Oh yeah, that would be me. Dancing in a carved out space in the living room, between the dog bed and the TV, music blaring, windows wide open, and trying desperately to keep up with the pros salsa-ing on “So You Think You Can Dance?” Short answer? No, I have no illusions that I can dance. But I can shimmie. And the dogs seem to like it.
This is all in preparation for the trip back down to Sayulita next week, and Monday night Salsa Night at Don Pedros. Let…Me…Tell…You…they take their Salsa seriously on Monday nights. We’re talking full orchestra and hot Latin dancers – male and female – forward step – stepping – backward step-stepping around the dance floor, helping those of us tap into our inner Shakira.
Hopped up on margaritas and an appetizer of self-delusion (a frequent party pairing), I really believed I WAS Shakira, for the slightest, briefest moment. I mean, I…Was…All…That (Envision me snapping my fingers when I say each word) AND a bag of chips. I was just waiting for one of the teachers to tap me on the shoulder and effuse about my natural gift of rhythm and musicality. I figured they’d make a big fuss, and appoint me deputy salsa-er, or something like that. I was zigging all the right ways, tapping out the beats, working the arms, working the hips. I felt MAHVELOUS! I was on FUEGA! In fact, I was a little embarrassed for my pal Myrtle, who has actually been taking Salsa lessons with her husband for years. Poor Myrt. She just wasn’t born with the raw talent I was. Better forward step step over to the other side of the dance floor so as not to get her upset with my primal ability. Ahhh, what a lovely night. Sweatin’ with the oldies!
Fast forward to this evening. I’m salsaing in my living room with my homies (well, my dogs) – Elsa – who barely raises her head to see what is shaking all the furniture, and then when she does, a small poop comes out of her increasingly-incontinent large body (poor Elsa!); Indi, who is nervous to begin with, is growing increasingly more so as I make spastic movements that remind her, no doubt, of the 8 weeks she spent in the Puppy mill before we rescued her. Horatio, ever the gentleman, just like Cary Grant or Fred Astaire, maintains a discreet snore, instinctively knowing that this woman will not want anyone with 2 or 4 legs to bear witness to her over confident, yet clearly possessed and misunderstood take on this dance.
I confirm he’s right as I work my best salsa turns towards the dining room, where the large (and confrontational) mirror rests on the wall. I instantly see the truth. The footwork is fine, it’s true. But my arms look like a cross between a doped-up hippie at a Grateful Dead concert and a vaudeville act – bendy and cliché, like I should be doing a tap dance in a red & white striped blazer. And Birkenstocks. Needless to say, not the look I had envisioned.
And the best news of all??? You can take it to the bank that the people who witnessed my, um, personal interpretation of Salsa that Monday night at Don Pedros will be there next Monday night, when I do my encore performance. This time however, I’ll have a secret weapon. This time Stuart will be with me. His salsa is an even more unique interpretation than mine (one could actually call it a wrong or completely misguided take), which combines the deep knee bend, legs together twist move (think 1980s new wave lead singer) accompanied by both arms bent at the elbows, which never leave the sides of his chest. Ever. This is punctuated with the occasional shimmie bend forward and shimmie bend backward. You guessed it – no visible clues to identify this movement as having anything whatsoever to do with the Salsa. He is my ace in the hole.
Needless to say, I have emailed Myrtle to come over and teach me the basics. Or at least figure out a way to strap my arms down. Either way will be a vast improvement from tonight.