Salsa Dance Sharing

My First Time (Reuben 26-May-2007)

……on a salsa dancefloor! What were you thinking, you sicko?? Well after much coaxing from the tigress, Jeamie, and some added pressure from a few other notable sources, I finally hit the dance floor in Red Bar, for salsa. I did spend the first 45 minutes or so in the club sitting and watching Fai and Terence dance, thinking how I was totally never gonna be able to pull that off. Not really the best confidence booster I must say. As it is a couple of days earlier, Jeamie put up a post about Tim taking 6 months before his first dance. And here I was thinking, and I made it known to Jeamie, if Tim took 6 months I’m definitely gonna need a year. But a couple of drinks and some wise words from Arina later (She pointed that the club was so empty and no one was gonna be paying attention, so let’s just go make fools of ourselves. She can be a great pillar of strength I tell ya, heheh ) , I decided to let Jeamie pull me to the floor.

Now I think as most guys who faced Jeamie on the floor for the first time can attest, holding her hand seems to hit you with a feeblemind spell, my mind totally went blank. All the moves I thought I new well enough were wiped clean from my brain. I couldn’t even remember how to sequence and underarm turn into a CBL. It was a bundle of nerves, sweaty hands and jelly legs. But I tried to do whatever I could, with a whole lot of lulls doing front-back basic while I gathered my thoughts and wits, and came out alive, traumatized but alive!!!! Now despite whatever Jeamie might say (she is a PR person after all, so I don’t fully trust her), here is my self-review. It was bad!! Just bad!! Some of my most glaring errors:

1. My hands kept slipping off during twirls.
2. The afore-mentioned mind blank of moves.
3. My recovery speed was severely hampered by

a. Lack of sleep (blame the champs league final that finished at 5 am)
b. A bit of alcohol
c. My plain incompetence
d. All of the above (RIGHT ANSWER)

4. I think I might have actually bumped heads with my wild flailing hands and stepped on toes. My humblest apologies to my unlucky partners

I think I might have actually bumped heads with my wild flailing hands and stepped on toes. My humblest apologies to my unlucky partners
Oh I’m sure there were more bumbles that what I mentioned here but I shall leave it for now. But it did feel very relieving to get it over and done with. Yes I still need a LOT of practice, but surviving the floor did give me some renewed determination to continue with classes and (MAYBE) more salsa clubbing. Oh don’t get me wrong; surviving an empty Red Bar is worlds apart from surviving let’s say, Salsa Havana or some other club that will be more packed with better dances. We practically had to whole place to ourselves in Red Bar, which made it easier to totally make a fool of myself. But yea….

Oh, I think I have to say, a good dose of alcohol (Dutch courage as Tim puts it) is a great help. The trick is to hit that sweet spot where you have had a few drinks to limber yourself up, but not too much that you lose control of your body. Just an observation. HAHA

Well ok, so I survived my baptism of fire. Now I need to cook up a fresh batch of excuses to avoid Salsa clubs for the next few weeks. Oh hell, then again, it’s time to train. Bring on MSF!!!!

Oh ok, quick shout out to the Tuesday ladies who showed up after only 2 (?) classes. I didn’t dance with them, but with what little energy I had that night (not to mention self confidence), I felt that I owed my classmates the first few dances, and injuries. But it did highlight our problem: we have not enough men!!! Without the intermediates, we are in dire straits. Jeamie is already complaining about the lack of eye candy for herself, and we need more man (literally) power. Or maybe good doses of power root???

Till my next foray onto the floor then.

Where R U With Salsa? (Nim 9-May-2007)

To many, once you salsa, you get addicted and there’s no turning back. Kind of like falling in love I think. So here is my version of the phases of love with salsa. Kindly let me know if you agree, and if you do, which phase you are in!

1st Date
The first date is a tricky one. Sometimes you’re forced to go. Other times you just want to try something different. Most of the times, you’ve heard about it and wanted to check it out for yourself. At this stage, you’re still forming your opinion so Ms(or Mr) Salsa is still a vaguely shapeless entity you’re not sure you’re into. But if you definitely not into, you’ll know at this stage too and stop here.

Casual Dating

If you decided to go on a second date, that means you ‘sort of’ like what you tried. But you can still live without salsa just yet ;P. You are not in love enough to miss it. And fairly confident it’s nothing more than an evening fling you can live without. This period may last a few dates or as long as a few years… a platonic relationship that’s slowly but surely developing further. Little do you realize that you are nearing the Event Horizon (in astronomy terms, the point of no return; the line in the Black Hole when no object can escape being sucked in)

The Whirlwind Romance

This is the stage when you’ve fallen hook, line and sinker. You’re intoxicated. Like a whirlwind romance, you can’t get enough of each other. You think about it all the time, start to organize your life around it and can’t imagine not having it. Your salsa antics – if translated to a human relationship – would be like a couple madly in love.

