I went salsa dancing with a friend for the first time last night. We went to Mod&ä; and took advantage of the the offered lessons we discovered through clevelandsalsa.com. I think this is something I could become addicted to, seeing as I woke up this morning with the salsa beat still churning through me.
At first we couldn’t get in when we showed up at nine. The doors were locked, but when the opened the guy told us that Modä runs on Puerto Rican time. I’m sure my buddy Jesús would know exactly what he meant. Anyway, for ten bucks [the cover price plus a fiver for the lessons, I believe] I had a knee-bending, hip-shaking, rhythm like a fat man’s heartbeat of an evening. Okay, my rhythm isn’t quite that bad, but it takes awhile for it to sink past 18 years of hick upbringing. There were two instructors, who split us into two groups, we ended up with the lady, who’s name I cannot remember at the moment. [I’d recently consumed a rather potent concoction of ketel one, club soda and lime]
The salsa step is a basic seven-step that boggled my mind, just like it had in the 20 minute lesson I’d had in college, until I though of it as a 6.5 step 123&456. Then it got a bit easier. I got even easier once we actually paired up. I dance better with a girl in my arms. I wonder why? Anyway, we learned two soft-turns and the basic step in the first hour and then the real salsa music started, the live band came out and er, we went out on the dance floor. I got into it after awhile, although I was still concentrating very much on getting the steps right. So much so that a Rican guy came down and helped us out a bit.
Many thanks go to my old anthro prof Greg Downey for teaching me a bit about the culture of the salsa club. I knew at some point we were going to get advice and someone was going to cut in. Which is great! The people there really want everyone to be able to salsa well. Even though I was told I was dancing like a limp string and needed to learn the slangy comfort of salsa dancing, my instructor gave me some encouragement, saying “I didn’t need more lessons” [yeah right :)].
If dancing is symbolic sex then salsa is sweaty summer back-clawing animalistic sex. Totally intense. My gimp knee felt like it was being hammered on, but only when I wasn’t dancing. That salsa beat, man, it takes you somewhere else. For sure.
Update: I forgot to mention, one of the couples there gave my friend and I their phone number and told us to call them. I’m convinced they are swingers. Their single friend was a cutie though.