Dancing

Mar. 23rd, 2015 09:52 pm
helbling: (vampire)
[personal profile] helbling
Oh dear. Think I may be hooked on Salsa. Whoops.

It's not a form of exercise, not really. I was never breathing hard, by heart rate never really rose. But it's interesting.

I thought it wouldn't be at first. I got there when the doors opened, ended up being third in and then sat in a corner people watching and wondering WTF I was doing.

People there fell into three groups.

The middle age to late middle age couples strode in, threw their arms around each other, kissed cheeks and then asked how the curtain rail hanging had gone, stood in an odd hodge podge with just enough personal space between each adult that you got the impression they were used to children running between them and making room for them was now automatic.

The women trickled in to huddle in corners in colourful groups, talking noisily. There was apparently a uniform that they lied about on the website - tight jeans, sparkly top, high heels that are as glittery as you can make them. Me in my dark blue work dress with flat gold ballet pumps (in line with the recommendation we wear flat shoes) felt out of place.

The men rolled in in defensive packs. There were a surprisingly large amount of them. From the backslaps and punching each other on the arm, apparently this is considered a manly thing.

I confess, I was surprised.

Then the beginners were shuffled into a different room, and we went through the basics.

I did salsa for about 3 months, once upon a time in college. It was all girls, so, naturally, I danced the boy section and never really cared. This was different. The bit that makes it interesting is the communication. All that arm waving between the couple is actually them talking. If you were going through an entirely preprepared routine, their arms would remain entirely still.

There is a way you hold your arms, your wrists your hands. You should never close your hand, your thumb should never come into contact with your partner or your own fingers - your hand should hook, not grasp. And then depending on how your partner moves your hands, that indicates the move you're about to go into. And you don't tell them 2 or 3 move ahead so they have warning, oh no. You do it as you're starting the move. Like, literally, the second you go into it.

If you're not on the ball, toes get crushed, walls get run into, it's all a horrible mess. A lot harder mentallty than anticipated.

A slight pressure back is a step back. If it's followed by a pull, that means forward and back. A semi circle with your right hand means open step. A movement out to the side is rumba. Side motion with side step means half turn wrap. Let go of one hand means a switch positions step change. I'm sure there are huge numbers more, but this was a beginner's class, even if some people have been there months.

Incidentally, yes, I am already wondering if this has combat or practical LARP applications. More thought required.

Only, naturally, because I'm me, I couldn't help but work out how to hack it. I despise Vivienne in DA:I as a character, but she has an attitude or two I can get behind. 'A leash can be pulled from either end' is one of them.

Turns out, you can lead from either side, even if they don't realise you are.

Tangle your fingers in theirs at the top of the twist means it's not possible for the man to wrap you twice in a row, instead falling into a simple forward-back to recover their grip. A slight forward motion as you change steps, as if you've stumbled but hit it spectacularly well, and they'll likely drop back to a back step to get distance. Step confidently out to the side in a rumba and they'll panic, think they've accidentally indicated to you that's what was about to happen, and end up following your lead.

Sorry guys - contrary to what the instructor has told you, there are women who know exactly where and what they want to do on the dance floor, and they will use you to get there. I am one of them, turns out.

Picked most up from an older gent - judging from the lime green paisley neckerchief, I'm presuming his male partner was present somewhere, but he seemed to know everything, despite occupying a spot in the beginner's room, rather than moving on up. You get at least one whereever you go - someone who'd prefer to be the big fish in a small pond than push themselves. He was interesting and taught me things though, so frankly no judging - whatever makes him happy.

Will go again, I think. Will wear the uniform next time. And see exactly how much more of this I can pick up.
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