Monday, May 09, 2005

Salsa Pt. 3

i went to the afri-salsa class on saturday. this time, there were only like twelve people in the class. my mom also joined me this time. i had a blast!

the moves became a little more complicated this time, as we got reacquainted with the turn and then learned how to change direction so that we were facing our partner from the opposite direction. there were four guys in the class this time around, and only one of the guys was from a previous class. in addition there was one first time participant and two experts there.

my first partner was my mom. i had to lead, but she kept trying to lead, so the instructor paired her up with someone else, so i ended up with this older guy. he was hispanic with smooth, olive skin and salt and pepper hair. he was also shorter than me and a little round. looking at him you would think a brotha didn't have the moves. however, he was friggin amazing. he was twirling me around in no time and i felt like a professional dancer with him. i just followed his lead.

you know, it's difficult for me to let someone else lead. i think it's because i'm so used to running things. being in this class has been a humbling experience because on the dance floor, the woman has to let the man lead her into her steps. this mean finding the perfect balance between letting him lead and being too pliant for him to guide me. out of everything, that was the one thing the two expert dancers kept trying to tell me. i had to keep my arm strong enough to be able to accept his guidance but not too strong that i was fighting against the guidance.

i think that applies to life, too. i've gotta find that middle ground where my pride doesn't get in the way of me learning from others. this year i made the resolution of listening more to people instead of just talking. i've been making the conscious effort to just shut da hell up for a moment and invite a person to just talk to me. it's hard because i always have an opinion about something and my mind is constantly jumping to respond to something that's being said during a conversation. however, i've come to appreciate the silence of just listening to someone else speak.

it's funny how the rules of a dance are applicable to life in that way. i've always been a tomboy, so i've always been around guys. i think i'm more in touch with my masculine side than i am with my feminine side because being such a large sports fan and playing sports has placed me in situations where most of the time i'm the only female in the room. that's when i downplay my femininity because i don't want the guys to look at me only as a female. i want them to see me just a person who enjoys talking about sports. whenever i get feminine on my guy friends, all they see is the boobs and ass. one time i made the mistake of going to a friends house to watch a football game wearing a mini-skirt. then i became that girl with the nice legs who talks about sports. i HATED that.

so i think the greatest gift i've received since taking up salsa is regaining my femininity. i actually love the idea of a brotha leading and me following. i think it makes me more vulnerable in that i'm opening myself up to someone else's influence and i have to trust he will protect me. i think salsa will actually help me to relinquish the controls a little more and trust other folks will be just as capable of doing the job right. i can also be comfortable with being a woman and using my unique gifts as a woman to complete the dance.

so i can be a sports loving, salsa dancing female and be aiight with it.