Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Finding my Professor Higgins

I've been really getting into salsa dancing lately thanks to the introduction (of my friend L) to Salsa After Work Mondays at the Taj here in New York City. The place has definitely got a good energy to it.

The first time I stopped by, by myself, I bumped into a meetup group. They were there to take advantage of the open bar and drink specials before the dance lessons. I soon found myself adopted by the meetup group and so I met some great new people, took a lesson and even got asked to take a few spins around the dance floor. I've taken a few salsa lessons here and there over the past few years, but have never really had a chance to practice by dancing regularly, so I'm basically a newbie. The people there are so enthusiastic and genuinely love to dance. It is really not a pickup scene. Each of my dance partners gave lots of encouragement and patiently gave me tips, and some even counted the beats of the music with me to keep proper time. I had a so much fun, but I left before seeing L.

The second time, I arrived late, totally missed the lessons, but it was just as much fun and L was there- though she was tearing up the dance floor most of the time!

Last night was the third time. I made a point to make it early enough for the dance lessons which start around 6:30pm. As we went through the basic steps and then partnered up I quickly realized that I had found myself an experienced dance partner-J. At first, I suspected that he must have been "planted" by someone in the club to help along the lessons. What a great idea- to "plant" some more seasoned male dance partners in the class. That would definitely help things along, because with most partner dances, the man is the one leading the lady and therefore he has his work cut out for him! It's very difficult if the man and woman start off at the same point when taking lessons together. Yes, I'm talking from experience here. In partner dance the man always has to be ahead of the game. So ladies, if you and your man are planning to learn a partner dance, I say that you should send him off for a few dance lessons first before you get started.

After the lessons which consisted of a brief review of basic dance steps and turns, J, my dance partner for most of the evening quickly took me under his tutelage. He gave me tips on my footwork, posture, and hip movements, taught me about the tension between the palms of partners, and how to follow his cues, all the while skillfully moving me around the dance floor. There is something about partner dancing. There is something about a man who knows how to lead a lady with firm control, at the same time paying attention to the other dancers around them, maneuvering around the dance floor and protecting her from any possible collisions.

In the beginning I felt awkward, and unsophisticated like Eliza Doolittle, waiting to be molded into a graceful dancer by my Professor Higgins. And you know what?! By the end of the night, as I danced with others I noticed that I could read my partner's cues a little better. I think that J and I will be having some follow up lessons.

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