“Alright class, welcome to Spanish dancing 101. Today, we’ll be focusing on the basics.”
Pause while counting.
“Okay, we don’t have enough guys for partners, so are their any girls who want to learn lead position?”
Looks for raised hands. Mine shoots up into the air.
“Great, so you girls, come on this side with the guys. Good, now pick your partners.”
My first dancing class was… interesting. And confusing.
We never had a set partner so I got to dance with all the girls at one point or another. It was so much fun!
I remember waiting outside the classroom when I got there early, sitting cross-legged on the floor working on homework or drawing while waiting for the earlier class to finish. The girls would talk in hushed tones, giggling over hot guys and dates and parties. Talking about our “sexy” male instructor (everyone has their own taste apparently).
One day, some girls started gossiping about one of the girls in our class who apparently was a transgendered woman. Honestly, I shrugged it off, she looked like a woman, acted like a woman, so this was really information that did not change my perspective on her. I remember thinking about how much of a big deal they were making out of it. Even if the conversation was curious and speculative rather than malicious, it wasn’t really necessary.
The one memory that stands out was the one time I was dancing with this girl. She was very pretty, had a body that was oo-la-lah! *kisses fingertips. I was so nervous holding her, she had the most sensuous moves… so fluid and effortlessly sexy. I felt like I was holding a mermaid.
I kinda freaked out. I remember calling my brother and saying “it was like dancing with a fish!”
Unkind? Yes. Cuz she wasn’t a fish at all, not like that. Like I said, it was like dancing salsa with someone who’s belly danced, very core central, and…well…sexy.
I still think about her… I wonder what she did after that class, if she still dances.
“Come on, dance with me.”
“Nah, that’s okay.”
“Naw, come on!”
He grabbed my hand and pulled me out of my chair to the “dance floor” wedged between tables and chairs. The karaoke song was playing, and someone was singing to the tune.
To say I was dancing would be an interesting conclusion. It was after I figured that you move your body with the rhythm of the song. It comprised of, shake shoulders, swivel hips, step feet back and forth, and letting the music bring it all together.
But then I started playing with levels. Up, down, swivel, rock, spin swirl, gesture, and smile.
Apparently, I was doing something right, his eyebrows raised, some people nearby “woooo”d rather loudly.
You see, today I was feeling confident. On top of the world. I’d just lost 50 lbs- I need to, believe me- and I was feeling more like that happy girl in high school.
The song finished, and I finally got to sit back down. My roommate of the time, Zee, smiled and praised me while shoving a beer in my direction. I smiled and sipped, waiting for our song to come on, we were somewhere between 20th and forever in line.
Another song came over the speakers, another hopping tune. And, sure enough, that guy was back, a little more slurry than before but just as insistent.
I made a “what can you do” face at Zee as I was dragged back to the dance floor.
“I didn’t know you could dance.” His eyes watched appreciatively as I swayed and danced in place.
My routine became a bit better over time. Intentional rhythm, a step and a gesture, a swivel and a shoulder roll. Can you say…combo?
“Meh, yeah,” I replied, holding my drink in one hand, staring past him and focusing on keeping the rhythm. “Our kind are supposed to be good at dancing, right? Hate to disappoint the stereotype.”
“No, but you’re pretty good.” He smiled, and for a minute, I wondered if he was flirting with me.
Nah, couldn’t be that.
I let the music suck me in, and ride on through me…
“Oh, wow, look at you! You can dance!”
“Nah -breath- it’s nothing special.”
“Nothing special? Girl, I can’t dance, and that, that was awesome!”
I smiled and reached for another glass of wine. I’d been invited to my first house party and, being long past the legal drinking age, I was all in.
Is this what everyone was doing in undergrad? Glad I waited, this is fun!
Dance. Dance. Dance.
I learned that drinking and dancing do go well together, I danced for 5-6 hours straight. I went from wearing 5 layers against the cold to 1 layer from all the exercise.
I danced with people, I danced alone, I danced in circles, I danced in lines and rows. We didn’t care about whether you could dance or not, we just played music and dragged people to the cleared space in the living room. I made new friends and learned how beer is made.
Sipping my wine, I started chatting with my neighbor at the kitchen bar area. After getting past the who/where/what program/which department/what major/future goals -so mature, I know- she commented on my dancing.
“Nah, it isn’t anything. Just move with the rhythm really.”
“You say that- but I can’t dance.”
“What? No, come on.” I grabbed her hand and headed to the living room where the dancers were.
“No, I’m serious, I can’t dance!”
“No problem, just do what I do.”
Step forward, step back, step to the side, back and forth. Add a swivel and a head snap to the left. And the right. And the left.
So I got her to dance.
“See? you can dance!”
“I just did what you were doing.”
“How do you think I learned?”
Time to dance!
I was meeting friends for brunch, and thanks to planning ahead, I’d gotten to the location early. So there I was freezing my butt off, and I was twenty minutes early.
Moving keeps you warm right?
Twenty minutes later, my friend pulls into the parking lot, a bewildered look on his usually serious face. I ambled over and met him at the door of the restaurant.
“Were you dancing? Was that you at the bus stop?”
“Yeeeahhhh,” I grinned like a Cheshire cat.
“Wha- why were you doing that?” he asked, the bewildered look still creasing his face.
“I was cold, and I didn’t want to freeze to death.” I raised an eyebrow. “Got a problem with that?”
“No, why would I. That’s just-” he shook his head “I was pulling in and I saw someone dancing and I thought it was you.”
“In the flesh!”
“What are you guys talking about?” My other friend arrived.
“She was dancing at the bus stop this morning, and I saw her when I pulled in.”
“Ahaha! Nice!” she replied with a laugh.
“Right? That’s what I said!” I hide another smile behind my menu. “Good thing I got my workout in, I want the pancake trio!”
Dance. Prance. Anytime, any place, like singing it makes me happy.
So I won’t be stopping anytime soon.
I’m dancing right now, in my seat. Yup, it’s possible.