Super­Human Salsa Dancers “Don & Rae”

Don, Tania and Rae at the Sydney Olympic Park train station, on the way to the congress

Yesterday I wrote about the amazing ability of people with a “disability” at my writing blog, “Disabled People are Super Humans“.

I went to the Sydney Salsa Congress shows last night and found there the perfect example for my line of thinking.

The Thursday night at the congress is dedicated to performances of the student teams, from all over the country, so I found a bit strange to have a couple performing instead of a team. Don & Rae from Perth were beautiful but during the show I kept thinking… “Why do they have a couple performing tonight?”

I have intricate knowledge of the Congress goings having been involved with the organization of it in the past. So the thing was for me more noticeable.

I couldn’t find any apparent motive, so I just enjoyed the show.

The routine was nice, they did some lifts and tricks as all Salsa dancers love. Nice costumes as well.

The Sydney Salsa Congress 2009 Stage ­MCs: Angela Lau and Marcia Pinheiro (left to right)

At the end of it Angela and Marcia, last night’s hosts, came and said that the show was there first because it was very good but second because Don has a prosthetic leg and the Congress is a supporter of all kinds of amazing dancers.

I would say that lots of salsa dancers are not half as good as him even using both flesh legs.

And she was amazing, because the trust needed is not a small feat, to be lifted, you are putting your life in your partners hands.

I was thrilled to see them at the train station and take a picture.

They were dropping Don’s parents off, as I was going home in the same train I enjoyed their company.

They were telling me that before dancing, he was had a passion for karate.

I remember my parents had to endure endless shows of ballet, jazz, contemporary and modern in my young life, and they even went to a practice for my performance a couple of weeks ago. (Dad wasn’t very happy with my dancing with an injured arm, we should listen more to our parents… the said arm was fractured and I didn’t know…).

Talking to Don’s parents last night reminded me of mine.

The same shinning eyes, same pride, same sharing of a son’s or daughter’s passion. 

They said something that marked me: had the congress been in Brazil they would have still gone to see him! So would I !!!

30 Orble Votes

The Sydney Salsa Congress 2009 Starts Tonight

Photo: LDA Zouk Team at Sydney Salsa Congress 2008

LDA Zouk team at The Brazilian Dance Congress 2008

It is starting tonight, one of the best Latin Dance Congresses in the world!

I’m writing all about it. Even with one good arm, one not too good, I’ll be there.

I was going to perform tonight in Tony Lara’s team, I was going to be an Angel… now I’m an Angel with a broken wing.
I’ll talk to all the famous national and international dancers.

I confess: I will cry like a baby, if I cry when I’m dancing imagine when I’m not.
One of my fondest memories is the excruciating pain in my feet after the last party last year. Ah, the sheer sense of mission accomplished! This year I promise a pain in my hand from writing! 

2008 was my first full-time congress and I never had so much fun squeezed in such a short time. I can’t forget one guy social dancing. Pablo was his name, from Pablo & Diana, there were a lot of amazing dancers on the floor, the best salseros in the world, but Pablo, on the Saturday party was incredibly hot!

Something was leaking out straight from his soul and spreading all around him. He was dancing with Becky from Salsa Suave, and it was one of the most beautiful dances I had ever seen.

I’m not sure he is a striking man walking on the street, but on the social I looked around to see about 10 girls beside me watching and drooling.

You could see the little balloons on top of their heads saying:

‘Me, me, me, dance with me!’

From these ladies there was this woman, she was teaching the Afro-Cuban workshops and she had the most beautiful body I have ever seen. She is a black beauty with a sexy French accent and a body movement and elegance that says “dancer” in every fibre. Their dancing was sublime.

Last year, it gave goose bumps to join the workshops, all those dancers moving as one, doing the same things, one purpose, one mind, hundreds of bodies.

I’m excited to watch all these details this year, to report these little and big magics, to share here my dancer’s soul.

Do not miss the congress and do not miss my telling about it… It will be fun.

Super Mario’s Workshop at The Sydney Salsa Congress 2008

31 Orble Points

My Clubbing Experience 

Photo: Everyone dancing at the LDA BALL 2007

I’m a dancer, a latin dancer, so what I usually do when I go out is to go out dancing.
Due to a series of personal reasons, the last time I went clubbing was… a long time ago. I was still a teenager. Recently I decided to see what it was all about. Especially seeing myself free and single. 

