Caribbean communities more than any other salsa dancer before him.

He has taken every ingredient of the Caribbean to express and explain Salsa in UK and Caribbean terms, showing how the Caribbean flavour in the UK could be expressed within the medium of Salsa Dance.

He showed how to enjoy and express the vital ingredients of Caribbean culture within this music that originated in the Caribbean island of Cuba. He also showed the versatility within his technical dancing ability of On 1 and On 2 salsa styles, covering Cuban, Puerto Rican, Latin American, LA, New York and world salsa dance styles.

 

Influential People:

Robert Charlemange’s first ever salsa teacher was Xiomara Granados from Colombia.

His second teacher was Nelson Batista from Cuba, known as ‘The Godfather of UK Salsa’.

Nelson Batista was undoubtably the first one in the UK to bring that Cuban, sophisticated, soulful, funky and club vibe energy of Cuban bands like ‘Irakere’, than fuse it with popular movements of artists like James brown, showcasing those elements within the Cuban and Caribbean flavours, with that world music feel of the night clubs, in the UK.

It was Nelson Batista who first opened up a portal in Robert Charlemange’s mind to the array of Caribbean flavours and cultures, that actual reside within the dance, which is part of Cuban dance and music. This portal showed Robert Charlemange his natural dance path to freely expressing himself, because Robert had found the necessary ingredients that matched his own Caribbean roots and dance history.

Years later Robert Charlemagne also took lessons with Eddy Torres, ‘Cuban Pete’ (Pedro Aguilar from Puerto Rico), Pedro Gomez, Rico (from New York), and many other legendary teachers and performers, to develop his many other salsa styles.

Robert Charlemagne also had a very successful and wonderful dance partnership with Suzanna Montero for many of those earlier years.

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There can be no doubt that Robert Charlemagne has contributed substantially to salsa dancing in the UK, the Caribbean and around the world.

 

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