Salsa dancing, bring the sexy back!

One of the other things I didn't have in my life growing up pocho was seeing my parents salsa dance. Seems everyone grew up with it. Not me.

I love to dance. I love to dance my way, without rules or boundaries. I think dancing can be liberating, healing, spiritual, sexual, meditative, communal, and fun. Dig in my older posts, you'll see. So, for me the rules and rituals of salsa or any other form dancing that had 'steps' seemed lame, confining and so not fun. "You mean I HAVE to do it THAT way?"

My gf loves to salsa dance. She goes twice a week when possible. She has talked about really practicing with her dance partner and getting into some competition by the end of the year. I knew the day would come when I would have to go with her to a salsa club and watch her dance with her partner and any other man that asked her out for a spin around the dance floor.

Last Friday night we 'practiced' a bit at my house before we would meet up with her friends. I stepped on her toes. I bumped into her. To quote her, "You might be embarrassing." I just couldn't get that basic back-and-forth step that is the root of salsa dancing. back-n-forth, back-n-forth, back-n-forth, spin her, back-n-forth back-n-forth. WHATEVER.

We got to The Granada in Alhambra and fortunately according to her, it wasn't as crowded as it could be. I sat and watched for the first hour how it goes down: good looking guys ask good looking girls to dance, they do their thing, at song's end a good bye and on to the next person, no one buys anyone a drink, no one talks after dancing, they just eyeball and see who they want to dance with next. Thus I saw and felt no sexual tension, very very few smiles, and no attempts to meet anyone new. I thought everyone there was a pro-dancer who just came to practice. On the plus side, no one was doing the back-n-forth, back-n-forth, back-n-forth step I couldn't get. They instead looked like they were all having a yo-yo contest. Everyone just spun around the whole time. Very little eye contact, just spin me round, let me spin you round and on and on. Well I could do that.

When I finally got up to dance with my gf we went to the middle of the floor. I called upon the spirits of Anthony Quinn and all pachucos, I remembered watching 'Grease,' and 'Saturday Night Fever,' and then I busted out. I spun her and myself. We caught our own beat within the beats of Johnny Polanco and I made her smile like I do in private. I mixed kisses on her cheeks and hands as I moved her around me, I touched the back of her knees as I would drop and rise in front of her after a move I can't explain, I stroked her face and neck as I placed her in front of me to swivel like you can't at a Catholic school dance. Together we brought the sexy back to salsa. We had people watching. We made a scene of what this proverbial sexy dance should be: fun, sexy, and experimental with someone you care about.

She was impressed and mentioned that now we should practice in order to compete. Her 'former' dance partner asked me how I learned to spin like that, that he hadn't gotten to that part of the classes that he was taking. I just said "It's all pachucada ese! Be free and do it." What I didn't tell him was the secret ingredient: love makes you float.


la rebelde said...

what a great story! my bro likes to dance salsa and was taking classes for a while. once i went with him to a salsa spot in Albuquerque and everyone was spinning just like you described. it was very intimidating, but fun to watch. good for you for bringing the sexy back!

tacosam said...

Very cool post, and very descriptive. I could picture you guys dancing. My wife is a great salsa dancer, too. Me, I'm a fraud. I can't dance salsa, but I really don't mind. It makes my wife happy when I dance with her, which makes me happy.

On another note, in Oxnard there is the annual Salsa Festival that you may wish to check out some time. You get to dance, watch other dancers, and taste and eat lots of salsa.

cindylu said...

If I have a good (and patient) lead, I think I can dance to anything.

The part of about you being embarrassing made me laugh.

Do you think all the spinning was very showoff-y? And why was everyone so business like?

Pachuco 3000 said...

La Rebelde: Thanks for the kind words. It was intimidating at first, but after watching for so long, I saw no one really cares what you do. They are too into what they are doing.

Tacosam: Great name, second cousin twice removed to Uncle Sam?

YES! we need to keep them happy. Thank you, I will look up that Oxnard thing, sounds fun.

Cindylu: I think the spinning is now just part of it, what you throw into it between the spinning is the flavor you bring and floss, the show off part, but in a good way, that is what you are there for.

tacosam said...

The nickname is Chicano. TacoMex UncleSam USA. A blending of two cultures if you will. Actually, I stole it from an old veterano in the barrio!

Here is the link for the Oxnard Sala Festival:

Keep your feet moving on the dancefloor.