To experience that, I joined two friends who love clubbing, they are beautiful and have done it all their teen and adult lives.
We all dressed up but one of my friends had the beautiful idea of wearing shorts, and yes, they were very short shorts. 

As a result the guys didn’t see her at all, only her legs. It was as if there was nothing on top of the rim of the short shorts. One of these obsessed males was talking to her, or in her direction and she had to tell him:

‘­Hello­oooooo! I’m up here! You are talking to my legs!’

Worse than this was the one that threw himself on the floor as a rugby player diving for an incredible ball, hugged her legs and really didn’t want to let the legs go. I’m pretty sure the level of blood in his alcohol was extremely low!

The adventures are endless but for a dancer like me it was… a bit boring.

When I arrived the first thing I felt was the booming of the music in my bones.

Man, it was loud! And it was good! Dancers love loud deafening music. The ones that make the floor vibrate and your whole body hum. Even hearing impaired dancers want loud, loud music: they dance from the reverberation of the floor. 

So in the club the music was exciting at first, but quite repetitive. Although there were DJs and they seemed to be changing the music, the sound, the beat itself, didn’t change at all.

My second impression was that people seemed to be moving, but for dancing… hummmm, not exactly. 

They were stepping all right. A bit like merengue.

If a tree, an old, stiff tree ­could dance, this is how they would do: one, two; one, two; step, step; step, step; left, right; left, right; and so on.

Nothing below the chest moved; while arms were flailing in the air and heads going all over the place.

To the end of the night the trees were a bit wobblier, due to alcohol consumption. 

I did try dancing like that, and got to the conclusion that my heart beat was slower than when I’m sleeping. During my rest time I’m usually dreaming, and my dreams are exciting enough to accelerate my heart more than during this type of dancing.

This dance was so monotonous and mind numbing that really didn’t get the blood flowing. Maybe if a prince was there or a zouker, or both, or both in one! 

Watching all that “dancing” I strongly felt like screaming: ‘W W W DOT LATINDANCE DOT COM DOT AU PEOPLE!’

I kept having these daydreams (even though it was night) about a dancer, appearing out of nowhere, seeing me, noticing I was a dancer, as I would have noticed him, sweeping me off my feet, gone with the wind style, and dancing zouk to the dance music, leaving everyone around us drooling and seriously compromised, saying: 

‘What is that? Should I stay and find out? Should I go to the bathroom to sort out this problem right now?’

As no­ one learnt how to dance and no zouker showed up disguised as a pretty prince, I just enjoyed the rest of the night observing people.

Couldn’t help myself, I did keep picturing what kind of moves this or that couple could pull on the bedroom. It wasn’t such a masterpiece, to be honest. I was laughing at it. 

I really felt part of an elite:

43 Orble Votes

Boogie Bachata

I just came back from a week of holidaying in New Zealand. It was great! Being there, I was trying to take time apart from the only two addictions that I have in life: Latin dancing and my mobile phone (this one, only recently developed). 

The withdrawal effects were really soon noticeable, especially my dependence on dancing.

I was based in Christchurch, the third largest city in New Zealand, so I went out night hopping to find… people. 

There weren’t many except on New Year’s Eve. What we did find though was a nice little night club that played 70’s to 90’s songs that are nice to Boogie to. Their decorations were fun, with a lighted floor and an old VW Kombi as the DJ box.

So there I was, using the bit of dancing energy that I accumulated over the past few days of absolutely no Bachata, no Zouk and no Salsa.

What was really nice to see though (and here comes the Bachata part of the story) was when I arrived the second time at the Boogie’s night club and find a couple dancing Bachata to the old songs. 

They were actually doing the dance that fit better with the rhythm of the song then they danced Cha-Cha, Salsa and then some more Bachata.

 It is funny how some people just do not realise they are not supposed to do something and simply do it anyway. It is how great inventions come about, how dreams become reality and how genius minds work. Amazing… Those two were having so much fun just dancing what felt good with the songs, and it worked! 

I couldn’t feel envious. Had I found someone to do exactly the same with me I would have done it for sure!

