Salsa is Hot in Norway

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Norwegians love to social dance. I am often amazed at how many dance places there are in big cities, country towns and even coastal villages. Norway has its own traditional dance that involves a short man in a suit kicking a hat out of a maiden’s hand who is standing above him on a chair – very impressive. Norway also has a collection of sequenced country dances. Nowadays, the most popular dance to learn, outside of Oslo, is the Folk Swing (or North Norwegian Swing). It is a country-bumpkin version of a Rock-a-Billy Jive from the 50s. However, in the last ten years, Salsa has made its way to the Arctic North through the likes of immigrants. Now practically every town has at least one Salsa dance school.

Tromsø has a thriving dance community. You can learn salsa, rueda, merengue, bachata and cha cha cha from the Salsa clubs; Folk Swing, Bug and Boogie Woogie from the Swing clubs; and Norwegian Folk Tango, Argentine/Neo Tango and Finnish Tango from the Tangos clubs. Of course there are the regular Ballroom clubs in town too. Driv, the student club house, is the home of the student social dance club. Tromsø also has a Flamenco club and a Belly Dance club.

On any given weeknight there are always a great selection of dance classes to go to and always dance parties happening through out week. Tromsø has the northern-most Salsa Congress organised by Salsademika, the No Siesta, Fiesta! festival, which offers a great array of Latin American dance, and various Folk Swing dance galas. There are numerous workshops and courses by visiting artists, national and international, and Dansens Dag (International Dance Day) is a time where all the studios get together and make the city come alive with movement and music.

This past weekend was the Salsa Treff (Salsa Meet) organised by Salsa i Nord. Over three days there were ten courses with national instructors in Salsa, Bachata, Cha Cha Cha and Rueda, two dance nights with DJ and a live Latin band and all-you-can-eat waffles! (Dancing for three days straight you need to fill up on all that jammy-goodness.)

Hats off to the organisers of the Salsa Treff. I had a great time teaching and meeting all the North Norwegian Salseros – and, of cause, ‘wiggling it, just a little bit’.

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For more information on what’s happening in Tromsø go to the local cultural news hub: Tromsø By (in Norwegian)

Salsa: Tromsø Salsa Klubb, Salsademika, Casino Royale
Swing: Tromsø Swing klubb, Kom og Dans Troms
Ballroom: Dans på roser, UiT danseklubb
Tango: Tango Polar

Irony Alley

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Sticks and Stones of Mefjordvær

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Mefjordvær is a little fishing village on north-west Senja. It boasts a panoramic view of a mountain wall that plunges into the ocean. Mefjordvær has medieval church history and wooden artefacts that resemble St Olav which are kept at Oslo University.

Ten points if you can guess what the poles are for!

Updated 18/11/08
Good try!  (I would have said for seagulls! lol.)

The poles are the beginnings of a fisherman’s pier which is usually used for hanging nets and drying fish.  The poles are left in the water to settle.  They sink further down over time.  The tides also help the poles wiggle down to a firm base.  When they are firmly embeded, the builder then continues the construction.

Snow Tracks

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Norwegians live close to the wilderness. Even in Oslo you do not have to go far before you’re in ‘bush’. There are walking tracks everywhere – on mountain tops, beside the fjords and in the woods. In the summer it is very easy to get around on foot and on bike. But what happens to the walking tracks in winter when they are covered with a meter of snow? They turn into ski tracks, of course!

Norwegians are born with skis on their feet. Skiing is ‘winter-walking’ and is very much a part of daily life. Moose often skis to uni – from our front doorstep right up to the science building. He parks his skis in the ski-racks next to the (unused) bikes racks. (For Australians it is a little different – I haven’t quiet caught onto the gliding bit yet – I’m still stuck with the waddle.) Moose says I just have to find my ‘ski-legs’.

Most of the major tracks have lights and the snow is very reflective so it is easy to see where you’re going. In November the snow is just starting to build up for the winter, so we thought to take Lilu around our favourite lake. The birds are all gone now as the water has a thin layer of ice. In mid winter we will be able to skate on the lake (another challenge for Aussies – video). Pretty soon it will be difficult to wheel the pram in the snow around Prestvannet lake – I wonder if we can attach skis to the wheels?

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