It has been a while since we updated our blog, so I thought it is about time I wrote something!
I wanted to talk about Orishas. We have started to include Orishas in our advanced salsa classes on Mondays at 8pm. Also, in our warm ups in the intermediate salsa classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm, we sometimes include the movements of the Orishas to improve our body movement. In our latter beginners salsa classes we start to talk about Orishas and illustrate how they can be applied to our salsa dancing.
An Orisha is a deity that reflects one of the manifestations of God in the Yoruba religion. Some of the orishas we have included in our salsa classes at La Suerte Dance School are:
Elegua opens and closes the paths to mankind. Elegua ranges from a young child, who loves to play tricks, to a knowledgeable old man.
Ogun is the orisha of the woods. Ogun is a strong man, he uses a heavy machete to chop everything in his path. He also knows how to manipulate iron. He is an inseparable friend of Elegua and Ochosi. He is the husband of Oshun and Oya. Oya, his lost wife, was stolen by his brother Chango. The children of Ogun are hard working. Ogun watches over them and when he is in battle for one of his children he will not rest until he has won.
Ochosi is always accompanied by Elegua and Ogun. He always carries a bow and arrow, which he uses for his hunt. Ochosi is the orisha of justice. Ochosi hunts with Elegua and Ogun.
Chango is the orisha of thunder. When the sound of thunder is roaring, it is Chango riding on his white horse. Chango is a tall handsome man with an excellent physique. He is a womanizer.
Obatala is the orisha of the white cloth. He is the only orisha that has male and female aspects. He is said to vary from an old man, who is always trembling to a young person that is riding a horse. Everything put to Obatala is white. He is the father that all that the orishas look for.
Yemaya is the universal mother. She is the orisha of the ocean. Her colour is blue and all shades of it. She is the patron orisha of all women and women that bare children. As a mother, she is a warrior and will defend her children. She can be stern and punish her children. The same way she can punish and teach you a lesson. When Yemaya makes her appearance at a festival, she mimics the ocean waves. She spins in circles as a whirlpool. She is the sister of Ochun.
Oya can be a feared orisha, as she can create powerful storms. Oya was the wife of Ogun, before Chango took her away from him. Oya is said to be dressed in a wine colour dress with a belt, which holds a grass skirt. Oya is a great warrior who loves to go to battle alongside her husband Chango.
Oshun is the orisha of love and happiness. Her father is the great Obatala. He raised her since she was a little girl. Oshun’s colour is yellow. When she was younger she had only one white dress. Everyday she would go to the river and wash it. The white dress started to turn yellow. Oshun was happy that she had a yellow dress, as none of the adult orishas owned or had anything with the color yellow. From then, yellow became the primary colour to Oshun.
The best way to learn how to dance orishas is at Cuban Salsa festivals and La Suerte Dance School :). The crazy salsa team from La Suerte Dance School will be going to Bachaturo in Poland. I am very excited as my favourite teacher will be there. Yeni Molinet is a master at teaching Afro-Cuban classes. See you soon on the dance floor!