It is like Bachatango. People sometimes feel that there is not much else to be invented and there comes someone that never felt that way and just do it. Mixing Bachata with tango was a brilliant idea.

I know, I know, I was told that knowing a bit about Bachatango doesn’t give me the right to go to the tango clubs and think I’m dancing tango. Apparently the deed was done by the Bachata geniuses… so the tango dancers seem to be a bit unhappy about the arrangement, as they say it isn’t proper tango.

All I care about is having fun, and that this is still a new style that is fun, beautiful, daring and pleasant. I’ve done a workshop and liked it a lot, almost feeling like an Argentinean Tango Dancer, I’ve put my nose up, got on my toes, drawn crosses with my legs and pretended I was the best. I have no idea what it looked like, all I know is that it was great.

I love new creations, new ideas, and people that think outside the box. 

Another great example is the Bachata Moderna. Suddenly someone got out of the lines, the crosses, the squares, the side-to-side and back-to-front and simple went crazy! New things bring life to life and dance to dancing!

So the message is for this New Year is: try new things! Have fun! It doesn’t matter where or how… Do what your heart sings to you. Even if it is dancing cha-cha-cha to Mama-mia! Go Boogie!

Sydney by the Moon

I just found out I have a broken arm. So I went looking for things I had already written to publish.

As a one-hand-typist I’m an excellent dancer… I found this text I wrote a few years ago. Here it is: 

“There are hundreds of things to do in Sydney, and I’ve done most of them.

Aquariums, going to the top of the list, to all the marvellous beaches, the Maritime Museum, the 3D Cinema…
Yet, I decided to do something a few people would have thought to. Few people meaning “the blessed ones that dance”. 

It all came to my mind during one of my lonely night walks. I was going back home from Woolloomooloo to Balgowlah, a long and magical way that includes a walk through the park, a ferry ride and a bus trip.
Just as I entered Hyde Park , with my CD-player banging music in my ears ­ I was stunned by the sight of the rounded water fountain that has a level grass circle and an amphitheatre around it. 

What had let me in awe was the perfect background, the sight of the cathedral all illuminated, the warm weather, the loneliness of the park.
It was then that the idea stuck in my mind and I knew it would not go away until I made it come true. I dreamt about it the whole night. 

In the morning it was the first thing on my mind, and the idea guided me during my daily tasks: getting changed I chose a pair of soft black pants, stretchy black tops, old black socks. The shoes didn’t matter; I would take them off.

I made sure I didn’t forget my CD player, the same CD I was listening to the day before, something to attach the CD player onto my body. 

Then I was ready; the difficult thing would be to wait until the night time. I worked as someone with the mind on the moon. Every chance I had during the day, I used to listen to the same music. Over and over again.
And finally I could go home. 

It was as if some god had blessed my idea.

I was gifted with a round, perfect, yellowish and big full moon, just above the cathedral.

As I got to the fountain I set my backpack on the steps, took my shoes off.

Then, I looked around me, to make sure that I was alone.

Next, I put my CD player and chose that music, I strapped my player onto my torso, with a tight belt bag. Then I danced. I left my body follow the rhythm, the drums, the voices, every and each sound. I drank of the liberty, I let my soul be filled with the beauty of the place, and delivered my movements to the universe.

I was one with Sydney, with its air, its lights, it’s night.

In this blessed place, the one city in the world I can say I love with all my heart.”

22 Orble Votes

Confession of Love

Tais, Tania, Juliana and Marcia having fun dancing the CanCan at Ana’s Birthday Party

Sometimes I feel like an idiot, because every time I dance I’m smiling the whole time. I’m sure it will be a bit of a problem because Latin Dancing as it is, is already all sexy and stuff, the guys that don’t know me will think its all about them! Well nothing I can do about it.

I’ve been like this my whole life, while my teenage friends were all worried about boys I was running from one ballet school to another and worried to remember the steps from the choreo practice from the day before.

I’m Brazilian but never danced any of the Latin styles while in Brazil, only one Samba on ballet points dressed in a sack written “Café do Brasil”, I’m sure this doesn’t count.

My long dancing career at that time was comprised of classical and contemporary styles. Even then, I was already like today: totally and completely addicted to dancing.

But as a teenager I didn’t know I wouldn’t live forever and especially, I thought dancing was mine for the keep.

