The idea of taking salsa-dancing lessons has been floating in the air for the past week and a half. The school we attend offers free salsa lessons Monday and Tuesday nights from 5 to 6:30 at a local dance studio called New Sensation Dance Company. I would be exaggerating if I said the kids on this trip were less than enthusiastic about the prospect of taking salsa lessons, but Marty and I said they had no choice and it was a done deal. However, we missed classes last week due to the newness of being here, and yesterday we made the mistake of coming home first. We got comfortable and of course the pouring rain did not help us in our attempt to rally. We told the kids that today was the day and they needed to mentally prepare themselves. To make it easier, we spent the afternoon in a local coffee shop on the Parque Central so we couldn’t talk ourselves out of going again. We lazily drank coffee and gazed upon the peaceful madness that is the center of town. The girls even made themselves at home by playing with local kids trying to catch bubbles.
At 4:45, we headed to the dance studio and waited outside for the magic to begin. Over the next 15 minutes, scores of other language students began to appear and before we knew it there were roughly 30 students outside of a very tiny studio made for about 10. Frank, our salsa instructor, didn’t seem phased and at 5:00 on the dot we all piled in to the small studio and stood around waiting. I wasn’t sure what we were waiting for, but it turned out to be…. more students. When it was all said and done, there were over 40 students and the word claustrophobic cannot begin to describe how I felt. But have no fear, dancing was involved and as you might know, I cannot say no to dancing. Marty bowed out when the 42nd person showed up, declaring that he did not have enough room to fully express his talents. I, on the other hand, tried to make myself very small and vowed to stick it out. The kids were lost somewhere in the madness and I decided to let them fend for themselves and work it out.
Over the next hour and a half, we learned Bachata and Salsa steps, and we all ended up dancing with every single person of the opposite sex. Frank had us separate, men on one side and women on the other. Low and behold, there was pretty much an even number of both. Talk about working on your people skills! We danced with people from all over Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The girls had to dance with every male in the place, and it was quite the sight when it was time to dance with the 6 foot 8 man from England. Pilar was even called out as a volunteer to dance with the instructor as an example. She received a round of applause from the crowd. Of course, her proud parents took the credit for making her dance at all of those weddings and quinceañeras. When it was all said and done, the consensus was that although it was super hot, it was a great time and much better than they thought it would be… so much so that we might even take a private group lesson later this week.