Tuesday, 10 November 2015
A long time ago, back in my 'yoof' my sister Jo and I were sent to Latin and Ballroom lessons above the British Legion in South Harrow from about 1980-1983 with Fred and Pauline which I loved. We learned basic Cha Cha, Rhumba and Waltz amongst others and took our exams up to Gold. Then we stopped going, I can't remember why. I would have been about 13yrs old.
My sister says of my reminiscing that the older I get, the better I was, but I did have an aptitude for it and I remember it fondly.
So this year in March, aged 45yrs I finally got the courage to get a few girlfriends together to try out a local Cuban Salsa class.
I was very nervous on our first lesson and my brain was in overload so I made a fair few mistakes. The class consists of an hour beginners, an hour intermediate/advanced and an hour of freestyle club dancing. I threw myself in at the deep end with my usual gusto and I fell in love.....quite literally ;)
It has been the absolute highlight of my year so far.
I long for Monday. The rest of the week is just marking time until I can dance again, unfortunately I can only afford to do one class a week.
It is so addictive and empowering to learn a new skill and the basics I learnt as a child held me in good stead. I am a fast learner and I hope a fairly competent dancer.
Diane said last night how confident I looked on the dance floor and I took that as a huge compliment. She remarked how my confidence has grown and much of that is not down to the lessons but to the generosity of some of the male dance partners who have taken time to teach me.
When I dance I feel completely liberated, I forget everything, I am consumed with joy and all my troubles and stress melt away. We laugh so much every week, it's a great class and it's good for my soul.
There occasions where left and right bamboozle me and my balance fails me. 50% clutz and 50% cancer meds but luckily most of my partners know this and are quite adept at catching me and not letting me spin right off the dance floor.
Some nights are more eventful than others, last night during the advance lesson my partner managed to grab my boob instead of my shoulder during a turn which caused a lot of laughter and teasing.
He was so embarrassed but you just have to laugh it off. These things happen......it was my real one as well......he's the first man to get that close to my boobs apart from my plastic surgeon in 5 yrs!!!!
Then dancing with another partner throwing in a complicated move I wasn't expecting resulted to an elbow in the face, BAM right under my eye on my cheekbone. I barely missed a step but boy it hurt, I was convinced I'd have a shiner today but I was ok.
There have been various clothing malfunctions men getting caught up in my sleeves etc and I often come home with a bruise or two. I've even been known to stand on my own feet and sometimes my poor knees hurt so much the next day but it is all worth it.
You have to get used to dancing with all sorts including some you'd rather not. Sometimes it is just hard to follow their lead, on rare occasions there has been inappropriate behaviour, yes we are talking salsa boners and they needed putting in their place, that person has now left thank goodness.
You have to get used to getting up close and personal which involves sweat and personal hygiene can sometimes be an issue but you have to take the rough with the smooth. I have my favourite partners
of course, I'm sure we all do, ones where it just flows naturally. Any one who knows little miss OCD will know what a challenge that can all be but it's totally worth it.
Thank God for antibacterial gel!
The class dynamic is a bit like being at High School again. You have the clique, the second tier, the loners.
It sounds a bit princessy but I have never had any trouble making new friends despite more often than not feeling quite shy, insecure and out of my depth but I blag it well because I am sarcastic and gobby. I already have a new nickname 'trouble' but I am an introverted extrovert.
I have made lots of lovely friends, the kind that you just click with and know are here to stay and others that are harder work and you just have to accept that they smile to your face but their actions speak louder than their words. At the end of the day that is their problem and I am learning not to take it on board. If you have to try that hard then it is not meant to be.
All in all I love my life and love to dance and I dance from my heart.