Not a reality by the way, before I re­started dancing here I had to stop for 6 years, lots of things happened, work related and personal issues, during this time I came to Australia and worked really hard for a Permanent Visa. Several times I would wake up in the middle of the night crying, tears running down my cheeks because I dreamt I was dancing, I was on stage, I could do the splits or seven pirouettes without effort. Not dancing was my cross to bear all those years.

Now, I am much more aware of how precious is a dance, and having had a sense of the fragility of life, and how one day you may be able to do something next day it may be out of reach for whatever reason, I enjoy every single dance that happens upon me. And I grin like and idiot!

I just love dancing. I’m talking real Love here, capital L. So much that every turn is like a miracle, every time I get the lead right is like the achievement of my life, every second counts, a dip feels like a blessing and a nice word at the end of the music makes my night or my day. Dancing is my bliss, my heaven, my love… my own, my precious!

To everyone my advice is: enjoy! You are never too good, a move or a choreography is never boring, a class is never slow, a dance is never wasted, not if you really dance for the love of it. Take it all! No mater what, have fun!

30 Orble Votes

The Dancing Bug, the Virus and You 

You might be thinking as all addicts think:

‘Nawww, not me.’

Denying to the end.

Here is the proof you are a Latin Dance Addict, see if you identify yourself with this:

  1. You are singing the songs, even the ones in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Indian, not having a clue what you are saying.
  2. You actually start to like salsa, bachata, merengue, zouk songs just to be listened to, even when you are driving. If you understand what they are saying, as I mostly do, it is even worse! You like the songs even knowing they are the tackiest of the tacky queens!
  3. If you cannot count anymore: you are counting 6 spoons of sugar for a recipe and you probably go: one, two, three, five, six, seven (and you get the impression there is something wrong about adding six spoons and ending with the number seven in your mind, but never mind, you just keep dancing while you cook). 
  4. The kitchen floor shows the results of your steps, the scratches are all over it.
  5. You know by heart all the music that you have in your mp3 player, CDs, Computer, etc.
  6. Worse if you know all the music that are NOT there, and you neeeed to have it, ASAP!
  7. There is no music of any kind that you don’t see yourself dancing …
  8. You may forget to put your clothes on but you will never forget your music player, you would feel naked without music.
  9. You are hooked on YouTube and Facebook, you click “yes, I’m coming” to 123 events on a weekend.
  10. In Facebook you can feel your heartbeat accelerates when a great new event appear online.
  11. On YouTube your “favourites” only have dance videos.
  12. You think that sweating is normal, more than that, it’s sexy.
  13. You collect bruises and show them around, obviously the histories of how they were acquired have to follow. 
  14. You never leave the house without a full change of clothes in your bag, and several pairs of dance shoes, obviously.
  15. When you hear the word “dancing” you think it’s with you, no matter if the talker is actually referring to dancing monkeys or trained fleas.
  16. By the middle of the word “Choreog…” both your hands are up and maybe one (or two) legs! Your smile is ridiculous by the way.
  17. When you are in a choreo, if the song is in English, parts of the lyrics of the song sneak into your vocabulary.
  18. You have THE GROUP, those friends that you met to dance with, from whom you might not know too much but you still know all that you need: they dance like you! And THE GROUP becomes a unit, that goes everywhere together.
  19. If you have been to a congress together, where one of you was found at least 50% of the total group was always found too.
  20. People are considering putting you away, because you listen to music every single spare minute that you have and you act funny as you do (there is no way not to mark the rhythm or move your head on that special beat, or sing, or dance…).
  21. You have visions of dancing in the rain, in the dry, in the park, on the beach, under the moonlight, under the sunlight, maybe under a tree also, or under the earth (the metro halls are specially inspiring), in the hall, at the Townhall, on the stairs (can’t you see a beautiful sequence with people dancing every two steps?) around a swimming pool, near a lake, on a hill, on top of those rocks, the list is limitless… 
  22. If you have thought: “Yep, that’s me” more than twice you are already doomed. You are addicted to dancing. Some say only doing one of these things, or thinking one of these thoughts, would be enough to be considered freakish. Don’t let any shrink put his or her eyes on you; they will commit you for sure! 

