Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Salsa: Part Deux

I enjoyed my 2 hour workout after work. In celebration of being gainfully employed and just running/sliding/swishing a combined 5.6 miles I headed down to Broad Ripple. The Jazz Kitchen had a nice bench outside and I waited a bit in case my open invitation netted someone. Sadly, no one loves me :-( The weather was perfect so I elected to eat on their covered deck and people watch. I'm in a brand new shirt that I discussed two nights ago. I ready to BE SEEN. This shirt is so stylin' that it's made out of two materials I've never heard of.

The chicken etoufee has a excellent sauce that has an nice afterburn. Not enough to make you reach for the water, but enough to let you know the stuff is good. The two glasses of the house reisling was just right. Between the food, the music, and in good weather the outdoor deck, The Jazz Kitchen is a great place to take a date, sig other, or whomever. Trish, the cool waitress, got her 20% tip :)

Until 10 till 9 there were less than a dozen people there. I wondered if the coming storms were keeping people home. Suddenly people descended upon the entrance. I guessed near 30 people were inside with the ratio well tilted towards the ladies. The dancing instructor couple asked how many of us were newbies and it was most of us.

Before I go any further I must give a description of my physical ability to those who don't know me. Light and graceful have never been words used to describe me. People, upon seeing me, assume I played fullback in high school football. I'm built like a tank and walk like it. Though I'm quiet and stealthy and have snuck up on many a classmate to their surprise. 7 years of marching band also instills a certain power and order into my gait. The fluidic movements of salsa go completely against such conditioning. This was going to be interesting.

Think of it as 8-step movements: 1-2-3-pause-5-6-7-pause. Here's the kicker, steps 2 and 6 aren't steps, but shifts of weight that bring up the heel of your foot up a bit, but that's it. Left foot forward, shift weight, left foot back, pause, right foot back, shift weight, right foot forward, pause. Ladies mirror image the guys so they start right foot back. It's very difficult to unbreak the habit of wanting to take a step or at least having that foot mark time during those weight shifts! Then came side steps followed by the spins. Unless you were in band you'll not understand this comment: these are not turn-to-rights!

We managed to get the basic steps down. I almost got the combinations of basics down. Then three things happened to kill me: one, we started to dance to real music that had an uptempo beat; two, I started dancing with a partner; three, that combined 5.6 miles of exercise I had a few hours earlier let my calf muscles know that salsa was not a good idea at this moment. Both of us were newbies so this was going to be interesting. We can handle the back and forth steps fairly well and I can spin her fairly easily. Her immediately spinning me back was proving to be the hard part. We figured the problem out though. Unlike the first female spin where our hands, my left & her right, are always together as she spins to the right, in my spin she has to toss my hand from her right to left and at some point completely let go as I continue my spin. To make it even more interesting my right hand eventually finds her left hand as my back is to her! For the third spin, she spins to the left this time.

You see where this suddenly gets very complicated, especially if all 3 spins are done in about 7-8 seconds. I've actually given you enough info that you can try this out at home. It is not an impossible skill to learn, but practice is required. The neighbors will think I'm weird again as I do funky moves by the window for practice. I will get the lower body to disconnect from the upper so I have some semblance of grace.

For a first time being completely by myself I had a good time. But after 40 minutes I was bored, not to mention the calves continued to remind me of their complaints. It's a good idea to be there with friends so you can practice or at least laugh at each other. Did I conquer salsa? Hardly, yet I did a good recon and that's valuable info by itself.
If I can get these moves working I may have to go back again by myself. A 3:2 female to male ratio is nice at times.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.