Salsa in Vancouver
Last night was the first time I felt at home in Vancouver since being here- I went to a salsa event with a couple of new friends. I'm definitely out of practice but it was comforting to know that salsa people are salsa people everywhere!
Granted the venue could be better (Evangelical church auditorium?) but it was a fundraising....for some ...person....a salsa dancer...suffering from ....oh I don't know. There was Salsa, Merengue and Bachata music; a not so good salsa instructor and all categories of salsa dancing men and women that you'd run into any Toronto salsa clubs.
Type A- They arrive in the middle of the lesson and languish in the back tables. The women are impeccably dressed for salsa i.e. frilly skirts or jeans with a well ventilated top. The men, very casually dressed in untucked striped shirts and jeans, sit with a bored , lemon faced expression and crack open a smile occasionally but only at Type A women. all of whom they seem to know. They are the serious salsa dancers who come out at least three/four times every week and make their way through all the events around the city. An A type man will only ask you to dance once if you are new to the club, barely tolerate your presence and never ask you again if you are not upto their level. Please don't be offended. Its not personal. You'll know when you see them in action. They are a vision to be revered on the dance floor as they swing and spin Type A women, who in their part seem to be made of jello as they swirl, swoosh and do splits- all the time never losing their partner. They are...as Cindy pointed out...making salsa babies.
Advice: Accept an offer to dance, try and follow, then sit and enjoy the view.
Type B- First on the scene, there for the whole lesson and always asks you for a dance. Be cautious. These are the new eager salsa dancers in the midst of their first month in taking classes. If you happen to be on your third month, you'd soon tire of their awkward leading and their complains that you are not doing it right. They have not learnt the first lesson of Salsa- the women are never wrong if the men know how to lead.
Type C- They are dressed like the Type A guys but they are nicer people. These are the guys you want to learn from and if you are a confident enough woman- ask them for a second dance. They will spin you right, make you look good even if you are counting in your head instead of listening to the beat and best of all- they'll give you tips and repeat steps just so you'll get it. Occasionally they can be a little too intense and come across creepy as they invade, what you thought until that point was, your personal space. But its not intentional- they feel the music and the dance and just want you to trust them to lead you good. Let go, follow, ask questions and dance away.
Type D- Mystery men. They come with a partner, don't really dance often unless they are grabbing their partner's bums but stay till the end for mysterious reasons.
Now ,this is important.
Ladies, pay attention.
There are no datable type men at salsa club. It's not the usual club. If you think you are going to meet a nice guy with shared interest in salsa, forget it. Not that such guys are not at the club with the exact same agenda, but you probably won't run into them. They will be too chicken to ask you to dance and if they do they'll be too busy trying to impress you by dancing to start any meaningful conversation.
Salsa at a club is, as my friend Whitney (the confident super salsa dancer) would say, a 5 minute one night stand (or something like it)- you are completely in tune with your partner for the 5 minutes you are dancing. Only its safer, guiltless and just as exhilarating.
I really should get back to taking classes in the new year though. Its the most fun way you can work up the heart-rate to healthy scale. Go with a friend if its your first time taking lessons.