You ARE The SHOW, and it MUST go ON!

21 Orble Votes

The Dancing Bug and the Virus

Photo: Jaime Jesus (LDA) & Tania C in Brisbane Brazilian Dance Congress 2008

When I say the word “Addiction” with a capital A, I’m pretty sure you think cocaine, pot, alcohol, smoking.

Well if you are reading this blog, maybe not.

Worse than all those vices there is one that is more than addiction, it is both an attitude and one unescapable fate… it’s a virus. Exactly: Latin dancing.
There is always a carrier. The calamity is huge, because in each school you can find at least one (carrier I mean) locally you can see lots of them on stage at the Sydney Salsa Congress.

It all starts innocently, you don’t know how much of your life is about to be turned upside down, and what is worst: by yourself! You choose the course that is closer to your end of work time, anywhere from 6 to 7:30pm, considering the transit time. Once a week, for no more than 10 weeks. You feel safe and secure that is all about having a bit of fun. It’s during the week; it is not going to disturb your precious weekends.

You start thinking the music is a bit strange but it feels nice, this Latin dancing thing. In 8 weeks, if you are not immune, you are doomed. By then, you would have gone to at least one dance party, you do a workshop and the party starts, you see… all those people, having so much fun, the spins, the movements, you don’t know but that is when the virus gets active in you blood stream.

You cannot precise what is happening to you, your pupils grow bigger, your breathing gets accelerated, you try to not look but simply can’t. The lights are bathing you, the rhythm is making your chest feel like a drum, it’s like you are spinning yourself and you are praying: please ask me to dance (if you are a girl) or, please ask her to dance (if you are a guy and you are talking to yourself).

And if you do… poor you…

Then you are back to the classes and they get started on this tracing thing, such a simple and subtle movement. Not everyone realizes the power behind it, but a proper tracing! The hands that don’t leave the other’s body when you break apart: even the simple ones, through the arms for a turn, can send shivers down anyone’s spine, it doesn’t need to be sexual, it’s simply sexy.

Did you realize how much power dance can give to someone? Most of the guys Latin dancers are not too tall, and yet they appear giants on stage and dance floor. And the girls, all ladies are absolutely wonderful when they dance feeling it from within. People that you wouldn’t notice on the street can make you find them incredible with one single spin ending with a body roll. Can you see it?

If I close my eyes I can see that and much more.

When you move to the second level you want to do two hours of dancing and retake the first level as a revision.

All that craving for some nice tracings and you discover the shines!

So you shine… the power grows in you (as does the virus) and you find out those precious moments where you can do whatever you want. If you find at least one partner that looks you in the eye as you do it, it feels like he or she is really dancing with you, and the world can end with the music, you will be forever hooked to this dancing.

When you go to the third level you forget all about getting home early, you start thinking that weekends are to be enjoyed in full and you browse the internet for the parties and regular venues. If you have kids the babysitter will be grinning for nothing with the hours she is getting.
You start spreading the virus yourself, bringing friends and working colleagues to the classes, and there you go doing the beginners one more time just to do it with this or that friend.
As it wasn’t enough, you discover the new styles, generally people start with Salsa (these dances all have at least one capital letter) and then the floor is opened under their feet when they find out about the others, the happy ones such as Merengue and Cha­Cha, and the sexy, closer ones, as Bachata and Lambada/Zouk.

The “Doomer” is usually a performance course. It is when things turn inescapable, incurable.

The virus is a happy thing in your body, eating away your food and giving you an unexpected burst of energy.

I’ve seen lots of people loosing 10, 12 kilos in some months, myself for example.

By the time the performance gets near, thinking patterns are completely screwed, starting to rehearse at 9:30pm (till 11:30 or more) feels normal by the second week, you see a bright sunny Sunday and instead of imagining a nice day on the beach you simply think: better go early to the beach, carry all my stuff, so I can be early at the rehearsals.

You start meeting partners for training at the most strange hours, lunch breaks are perfect, why would you need to eat? Your days get to be measured by how long you will have to endure before your next dancing.

Everyone at the dance school knows you by name and when you do your bookings they are done by the bunch: level 5, 6 & 7 of salsa, level 2 & 3 bachata, level 1 & 2 for zouk, performance course, that special workshop, its like a shopping list!

