I had a great salsa class tonight! I mean, a really good class! I usually take the class on Mondays, because remember I was following my class crush. I am over him now and I did not end up going this past Monday, so I dropped in on tonight's class as a makeup. The class starts later than my usual session, so it is a bit of a different atmosphere. Of four classes in the series, tonight was the third. Let me preface by saying, I did not feel like coming to class tonight. I was going to cancel, come home and go to bed. But, I did not want to switch classes on them twice in a row, so I went.
The class I am taking now is called Hot Chips and Salsa. It is the next level after you have taken the introductory class. There are two HCS classes. Although there is no specific order to take them, you must take them both to proceed to the next level. This means, you could be taking the class with someone who has already taken their first class or a newbie. My Monday class seems to have more newbies, but this class I took tonight, was a bit more polished. Even my arch dancing nemesis (we'll call him Ned) was not so bad tonight. And that's saying a lot! But it was on my way home that I finally understood the whole salsa process a little better and it's direct correlation to my dating life.
Salsa is quite simple at it's heart. There is a 'Lead' and a 'Follow'. The lead, is the guy and the follow is the girl. When I first started the class, it was hard for me to follow. If the teacher gave instructions on what combination to perform, I would anticipate the next move (whether he wanted to do it or not) and dictate the step. In salsa, however, this is completely wrong. Whatever the lead decides to do, is up to him and the follow should follow his lead every step of the way. I really struggled in this department. So much so, I soon had to close my eyes or look straight ahead and not at the leads feet while dancing. I stopped paying attention to what the teacher said, and let the lead learn it. After all, whether he got it or not, I have to follow his lead.
In dating, I have also taken on the lead role in error. Scheduling dates, picking out the place, making reservations, calling as much as I wanted to, etc. But lately, as in my dating situation now, I just go with the flow. Although I would love to have my friend take me on a night out on the town, I just keep doing my 'basic' step until he gives me the signal he wants to switch things up. I used to be the girl who initiated all communication, saying out loud, everything that was on my mind. Communicating all feelings, with no regard TO my feelings, a total misstep.
In salsa there are a lot of turns and twists. As it is a partnered, there is hand holding throughout the dance. But there can be a disconnect while your partner is turning or spinning you. At first I would try to meet my partners hand so that we could reconnect. I literally put my hand in his, forcing the connection. But as my teacher (she's my favorite partner, because that's where you get the best one-on-one instruction) tells me all the time, and tonight even: 'don't make it easy for him. Let him find you.' Also, when my teacher, (a woman acting as a lead) who is no taller than 5'2", first turned me, my instinct was to duck under the arm. But she instructed against that. You are always supposed to stand tall, shoulders back. There should be no slouching. The lead must find a way to turn you over your head. You do not bow to make it easier for him, he MUST figure out how to spin you without messing up your hair. His lack of height is not your problem. In dating, there have been times when I have lowered my standards, to better accommodate my partner. I have shrunk, to help him. I have bent at the knee, to avoid a collision, because he wasn't tall enough for me (metaphorically speaking). Now when I dance, my goal is to just be there and let the lead get us to our next move, all while never skipping a beat. My feet stay in constant motion until we are both in sync.
Due to a lack of leads, we dance with partners in a circle, until the teacher says 'switch', then you move on to the next. And that is my final lesson tonight. If you don't like the lead's style, moves, actions or signals, if his turns are sloppy or you always end up compromising to get him on point or if you just don't feel comfortable with him for whatever reason, there is always a way out. Whether you have to dance alone for a little while and wait your turn to be partnered again or you move on immediately to the next, I find comfort knowing I can keep it moving...while effortlessly looking good no less.