Today, May 21st, marks my salsa-versary. 🙂
On this day in 2012, I started salsa lessons, taught by Carlos Gonzalez of MamboPaTi Dance Studios – not only a great dancer, but a great teacher (a rare combo). The rest, as they say, is history.
The dance floor quickly became home for me. My sweaty sanctuary. A place of freedom, friendship, and fun.
A psychic I met once told me that latin dance is a past life (re)connection for me. I was caught off guard by the tears that instantly welled up in my eyes. Truth makes me cry, and while not something I had ever considered before, her words felt true. So perhaps that explains something, but either way, I’m just so grateful to have found it. The joy Latin dance has brought to my life is immeasurable. I think my t-shirt in this picture, dancing with a friend at The Salsa Room in Arlington, says it all.
I “speak” salsa, and bachata, rather fluently. Dance is a language and I love being able to show up on a dance floor – wherever I happen to be – put on my salsa shoes, and let the conversations happen.
I’ve danced in Providence (where I learned), several places in Boston, many clubs and socials in New York City (the BEST), a slew of venues in and around the DC metro DC/MD/VA area, a few spots in Orlando, and Destin, and several really great socials in Tampa. I’ve danced in Philly, in Richmond, VA, a few times in Raleigh, NC, and Charlotte, NC, and in Savannah, GA, twice. I’ve danced three or four times in Burlington, VT, a few times in Knoxville, TN, and the Dominican Republic. And if merengue in a living room in Puerto Rico counts, then add PR to the list. There are many more states, commonwealths, and countries yet to be danced.
Like anything though, it’s not all fun and flow-state.
I’ve fallen more than once on a dance floor. One time my heel got caught in the lace of my other shoe and, thankfully, I landed face first in the lap of someone seated next to the dance floor. It was awkward, but at least he broke my fall. (LOL)
I’ve been stepped on, more than once. I’ve bled after the heel of another woman’s shoe scraped the back of my ankle – ouch. Another time, a man stepped on my foot with hard shoes and it broke my toe — it took months for me to heal. I’ve also been clocked in the nose and the side of my head by a stray elbow or wrist (ladies and gents, *please*, keep the styling tight and close when the dance floor is crowded).
But — after each instance, I brushed myself off, iced my nose, or stayed off my foot long enough for it to heal … and then, I keep on dancing. 🙂
So here’s to celebrating the dance of life — for all it’s beauty, all it’s fun, all it’s foibles, and all it’s fabulousness. Sometimes smooth. Sometimes risky. Sometimes sexy. Sometimes awkward. Sometimes slow. Sometimes fast. Sometimes a bit off balance. Sometimes deliciously in synch. Almost always sweaty – and definitely fun.
Other than the time needed for my foot to heal, I’ve rarely gone more than a few weeks without dancing over these past 6 years. And I’ve never left saying, “I wish I hadn’t come.”
I’m curious, what’s YOUR salsa?