I might have to do the electric slide at my wedding, because at this rate, it’s the only dance I’m ever going to learn.
Veronica (wisely) figured we needed to get out more, so we treated our otherwise plain Tuesday night like a weekend. Apparently someone on couchsurfing.org found out about a free salsa class in Madrid and started an online discussion. Veronica did a little research to make sure it was legit, and we were off to check it out.
Somewhere between a discussion on how this week couldn’t possible get worse (for her), arguing about which metro exit we needed, and realizing we had no map, I located the street the class was on…then she mentions that the website said that the building was a little sketch, but not to let that put you off.
A few inquisitive looks later and jokes about our fictional Italian guy friends, we stumbled on 21 Calle de Pez, at which I promptly announced (in English and perhaps a little too loudly), “Yeah, it really does look sketch.”
Of course, at this moment, I didn’t realize there was a decent pocket of English speakers there, and the British and German girls in front of me laughed and affirmed my statement. But they also mentioned that they had been there last week and told us how it worked. Then someone else from from couchsurfing came up and started talking to us.
After about 10 minutes, we resolved that the free salsa dancing class was legit, and went in the building. The whole event felt really authentic, despite the small group of foreigners. The small community room we met in was crowded, but full of eager beginners.
It started much like every other intro salsa class I’ve been in (all 2 of them), step forward/back, side to side, and a few other basic steps. I was impressed with myself.
Unfortunately, we went from step 1 to 22 in about five minutes, and I was officially lost. And I remained lost for the following hour. However, my experiences with my four dance partners, most certainly were noteworthy, if only because I was so bad and really had nothing else to focus on (other than my tangled feet of course).
1) Sweet, Single, Spanish, but like 30….
We were literally the last couple to pair up when the instructor gave the order. Maybe that says something about me, like standing at the front of the class to see the instructor while we copy the demonstration, might give me a better idea what I’m doing, but it could also prove to every man in the room that if I had two left feet, I’d be moving up in the world.
He was about 1/3 of a step better than me, but that’s not really saying much. Furthermore, I’m so bad I couldn’t really hold it against him, but I did feel kinda sorry for him. We were both too bad to help each other out.
He kept mumbling little apologizes, and I told him it was fine. I really wanted to comfort the poor guy, but as I found myself scouring my mind for affirming words that would come across appropriately in a colloquial sense, without giving him the wrong idea, I turned up blank.
Then they said switch partners.
2) Ian the Brit.
He also was very lost, although he went to one other dance lesson and remembered quite a bit about last week’s move of the week. And he taught it to me. That helped.
He doesn’t speak Spanish, so despite my obvious flaws on the floor, I think he was okay with it, because he could understand me.
3) The Real Dancer
Very patient. Very good. The thing about salsa (maybe explaining why I find it so hard) is I don’t get how the moves fit into the beats of the music. He counted them all out for me, and made me repeat the parts I kept messing up on.
I actually sort of figured out what I was doing, but as soon as the lesson ended and the music started again, I turned to thank him and he was gone. Poor guy didn’t want to get stuck with me when the real party started.
4) Limp Spaghetti
I eyed Veronica to see if she wanted to go, but she was looking like she was actually enjoying herself. So I waited, until Spaghetti man came for me. There was a decent number of guys hanging around looking for partners, and I didn’t mind dancing while I waited.
I really didn’t get him though. I think he actually knew what he was doing, but did not lead the dance at all. He just kinda moved back and forth like cooked spaghetti and smiled at me when I messed up. To be honest, it was a little weird.
He didn’t mix up his dance at all or talk, which may have been because he didn’t think I spoke Spanish, but it was still awkward. I dance like a stiff stick, and he was like tissue paper in the wind. We musta looked funny.
I finally caught eyes with Veronica and we were out of there, but not before she had to chase off another dance request (probably not coincidence that she got the offer and not me). That was weird too, because I told the guy we had to go, and he looked at me like he didn’t understand. And I know that I absolutely said it right.
So all in all, an interesting night. I actually left thankful that nobody knew me and that the room was somewhat lacking attractive 20-something gentleman. Lesson learned from all this: bring (or at least find) a patient partner when dancing.
Course, I might get to test out my own advice soon, given that tomorrow night is free TANGO…
I promise to start using photos again soon, but I’m having technical issues right now.