i've mentioned how important music is to the islanders, but i think i forgot to talk about the dancing. everyone you meet can salsa with the best of them. it's like if you are born here you are gifted with this incredible ability to shake your ass in time with music and do it effortlessly while attached to another person.
i have always had difficulty finding and keeping the beat. it used to drive my mother, a musician, absolutely crazy that her daughter had no ability to hear what was so obvious to everyone else. someone once told me i hear the down beat. i'm cool with that. anything to explain how i can start off clapping in time with the crowd but be off in mere seconds.
so dancing lessons have always had a level of frustration that made it more work than joy - although when i do manage to get something, like the lindy hop, i am beyond thrilled to do the dance all night long!
gato's wife, yudi, is a semi-retired professional dancer, who offered to give me some salsa lessons. while i knew it might be a fool's errand, i was still hopeful that i could come out of her company with some slinky skills.
|my dancing shoes|
the first lesson was with c&e, a mistake. c, meaning well, was constantly correcting me, which would only make me more self conscious and frustrated, and eventually a little too defensive to learn anything. my second lesson, yes, i went back for more, was hilarious, mostly because yudi doesn't speak english and i didn't speak spanish, so communication on what i was doing wrong and occasionally what i was doing right, was painful. but she was patient, and in the end, there were a few times she told me my moves were sexy - i'm not sure i agreed with her, there was a full sized mirror in front of me, so i could see what i was doing, but i wasn't going to contradict her, as it was such a great feeling to get some of the moves down. not to mention, i did find the beat every now and then and managed to hold it for an entire song, SUCCESS!
she told me i would have to take samba lessons in rio and tango lessons in buenos aires. i didn't, but i will revisit salsa in cusco...