First Salsa Lesson

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.