The Stable Couple

The initial passion and excitement of a new relationship has come to an end… and you have now settled into a comfortable, cozy twosome. Your object of desire is now a big & regular part of your life you still can’t live without but now it’s fixed as a routine pattern already. This stage can go on forever, like a couple co-habiting, or can progress to The Married Couple.

The Married Couple

At this point, you’ve decided to live with salsa, for rich or poor, in sickness & in health. It has become so integral to your life that when people remind you how good you are, you go “huh?” having taken for granted how long you’ve devoted yourself to it and how much you’ve grown. Usually this stage are the people who are so devoted they took up teaching, performing, administrating, organizing festivals or some sort of salsa legwork with all its mundane stuff like taking care of the bills etc just like a married couple.

The Married Couple with Kids

Like a Mr & Mrs, you and salsa continue to grow together, still learning something new each day. Only this time, you have to divide time screaming after kids who won’t listen to you ;-P. It can be a tiring job raising kids and the only reward is to see them grow.

Can you relate to that? If so, which stage of the relationship are you at?

My First Time (Fai 20-Dec-2006)

You all did good… and u know it was worth it!!

I felt even worse the first time i went out to a salsa club….

I manage to reject a few ladies including a mexican (pretty hot i must say) lady coz i was so concerned/nervous to dance….

I had the longest front&back basic dance in my life and obviously i also had the mind numbing, bone shaking, spine chilling first time dance with my instructor (Jeamie of course) and the confidence breaking experiance whenever i bump or when my partner bumped into another couple…

The only reason i was on the dance floor was because jeamie was too strong and she manage to drag me to the floor (Damn, u a strong lady!) And after that horrid shocking endevour…. i told myself…. One day…. one day i will be on that dance floor, sweeping her (jeamie lah coz she was my intructor mah) off her feet like those other pro dancers….

Well, the day is still not quite there yet but im still dancing and im still reaching for it…

Trust me, its worth it. = )

Good job all!!

My First Time (Angela Lin 20-Dec-2006)

Terima kasih cikgu Jeamie.

Yes i definitely, totally, deeply agreed and believed that being a female salsa dancer is much funner, you girls were just like a punch of flying butterflies that night….. ^_^…… So i just needed to be relax??? Much more relax i suppose???? Ok Ok Ok, i will try…..

Forgot to thank you, Fai. Thanks for your teaching on that basic bachata steps (was it?). It was nice, man.

My First Time (Laney 20-Dec-2006)

Aiyaya….. What’s a wonderful report from all of your all….
As the first experience dance in front of the public, I just can said it was ‘fresh’ to me……. It really ‘opened my eyes’….I must keep up my efforts to practise…
Tony…. thanks for your compliments but I am not a spy… Actually you dance well on that night…

Jeamie… I’ll try my best to keep my steps smaller..
Fai… thanks to u too coz u guided me to do a nice ending pose…

My First Time (Tony Goh 20-Dec-2006)

I was actually very tension dy when I am driving to Federal. I do wish that the traffic will last forever.

I lost my salsa “virginity” to Angela. It was a very anxious and exciting experience there dancing salsa in a club for my very first time.

When Jeamie pull me out to dance, I got the shock of my life. I had this retro scene in front of me. Suddenly I found myself shrinking back to when I was 7-8 years old size.Here standing in front of me is this gigantic, big eye and fierce looking teacher with sharp pointing spectacles (the one u would find in the 70’s). Worst! she was bending this thick ROTAN! With this kind of scene in front of you,of course I have become this little boy with trembling feet, shaking hand and couldn’t look up at her face. Felt like a puppet n just let her do whatever she wishes la. Huge relieve when finally the puppet master let me go. Phews……… .

After 10 minutes rest, I was back in my present form. Just realise what had just happen. I said to myself. Hey that is not TONY GOH. I made a vow that I am not going to be anyone puppet anymore. From now on, I will eat salsa, drink salsa and sleep salsa. I am going to be well prepared to be tested by teacher anytime.

Dancing with Laney was very enjoyable. She is very good and moves like a Pro. Her body sway just like the others ppls beside us. LANEY, sure you are a beginner or just a spy? Ha Ha Ha.

I was very lucky than you bro. At least I managed to get Yee Yoke to dance with me for 1 minute. Yea ……..

From the field trip, I realise that salsa teaches us respect for each other. For the lady, she need to trust the man to lead them. (oso trust that your man will not send u crashing onto other couples). If, u trust your partner good enuf, you can even dance with your eyes close. Also respect for other couples on the dance floor as well.

Thank you all for a wonderful nite that day. Before I end this I want to ask our “rotan happy wielding” teacher, when we are going to learn the bachata? It look very sensual and romantic.

