Sunday, February 16, 2020

When worlds collide

My buddy sent me this:
Tonight at a dance event.
Me: asks girl to dance salsa.
Her: " Oh yeah that sounds great".
We stand up she begins dancing Cumbia off time.
Me: "Oh that's Cumbia not salsa"
Her: "No, this is Salsa. I'm from Colombia I should know."
Me: Grit my teeth and try to get through it but its pretty all over the place.
Mid way through the song she says: " You're actually not very good I'm done thanks" 
then walks away and sits down.
Me: hmmmm k lol.

I feel your pain. It happened to me last night. Over the years, I’ve learned there are two salsa worlds that rarely intersect. One is what I call dance school salsa, when one learns the basic step, cross body lead, right turn and left turn, all with an emphasis on counting, whether On1 or On2. After mastering these basics, the student moves on to learning patterns, all in a rote manner.
The other world is what I call street salsa, wherein one never takes a dance lesson. These people learn to move to the music organically, with no learned step steps or moves or patterns. (Why would you take lessons on how to walk?) Cumbia informs the dance background for these people, and knowledgeable people can tell the dancer’s country of origin by the way they dance cumbia. These people call what they are performing “salsa”, and what the dance school people are doing “gringo salsa”. (I've been told I dance gringo salsa. My reply? "Well, I am a gringo.")
Street salsa people think what the dance schoolers are doing is overly rigid and regimented, and dance schoolers think the street dancers are wild and uneducated. I think each could learn from the other.

Thursday, January 16, 2020


The other night at the Austin School of Dance:

me: Gosh, where have you been? Haven't seen you in a
while. Why'd you drop out of class?
She: I didn't like what was going on.
me: What do you mean?
She: There was too much drama. Everybody was sleeping with everybody.
me:  So?  What did you care? You weren't doing it.
She: I know.  I just didn't like it, that's all.
me: Let's dance.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Same old same old

At the club last night:

me: You are so beautiful.
She: You always say that.
me: But it’s true every time.
She: I’ll bet you say that to all the girls.  I want a new compliment, a special one; one just for me.
me: You’re light as baby’s breath; you dance in my dreams.
She: Okay, that’s better.

Saturday, October 12, 2019


Last night at Pura Austin:
me: Where have you been? I haven't seen you in a while.
She: I was kidnapped.
me: You mean you were a sex slave?
She gave me a sly nod yes.

The handicapped

me: The way I see it, extreme beauty such as yours is like a physical handicap. When guys meet you, their brains short-circuit; they can't think straight, and they start strutting their egos like peacocks, while women become insanely jealous because you embody everything to which they aspire.
She: Oh, you understand.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

1 mph

Yesterday, as I was walking through my HEB’s parking lot, I heard someone calling my name.  I turned, and saw one of my salsa partners approaching at a rapid pace while she waved me down.

I stopped, and when she got close, I gave her a big salsa hug.  Over her shoulder, I could see a late model pickup approaching us at 1 mph.  The guy, in his fifties, pulled along side us with his passenger window was rolled down because of the cold front, and said: 

“I thought y’all were going to start dancing.”

I said:  “We do that.”

He drove on, smiling, at 1 mph.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Ruta Maya

Last night, I was trying to decide whether or not to go to the second-to-last salsa show at Ruta Maya. By my count, I have attended more than 100 salsa events there, and I wasn't sure I wanted to brave the heat one more time. I opened a book, a first-person account written by an Army Lieutenant of his time as commander of a forty-man infantry platoon fighting the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. After six months on the front, being shot at, bombed, rocketed, blown-up, and issuing deadly mayhem in return, he rotated to the rear for leave. He flew by helicopter to Bagram Air Force base, the major supply staging area for Afghanistan.
"Bagram looked like a stateside base compared to where we'd been. Signs advertised salsa dance nights at a cafe called Green Bean Coffee. ...Bray and I looked utterly out of place in our filthy, battleworn ACUs. My battle vest still had blood stains on it." ...
"Lieutenant?" A U.S. Army major demanded.
"He stood staring at me, hands on hips, a look of disgust on his face. His ACUs were so clean and well fitting that I assumed they had been tailored and pressed. He wore no combat badges, no sign that he was a Ranger or even infantry. I had never noticed that sort of thing until that moment. I wondered if he was going to be salsa dancing tonight."

I put the book down, and went to Ruta Maya.