A space to reflect on my readings and musings, scattered and rescattered


I'm not dizzy but my head is spinning...

Before I forget, let me tell you about my super freaking awesome day yesterday. What did it involve? Oh, yes, the obvious. Salsa! My Sunday's are neighborhood-based loveliness in my sweet little dance studio that is by week an actual hair salon. I started taking a private salsa class at 11:00am on Sundays, because I felt like I wasn't progressing in a few areas during my group class. Some things are hard to get right when you're only dance partners are friends who are learning to dance themselves. So an hour to dance with the instructor (whose prices are insanely low) has seemed like a good investment. And it's paying off. I am learning to spin like, I dunno, like a top. It's mad cool. I think she spun me at least 5 times in a row yesterday though it might have been more--it was a little blurry. Sometimes I like to kid myself that the whole spinning in salsa thing is like fighter pilot training, because I am less and less prone to getting dizzy. This is a huge benefit when you come from an ilk of women with vertigo (inner ear-related dizziness issues). Not sexy, I know. But mad cool to be fighting off the dizzy bug.

Anyway, I'm gaining some confidence in this dance thing. This doesn't mean that I don't mess up on a regular basis. Believe me, I do. It just means that I am gaining some speed and grace. I am also learning to "follow," a word I still shy away from given my feminist predilections. Nonetheless, following is a tough skill. To learn subtle signals--signals that are given in ways I'm not used to reading and responding to in quite such structured ways. A glance. A hand on my shoulder or raised in the air or on the small of my back. A "whip" signal in one direction or another that somehow says "spin" and barely leads the spinning. A foot moved forward to pull me into step after a dizzying triple spin. A forearm on the neck to tell me to duck. It's beautiful and amazing. To attain fluidity while improvising--or more accurately, following someone else's improvising--is pretty freaking cool.

I offer this "progress note" on my salsa obsession because something mad cool happened on Sunday. In the middle of our dance class together Omaira (my instructor) asked me if I had any interest in joining her dance team. I guess she's been leading up to it for a couple of weeks now, because she's been passing along compliments from others about "how much I'm improving." Yet those praises have at times been tied to "back when you used to trip over your feet" so I didn't think too much of them. Also I shy away from compliments on things like this, as we know. I just giggled and thought "okay, so I don't completely suck anymore." I'd also noticed that I was happy to dance with some guys [from her crew] who are far better than me and not freak out. I just danced and, when I messed up, we laughed, kept going and tried the turn pattern again. There have been a few other changes that are not so subtle. Like I yell back (even more aggressively) at my learning friend who likes to "correct mistakes" and tells me kind of obnoxiously when I've done something wrong. I say, "let's try it again" and "it would help if YOU did this to LEAD ME BETTER." I'm not bitter, really.

I feel like this blog is all over the place but it's merely a draft, I suppose. I have to finish documenting the dance team story, if only for myself. I didn't immediately accept Omaira's invitation--even though I'd been secretly coveting one for weeks--as I was afraid I wouldn't be in town for all of the performances over the summer. I'm hoping to be in Central America (where they dance salsa On1 not On2) for most of it. Mind you, these are just student performances meant to promote her studio. Nonetheless, I didn't want her to invest in training me and let her down. By the end of our group class together later that day, she'd decided that my travel plans wouldn't interfere too much and that I should join.


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