I’ve been out of the salsa game for awhile now. I stopped lessons back in April because of my course load at school, and I got out of the routine of going to the clubs when I put my back out in summer. My presence at the clubs has been sporadic at best for the past 4 months.
Two weeks ago, I went to my first lesson since April; I was embarrassingly rusty. My teacher, the one who taught me back in April, is doing a “teach at the level of my students” kind of lesson plan instead of just beginner, intermediate or advanced kind of structure. Of the four people in my class, I’m definitely the noob and he was teaching above my skillset. So it’s not all my fault. Regardless, it has prompted me to get back in the game and have an outlet for practicing.
As a result, I went dancing Friday night for the first time in quite some time. When I got there, the lesson was still going on even though it should have been finished. I grabbed a drink and waited for it to wrap up. When it did, I wandered down to the dance floor to look for a partner, but there wasn’t many people there and all of the guys were dancing with the girls they had the lesson with. I stood there for three or four songs before I ended up ‘circle dancing’ with a bunch of girls.
I was convinced that it was going to be an early night at the club and that I’d end up stopping in at my neighbourhood pub for a couple drinks before heading home. Then one of the guys asked me to dance, and then another, and then another. Before I knew it, I was getting pulled back onto the dance floor before I even had a chance to leave it.
Being a Latin dance, quite a few of the patrons are of Latin descent, naturally. Latinos are not usually particularly tall. I am fairly tall for a girl, so I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I am usually taller than my dance partner, especially when you consider that I also dance in heels. I don’t mind, they don’t mind, so it’s all good. Except that there are certain styles of dance that require you to be at the same level as your partner. Since they can’t get up to mine, I have to get down to theirs.
It’s basically like doing squats for 5 minutes straight, without the relief of being able to stand upright in between squats.
One of my partners the other night was particularly short. I mean, he is probably 5’3” at best. I’m 5’8” and I was wearing 2” heels. I towered over him. Doing the squat dance was particularly painful. Between the pain in my knees and my thirst, I decided to go to the bar to grab a drink and have a sit down. The bartender saw me and asked “The same?”; I said “No – could I have a glass of water, please?”. As he’s pouring my glass of water, the other bartender starts measuring out a shot of vodka; there isn’t anyone else at the bar.
I was confused, so I started slowly walking away; as I am, the bartender started saying “Wait, wait, don’t walk away!”. I was thinking “But I didn’t order a drink…”. She finished mixing the drink and said “This one is on-the-house; it’s from one of the clients”. Oh. Okay. Weird. That hasn’t happened here before. I had no idea who it was from.
I was sitting there, drinking my free drink and who walked up? Slick. Except he cut his hair off, so now he’s more like Spike. I barely recognized him. We chatted for a bit before he walked off to grab another beer. Then I was approached by two guys. One was young, kind of shy, and was basically hovering in the background while the other one talked to me. Chatty asked if I’d be willing to teach his nephew to dance. I did and he was super keen to learn.
When we made our way back to my table, Chatty asked how Nephew did; he thanked me for teaching him and said, as a thank-you, next time, he’ll dance with me all night. He made me shake on it. I’m not sure who will benefit the most from this arrangement. I guess I’ll find out next time when I discover how good of a dancer he is.
Today, I go back for lessons. Wish me luck!!