My First Time (Derek 20-Dec-2006)

So, last Saturday was supposed to be the beginners first field trip to Salsa Havana, conveniently located in Federal Hotel (with all its connotations of seediness and all). Well, convenient seems to be the misnomer of the week, cos I left my humble abode at 9:30, thinking that I will arrive at the pre-arranged time of 10:30 with a lot of time to spare. I was horribly mistaken, as it took me fortybloodyfive minutes to travel down jalan bukit bintang! During that short stint, I got a call from Angela, who was also caught up in that same jam as I was, although she was probbly 4-5 cars down the road in front of me. When I finally got in front of Federal Hotel, I turned in, and started looking for parking. Turns out I either have to use the car jockey service (which I will do my utmost to avoid – have you seen the way they drive your cars??) or park in Low Yat. So, Low Yat it was…

Walking up the escalators, I had no idea where Salsa Havana was, but no worries, there was booming latino music wafting down from somewhere upstairs, so with my ears to guide me, I slowly found myself standing in front of the club. Paid 9 ringgit for a bottle of mineral water (choke, choke, yes NINE ringgit!) and in I went. Angela and Tony were already inside, with two of Tony’s friends. A guy called Champ, and another whom sad to say, I cant remember his name.
Feeling hungry (didnt have time for dinner) I ventured out again and bought a chicken sandwich to go. The fandango that occured at the coffee shop as I was trying to pay for my sandwich, I will leave for another time. Suffice to say, it brings new meaning to the word, incompetant!

Back in the club, with my dinner in tow, I found Tony and Angela at the same place. People were starting to pour in, and I rushed to finish my sandwich so I could get first dibs with Angela, alas, Tony beat me to the punch. Just before I swallowed my last mouthful, Tony lead Angela out to the dance floor.

So I sat back and watched, as they hesitantly found the beat, 123, 567, 123, 567… front basic, back basic, front basic, back basic, 123, 567, 123, 567. (disclaimer: my memory of the night is not 100% complete, due to trauma suffered later on, which I shall elaborte upon shortly) Then Tony (whom I shall assume was leading *smirk* *wink*) started leading into the first non basic move. Cross body lead, spin, guy change hand, windmill, london bridge etc etc. They seemed to be doing ok, so I started gazing around looking at other people. I noticed there was a guy there, rather nerdy looking, thick glasses, goofy teeth, hair out of a bart simpson show, but he could move! For a while I was thinking he looked familiar, but I didnt give it much more thought, as before the song ended, Tony and Angela were back! “Whats wrong?”, I asked, as she was massaging her foot. “Tony step on you ar??”

Apparently, her shoes were a little too high heeled for her to spin and groove, and each time she did, she would get shooting pains up her foot. Oh well, I suggested she rest awhile and try again. Worse come to worst, take off and dance barefeet la!

Ho Ho Ho, whaddya know, the goofy looking guy comes up to me and goes “Derek?” Shit, I knew he looked familiar! I knew him from my rock climbing days! Heres how I remember him ->
Back then, there was this group of us so called “Rock-Rats”. We met up at the climbing gym at least once a week, and outdoors on the weekend. All of us were roughly the same skill and strength, so we would enjoy climbing together and encouraging each other, because we would basically know what was going through each other’s minds… Well, one day, this guy rocks up, wearing knee pads!! Of all the goofiest, newbie things to do! (almost as bad as wearing socks in rock shoes!) He could hardly climb, let alone do a leadclimb, but he stuck out with us. We didnt mind him joining up with us, in fact, we encouraged him and belayed him whenever he was attempting any climb.

Well, as I’ve heard, God is fair, because on the dance floor, he is a GOD!!! Holy schmitt, he could move! His demeanour was completely different from an uncertain, unconfident budding rock climber. Here, his whole posture, his body language oozed confidence, and I must say, he had no problems getting any hot chick there to dance with him. *green eyes*

Well, after a while, Terence rocks in and ushers us to where Jeamie had reserved a space for us beforehand. Slowly the rest of the gang seep in. Fai, Jacque, Zai, Timothy, good lord, even Rachel and Wilson! Aha, Laney and YeeYoke! And there she was, in all her splendour (and the shortest mini skirt I’ve seen in a long time), Jeamie! First person she hauls over to the dance floor, poor Tony! I couldnt really see his face from where I was sitting, but I was already starting to feel the first signs of a panic onset! I was whispering (more like shouting la, damn loud music!) to Angela, “OMG, I’m going to kena also!!”

Lucky me, the next newbie she pounced upon was YeeYoke, then Laney, then Angela. All this while, I was hoping she would miss me, as I was trying my utmost best to be as inconspicuous as possible. Well, how inconspicuous can you be, when you are 6’1″ and overweight?? Finally she snaked her way through the people I was hiding behind, grabbed my hands and dragged me screaming and kicking all the way across the dance floor. Ok, ok, I exaggerate, but if reality were formed from thoughts, that would have been my exact behaviour.

