Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Saturday Social: One Heck of a Salsa Party!

I hate it when life gets in the way… I'm more than a week behind! So, this Saturday outing was actually the last Saturday in April.

Captain and I decided to head out for a new-to-me studio for a party that was actually being held by a dance company renting the space. Unfortunately I neglected to get this group's information at the time…but I'll keep an eye out because this group was a lot of fun! They put on one heck of a Latin party. I was certainly hoping for a good night, after my last lesson my confidence was a bit shot.

We arrived at the posted time, but as it turned out the party actually didn't start for an hour, (some kind of web snafu) so we made ourselves busy at the restaurant across the street, and dilly dallied in the studio while they set up. The space was nice, very much an urban loft style and for a studio had the fewest mirrors I'd ever seen! It was a warm and inviting atmosphere with rope lights around the pillars giving off a very candle like glow. As the Salsa music was going strong we took our spots on the edge of the dance floor.

The both of us were asked to dance early on, and we both realized this was predominantly not a style of Salsa that we're used to. First, most of the leads, as kind and cute as they were, would lead Salsa On2 (meaning that first step doesn't happen until the second beat of the measure, something I have yet to figure out). Captain being a much stronger follow than myself can dance On2, but prefers On1…whereas my whole world begins on the first beat. Thankfully the members of this Dance company understood and obliged our On1 preference. Second, these leads were pulling spins and direction changes from places I didn't know existed! By the end of my second dance I knew I was in way over my head, and tried to make an effort to study what I was seeing and attempt to shut off my brain and follow. That produced mixed results (I later learned that this troupe dances almost exclusively choreographed dances which lends itself to being hard to follow...that makes me feel better).

I did get asked to Cha Cha a few times as well, the first with one of the lead members of this dance company, I tell you Social Cha Cha is NOT Ballroom Cha Cha! This lead included Shines, and steps that are generally reserved for Salsa, difficult to follow for sure. Second was a lead that admitted up front that his Cha Cha wasn't his strongest dance, but his basic was strong! He said to me at one point "If there's something you want to do just back lead me into it!" Which was very kind of him to say...first time a lead has ever said that to me, but of course my mind went blank on how to start anything!!! This basic did allow me to use more of the Ballroom style, like checking (putting one foot directly behind the other) for forward and back and I even felt ok with a little arm styling... which those that have seen me dance know I typically lack. Sure the principals are the same for the social Cha but the music doesn't let you get a good "Cha Cha Cha"! If you ask me the "Cha Cha Cha" is the best part of the basic in this dance, how can you not allow time for it!

There were some salseros, and social dancers that were good leads and some of the pairings were just fantastic to watch! One lead in particular had me going for two full songs…fast ones… he was thankfully an On1 with familiar technique..but still...I just about died before the end (these were some of the longest salsas EVER they must have averaged five full minutes!)

We danced a lot more than at most parties we attend, but there were two gents on the floor that had a lot more lasting power than did the Captain or myself. They just kept dancing! It was quite an inspiration for me. Here I am nearing 30 years old and these two, easily twice my age, were burning the floor with nearly every dance! That's the kind of thing that stays with me. I hope to have half that energy as I age.

It was a great night, we left with the definite intention of returning! Whew! Just what I needed!

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