Several years ago, back in California, I would go dancing with friends at a local Salsa club. It was a great way to practice my follow skills while having a great time. There’s something about Salsa music that just fills me with a happy-go-lucky joy. It has an uplifting energy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. A great Salsa song sings “Life is too short to take yourself seriously!”
Nowadays, I get a little taste of Salsa dancing in my Zumba classes, but along with ballroom, I’ve been missing my Salsa nights out. Until Saturday!
Within the first few months I lived here, I learned from other local dancers that the best (and only) Cuban music band in Maine was Primo Cubano. They perform mostly down in Portland, but also travel to different areas of the state. Lucky for me, who doesn’t keep up with social happenings whatsoever, one of the Zumba teachers told me after Zumba class on Saturday morning that they were playing locally Saturday night. Woohoo!
Despite my eagerness to check out this band and have the chance to dance some Salsa to live music, I debated whether to go. I’m not one of those brave people who go out to eat or to the movies by themselves. I need the support of going with someone I know. As I sat in my car in my driveway, debating one last time about whether to show up by myself or not, I decided to take a leap of courage and go.
The band was playing at an outdoor BBQ place. It was raining, but they had a tent set up to keep the band and dancers dry. When I first arrived, I stood at the edge of the tent, just a step out of the rain, and watched for a bit. The band was playing a cha cha and as I looked around the small crowd, I was delighted to spot someone I knew. A short time later, the Zumba instructor showed up, which made two people I knew! Maybe this sounds silly to you, but for me, it was like the Universe rewarding my dive into the deep end with a gift of floaties.
We took turns leading and following each other, with solo dancing mixed in. We were joined by others I didn’t know, but once you’re on the dance floor, it doesn’t matter. You’re all connected because you’re all there to enjoy the music and dance. I was in my glory, happily dancing Salsa, Cha Cha and Rumba throughout the night. The band more than lived up to its reputation, and it was so heartwarming to hear the crowd’s earnest and loud applause after every song. They love them, they really love them!
Apparently I was dancing well because I was getting compliments and praise from strangers all evening. *sheepish grin* It was nothing fancy. My dance moves consisted of basics plus a shine or two that I remember learning from a group class. But people seemed to think they were impressive moves.
I think it would benefit all of us student dancers to show off our dance moves at an event that isn’t specifically for trained dancers once in awhile because it’s easy to forget that basics are not basic to most people. We rarely give ourselves credit for how much we’ve accomplished in dance; we usually focus on how much we still haven’t learned or mastered. It’s ok to let the ego be boosted on occasion.
So if you hadn’t already guessed, I’m so glad I plucked up the courage to show up somewhere new by myself! I had a blast dancing my booty off, and bonus, despite dancing on asphalt all night (I was smart and wore sneakers), my knees did not feel like crap on Sunday. Yay!
Looking forward to the next time Primo Cubano is in town. Maybe I’ll show up earlier next time and try the BBQ (one new thing at a time).
Quick announcement before I sign off – A new dance challenge is now available in the Practice Ballroom Dance shop! It’s called Reset Your Dance Journey and it’s designed to reflect on the detours that your dance journey has taken and where it has landed you, in order to clearly see what paths you might take moving forward. This challenge was originally launched in January 2021, after the first year of the pandemic when we ALL needed some time and space to pause and reset, so we could then move forward on our dance journeys with clarity and confidence. It’s now available to anyone who is going through something and not sure what it means for them as a dancer.
I hope you have a wonderful week full of dancing!