Friday, 9 December 2016

First Impressions: Happy. Attractive. Exciting.

Written in  July 2014

Apologies for the long delay in posting this next entry. I’ve just recovered from a nasty infection. The Irish Salsa Congress was a useful extra incentive to get better as quickly as possible. I can’t believe it’s been going for nine years now!

Over the weekend I chatted to some people who have recently taken up dancing Salsa and it reminded me of when I first discovered it. I had completed my degree and diplomas and had started my job teaching A Level Dance. A friend of mine wanted to go to our local Salsa club. I really wasn’t keen, but as I always like to encourage people to participate in dance, even if it’s not my favourite style, I agreed to go along with her. My lack of enthusiasm was mainly because I thought it would be like Ballroom dancing. My understanding of Ballroom was based on occasionally watching ‘Come Dancing’ on the television when I was younger. To me it just looked like couples gracefully walking around a dance floor in pretty outfits. There didn’t seem to be much skill involved. I thought it looked easy and nothing like the ‘proper’ dancing I was doing (Ballet, Contemporary, Tap and Jazz). So in my mind I was being ‘dragged’ along to this Salsa club.

The first thing that struck me, when I was in the bar adjoining the main room of the club, was the music. My eardrums started to think they were on holiday somewhere warm and exotic. It lifted my mood. Then of course I was confronted with a whole room full of people dancing. And remember, this was several years ago… I had never seen so many men dancing all in one place! It only took a quick observation and analysis to work out that they were definitely not all gay and they were a lot more attractive than Morris men! I was in heaven. Needless to say, I was very interested to stick around and find out more.

Photo by Dee Organ

I thought the dancing looked amazing… fast and sexy. I started asking questions. “Are you professional?” Some of them looked professional to me. “No” was the answer I got. So wow. That was impressive. “Is your routine choreographed?” “No we’re just making it up as we go along.” How could that be possible? It was so fast and two people were moving effortlessly together as if they were one. Now I was really impressed. A year earlier I had written my dissertation on ‘The Notating of Improvised Postmodern Dance’ so I was very familiar with improvisation within the Contemporary dance genre. In comparison, this Salsa dancing was much more complex and exciting.

At this first encounter I made up my mind…                                                           I needed to learn how to dance Salsa.

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