Ah (sight) the workshops… all the extra money you earn goes to a special account called: dance. And dance shoes!

When you look in your wardrobe you don’t find any passage to another enchanted witch-world, but you do find seven (SEVEN!!!) pairs of dance shoes! Then you have costumes hanging around the house, masks, ribbons, spears and all sort of funny things. Unexpectedly you have your chance of becoming famous.

We did this choreo where the choreographer decided to paint in gold some half naked guys (they were wearing proper trousers but had nothing on the torso), after that the girls would refer to some in particular as “the golden men”; they found their moment of glory! (So did the girls by the way!)

When you have been to the stage you don’t even blink anymore if your teacher says: let’s rehearse on the holiday Saturday at 7:30pm. You only think: Yey! We can go dancing after that!

You forget all about travelling, spending more than two days off dancing that would have been hell. All you can say is: don’t fight it, you cannot win! During the end of year holidays (fifteen excruciating and long days) all you can think about was: thanks heaven for the choreo training! I will survive!

If you have seen yourself while reading these words I will tell you one thing: good luck!

Or better: “Break a Leg! Merde! Merda!”

21 Orble Votes

Bugs on Stage

Photo: Tania performing The White Swan Suite, from The Swan Lake, in Campinas, SP, Brazil, for Viva Vida Academy of Dance, under the Tutelage of Marina Simões in 1994

Dancing bugs are not exclusive of Latin dancing. Even when dancing by yourself all these things can happen.

What things? Bugs.

I’ve been a ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern dancer for 20 years before starting on the Latin styles here in Australia.

I remember some nice stories, especially from performances; they are where the funniest situations are born. Once we had this group of beginners little girls on their first performance ever dressed as ladybugs (talking about bugs) they were the cutest things, not one over six years old, in red carcasses and funny little antlers fixed by a tiara on their heads. At the beginning of the choreo they had this thing of holding hands two by two and moving their heads.

The bug happened when the antlers of two of the lady bugs got stuck. They did what they were trained to do: dance no matter what, and they did the rest of the choreo stuck to one another, trying to keep the formations: tendu, tendu, passé, pas de bourree.

The public loved it! And they got the chance to do it again.

The teacher unstuck them and they could repeat the presentation without being dragged around one by the other.

Another time it was the shoes, I had this turn ending with a jette, that traditional ballet jump with a split on the air.

I spun with all my might and when the leg came up for the jette, the shoe didn’t like the centrifugal and centripetal forces and went flying all the way to the curtains. I did what I had to do: prayed “I hope I don’t slip when my shoe­-less and stocking-­more foot hits the floor and I don’t end up in a real undesired split!”

I can’t forget about my magic transformation from yellow to beige too.

We had these several choreos one after the other, the public can’t imagine how much you get changed behind the scenery at the backstage.

I always say that if I was a man I would certainly love to dance, you get away with seeing so many interesting things behind the curtains!

We had to get changed in less than 40 seconds. I was already on stage, on my third movement when I had to look down and saw the collant was inside out! Lucky my costume was yellow and the inside was beige, so the contrast wasn’t too bad. But bad enough! 

The champion of the bugs I can remember was about this choreo, it was an intense atmospheric one.

It had a heavy theme that comprised a Jesus on a cross that was to be rescued by two of my friends. This Jesus was wearing the traditional sheet wrapped up on top of the boxers. All was well, we were there dressed as Jesuit monks, with torches under our chins giving that macabre look, the music involving us all with its doomed notes… and the sheet decides for a rebellion and simply falls transforming Jesus in a skinny guy wearing boxers and what looked like pampers halfway to his knees.

All the mood was ruined in one instant and the public started laughing so hard that it got really difficult to continue crawling on the floor! ­You can’t have a good dense mood of a choreo without some people’s parts crawling from under the smoke that the smoke machine is producing – not when you can hear them laughing maniacaly and from under the smoke and no parts coming up.

But as the people say: the show must go on!

Around dancers that had stopped dancing because they had fallen to the floor laughing got under control and continued the dancing, eventually. Around the sounds of HA HA HA from the public, the Jesus sneaked out of stage, around the painful face of the choreographer watching from inside the curtains and the sound of the assistant choreographer banging their head on the wall.

