WHEN I think of Salsa dancing I envision the fabulous dance scene in Grease with John Travolta gyrating with a hot Latina lady. Not a dance I thought I’d ever be able to master. However, if you find the right teacher, which I have, it can be simple, super fun and very, very good for the figure and far more appealing than working out at a gym.
A friend of mine started taking lessons a few years back but I didn’t really think it was my thing, although I had ballroom and Latin-American dancing lessons for many years as a child. I had been taken with learning to dance mainly because of a bronze statue I saw being presented when I was a toddler; I had wanted one.
Ironically the year I passed the final exams at the age of 14 or 15 was the year they stopped awarding the statues. My dad bought me a limited-edition painting of a ballet dancer in compensation, but I hadn’t done ballet! A huge disappointment and probably the last time I danced ‘properly’.
Salsa was not one of the dances I had learnt and I was quite nervous to start as I’m quite clumsy with my feet. Happily, I soon realised that although I don’t remember much about my dance years, my body seems to recall how to hold and position my arms and spin from place to place as if on automatic pilot.
Our teacher Louis is also very patient and doesn’t care if we make mistakes; he just wants us to have fun and not get overwhelmed with the process. His mission is not just to get us dancing by ourselves as quickly as possible by showing us the basic steps, that form basic patterns that once put together have us dancing, but for us to enjoy every moment of the process.
As I understand it the male role in the dance is far more demanding than for us ladies as they really do have to lead for the whole thing to work. The man has to keep to the specific beat of the music, whilst planning which moves and turns to incorporate whilst guiding their partner with all types of gentle hand pushes, arm positions and side steps, all the while doing the dance steps themselves. Perhaps this is why apparently there are fewer men than women that take up Salsa lol.
Even so, with regular classes or at least a few private sessions with a good instructor it can open up a whole world of dancing and socialising and a great way to shake our booty into shape and boost our stamina.
I’m so very grateful to Ankie for getting me involved in her lessons when someone dropped out. I really wouldn’t have gone otherwise and I do feel like I’m very much in my ‘salsa’.
(PS. ‘Estar en su salsa’ is a Spanish saying which literally translates ‘to be in your sauce’, but means ‘to be in one’s element’).
Nicole King’s opinions are her own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.