So this weekend has been one of the biggest in the salsa calendar: the Mambo City five star congress. And, short of pulling my hamstring a few days before, I was pretty darn prepared. My room-mate Mambo Delight and I were all set for salsa heaven, which got me thinking about congress essentials. So here are a few things we could not have done without (take note, congress-goers):
RUM: a lot of rum. With coke, which helps you to not fall asleep. Science fact.
Music: particularly Richie Ray to perk us up!
Foot rubs: particularly Turkish bath melts and Oomilegs shower gel, both made especially for dancers by Oakwood Aromatics.
Pretty dresses: ‘Nuff said.
Jingas: do it. Just do it.
Pretty shoes: and herein lies the real purpose of this post.
The Anna Kerns. Oh my goodness, the Anna Kerns.
And here they are, in all their boxfresh glory. Let me tell you a bit about these shoes. I have been longing for some boot-style shoes, in the style of Natural Spin, and these Anna Kern shoes really fit the bill. Snazzy, but they go with plenty of stuff. I think the heel is 2.75″, and is patent leather, as is the zip-up heel. For those who aren’t in the know, it seems to me that Anna Kern is the edgier, younger, slightly more tango/salsa-focussed offshoot of classic and well-respected brand Werner Kern. I ordered these shoes from www.strictly4dancers.com, who delivered in less than 10 days, and seem to carry a very good range including Nueva Epoca, Rummos and Portdance.
Through and through, these shoes are a luxury experience. From the printed Anna Kern tissue paper to the high quality bag, everything about them screams “expensive”. But the fact is that these bad boys came in at £70 including postage, which is pretty much average in the dance shoe market these days, and bloody good value for a really unusual, quality pair. The inners are soft leather, not synthetic, and the suede soles are about a mile thick. You can actually see the suede poking out from underneath on the photo above! In terms of material quality and finish, these are a cut above any shoe I have ever bought. EVER. That’s a lot of shoes, man.
At first I was concerned that the shoes were a little big, even considering the fact that the website suggested ordering half a size smaller than usual street shoe size. In fact, if I was buying again, I would probably go a full size lower. But I just couldn’t let them go, so on the Friday night, I strolled onto the floor and just set off. No breaking in, no talc, and none needed. I hardly knew I had them on. Sure, this is partly due to a nice, clean, high-quality congress floor, but I just couldn’t believe the fit and performance of these shoes from the word go. I wore them two nights out of three and they were just amazing. I will definitely invest in another pair, perhaps these.
Slobber. So yes, buy Anna Kern, and be happy. More from Mambo City in my next post!