Those can be said to be the longest minutes of your dancing life. You get to the end of the choreo and the applause is the biggest one you ever got. You keep thinking “oh! I’m good!” and you only know the truth when everyone is talking about it later.

The Lesson, from each and all these stories is the same: keep dancing, the show must go on.

23 Orble Votes

The Good Bugs of Dancing 

Photo: Nikko & Tania - Bachata performance at Latin Dance Australia's Monthly Social Party, 2008

Photo: Nikko & Tania – Bachata performance at Latin Dance Australia‘s Monthly Social Party, 2008

Some people think that once they’ve learnt how to dance to an advanced level of any style they will be safe, there won’t be any more bad dances.
You have but to start, to realize how mistaken you are. Bad dances are around the corner, no matter how good you or your partner are, so are the exceptionally good ones. They can appear in an advanced level or the good ones can surprise ones from the complete beginners level. Dancing is a mystical thing; it’s influenced by simply everything, the moon, the stars, the cockroach under the table next to a phobic girl.

Obviously it’s influenced by the music, how you are dressed and the smells. Ah the smells! (Sigh.) There was once a party I was at that I could swear I smelled like pheromones.

The moon? If someone is walking to a party and there is a full moon he or she can get especially inspired. Chemistry, always, the search for a perfect dance is about the right partner… at that moment. 

It happened to me more than once, that you have this amazing dance with that one guy yet and all the times you dance with him later on, it never feels the same. You keep thinking he must have howled to the full moon on that one night. What? You never howled using all the air in your lungs as a werewolf to the full moon? I want to do it every full moon. 

The same way the stars can dictate the bliss we search, at every first accords of a dancing song, they can dictate the complete disaster, or maybe even a half-calamity, the best idea is to laugh about it.
I’m pretty confident with some dance styles — my favourites are bachata and zouk/lambada — but my salsa, is still … getting there: punched in the nose. 

I was dancing with this guy, really good, all about show moves — even got carried around a few times while my mouth emitted these high pitched noises one can’t control when someone does something unexpected. The first thing I learned in my recent career as a social dancer is “don’t get intimidated” the worst that can happen is that he won’t dance with you again. That is what I used to think; now I have changed my “worst”. The worst that can happen is you getting punched in the nose… by his head. 

No big deal, the said nose didn’t break, while he asked: are you all right? I put on my bravest face and found my missing voice: I’m… alll… rite (try to say “right” with your nose blocked and tell me if you have any success!) While two lonely tears ran rebelliously from my eyes. 

Another thing is that I thought I might start considering, was wearing a helmet with wig, now an essential item for zouk courses, especially beginners, for the girls. I know it is always the guys fault, but when I banged my head into another lady’s it wasn’t their heads that went spinning. So I thought: “if they knew all about dancing and how to control the lady they would not need to be in a class, therefore the ideal is for us to wear helmets” and the teacher added: “but we will need a wig on top of it because zouk has to have hair flicking all over the place!”. After all a man that dances zouk without eating hair is not dancing zouk. 

What I consider bad dances are simply about the hands, as I’m still half way to the moon with my salsa, my following abilities can be comprised as missing hands. Don’t you hate when you are half way to a turn and you see his hand just hanging there, and your spinning and dizzy neurones realize: oh! That was for me! I’m turning the wrong way! But its too late, by the end of the turn he is wearing his “you’ve turned the wrong way” face which is a half-smile, usually with half the mouth and eyebrows a bit upper than they should be; and the hand is gone.

Exactly at the moment you’ve decided to offer him your hand. And it then feels like a kid’s game where one hand goes forth when the other’s is being retracted and vice versa. 

But when you are thinking “I’m crap” you have this dance with this special partner, he can be an intermediate level, but so are you, and you just have so much fun dancing together, and he is such a good leader, that there are no missed hands, no wrong turns, the movements are simple but creative, and you see him smiling at you, and even if something is not perfect, it’s still all right, sometimes you even get away from each other because of the layer of sweat, the hands couldn’t hold. When you are finished you keep thinking: What a dance! 

As the Master always says: the Good will always surpass the Bad. So one good dance will keep you going through thousands of average ones and quite a few bad as well. The message is clear: keep dancing!

35 Orble Votes