So there I was, holding hands with my instructress. Shoes feeling like there were filled with rocks. The first signs of cold sweat trickling down my forehead, cold shivers runnning up and down my spine. What to do? Go for it la! So, 123, 567, 123, 567.

123, 567, 123, 567. Shit, what next? Ok, Crossbody lead! Ok, done. Half turn, under arm turn. Guy change hand, spin, JAM! I have no idea what went wrong but before I could pull her into a windmill, something stopped! Was there superglue on the floor?? Did someone spill some? Ok, attempt to recover, 123, 567, 123, 567. But the problem was, now our hands were crossed! Ok, try into the windmill again, but I felt like I was moving through molasses! Everything seemed to happen in slow motion! How many minutes have passed? Couldnt have been more than 40 seconds, but it felt like an eternity! Oh god, that look that Jeamie just shot me! The only way I can describe it is “Boooooring! Are we going to do something within this century?? Yawwwwnnnnn” Ok ok, underarm turn, half turn, crossbody, spin… Damn, is that the only arsenal I have left in my repertoire? Oof! Someone collided with me! Actually, its more like _I_ collided with him! Jeamie pulls me in close and screams “Look out for space for yourself!”. Ok, … Bang! I accidently send Jeamie crashing into someone else! Jeamie pulls me in close and screams “Look out for space for ME!!!”

Then finally, somewhere in the fog of my panic addled brain, there registered a change in pitch, and different tempo, the end of the song! Good lord, I had somehow made it without getting stoned to within an inch of my life! I retreated back into the seated audience, completely drenched. I must have looked like I just took a shower with all my clothes on! Laney and Angela were having a field day, laughing at my pathetic, completely defeated appearance!

Now that my ordeal of dancing with my instructress was over, I could observe the others. There was a guy dancing there, longish hair, innocent baby face, looked like he was not moving very much, but what little he was doing was more than enough to send the woman he was dancing with into all sorts of spins, locks, gyrations etc… And when he danced with Jeamie! My God, I never knew it was physically possible for a womans anatomy to move the way it did on Jeamie! This was her, going all out! Leg, up and behind the guy, dips, it was all a flowing symphony of synchronized movement of bodies in time with the beat. So this is salsa at its finest!

So, a few songs along, and I feel as though I have recovered enough from the trauma of my first dance with Jeamie. I offer a hand to YeeYoke, but, wah liaw! Kena Reject! Ouch! Talk about crash and burn! Nothing more I could do, as Laney was already swiped up by Tony, and Angela was still nursing her foot. So I just continued to sit there and observe the other dancers.

The highlight of the night was when Jeamie took the mike and the stage. She announced that tonight was a special night as it was the first time that her beginners class was here! Clap clap clap… I look around, hoping no one would realise I was one of them, malu for Jeamie only…

Next announcement was that it was Timothy’s birthday! Apparently there was a “traditional” Salsa Havana way of celebrating a persons birthday, and so, after blowing out the candles on his cake, some women formed a line and danced with Tim one by one. I have to say, it was fantastic, watching Timothy dance, using the whole floor, with one girl after another. Jeamie would dance in with a girl, spin and change partner, and lead the previous girl off. After a good 5-8 minutes of non-stop dancing, Tim finally gives up and calls the end of the dance.

Next up was a special presentation from the people of Shell! Apparently, it took them all of 1 (ONE!) week to learn their routine, but it was fantastic! Jeamie was dancing in with them as one of the girls. Totally synchronized, not just between 1 girl and 1 guy, but with five couples! Malu man, 1 week and they can do like that… Me, how many months aledi? Shame shame…

A few songs later, I get my turn with Laney. Less pressure than with Jeamie, but still felt very uncomfortable. Same amount of moves, same molasses feelings, same jam in my head. I cant beleive I even forgot how to do a basic armlock! Tried to do the spare tire move, but Laney didnt want to do it, boring it seems… Sathia move, ok ok la, girl turn guy turn, ok ok, but timing off. It seemed everything was out of whack! My timing, my memory, even my feet seemed to not want to listen to me. After a while, the change of pitch and tempo registered another end of song, and we made our way back to the others.

After a few more songs, I decided I had to go, since at that point in time, I was exhausted, sticky n sweaty, and I had to wake early for a morning ride. All in all, it was a very humbling experience. Going to the dance floor is similar to dumping someone in the deep end of the pool. Either you make it and start swimming, or you drown. In this case, either you build up the confidence to move n groove, or you give up. Well, that being the case, I aint going down without a fight! So, see you all for the next class!