My Addiction to Salsa Dance - The Beginning
It felt like yesterday when I fell crazy in love with Salsa dance. I was breathing, dreaming and living in the colorful world of Salsa. And that was 12 years ago...
In 1999, I stumbled upon this enchanting dance while practicing my swing and ballroom steps at a dance studio in downtown Manhattan. During practice break, a Salsa song came on and I remembered seeing a couple dancing with so much fun! The guy effortlessly led the woman in a whirlwind of spins and dips, and all I saw was big smile on her face and her non-stop giggles. It's just the way they moved together and the connection they shared at that moment...forever changed my life.
Overnight, I signed up for monthly unlimited classes and started my Salsa dance journey. And I have been addicted since then.
First, I took Salsa class everyday. Then I double-stacked the classes. I finished beginner level in a month, attended every Salsa practice at the studio, and completed intermediate level in 3 months. I practiced my shines and steps on the subway platform, in the train, on the sidewalk, in my office, in the bathroom, in the shower, in my dreams.
With only 3 months of Salsa classes under my belt, I attended my first Salsa social at Ballroom on Fifth. Bernard Martinez's Social was the social and playground where all the super Salsa stars honed their skills. Frankie Martinez, Juan Matos, Marcus Nieves, all the Latinos and Latinas were regulars there.
Dressed in my favorite Salsa outfit, I was ready to try out my skills on the dance floor. Surprising, I was being asked to dance almost immediately when I walked in. Was it because of my outfit? Was it because of the way I looked? Or was it just luck that there were an abundant of leaders eager to show me their best moves? Don't know for sure, but I knew 3 months of Salsa classes had given me enough ammunition to jump start my social dancing. I was happy.
Then I saw the way the Latinas moved...
The sway of their hips, the roll of their bodies, the flick of their hairs, the sexiness of their moves, the attitude of their steps, the groove to the music.
That's not what I learned in class, they only taught me 123 567, quick quick slow, quick quick slow.
So I sat for the rest of the night and watch the Latinas danced! And I remember saying this to myself:
"I wanna dance like a Latina one day, just like them!"