Monday night things got a little twisted in salsa class. Literally. We learned the dizzying inside turn, which entails 520 degrees of turning for the women. This repeated spinning in sneakers had me staring enviously at the women who were wearing heels. Pivoting seemed like it would be so much simpler to do in heels, which marks the first time I’ve ever looked at heels and thought anything about them would make life easier. This really proves the theorem, “There’s a first time for everything.” (For merely thinking that heels could be useful and considering purchasing a pair in the future, I am awarding myself the first ever Lady Point. These will be assigned by me but you are welcome to give them to me in the comments to inspire me on my path to womanhood.)

Now back to that tricky turn. Needless to say that all of the leads, even the strongest ones, struggled with guiding the women through the spin. We ladies had practiced the turn un-partnered so many times, as we do with any new move, that we actually don’t need to be led through it. We already know what to do on our own. Even if your partner fails to take you through the appropriate steps, you know what’s supposed to come next and you do it automatically, and spin away from him.

The instructor (who was wearing a t-shirt that read “Salsa is the new hip hop”) noticing this, stepped in and told the guys that they have to maintain contact throughout the maneuver. “Your job is to keep her near you,” he explained to the men. “The ladies will always want to go off and do their styling, but you can’t let her.”

I didn’t jerk away and start styling but I do understand the impulse. After all, I come from the world of improvisational dance where you always go off on your own. That’s what I’m trying to cure, at least in this particular setting. (It serves me very well elsewhere.) I think I will stay away from styling for good long while. I got the “on my own” part pretty down pat.

I am no longer going to devote whole posts to how I don’t know how to be led. I feel like that is going to get boring real fast since this is an ongoing issue. Of course, if something hilarious happens in connection to this handicap, I will note at the end of the post. As for last night, my gay friend from last week burst into laughter when he saw me but upon taking a turn to dance conceded that my handshake felt less firm this time. Progress–I’m awarding myself one Lady Point. Another partner observed that I did try to pull before he pushed me. Minus one Lady Point. And finally, I did tell one older gentleman to relax his grip; he was grasping my fingers so tightly that I thought he would break them as we went through the turns. Another lost point. But according to my officially and very unbiased tally, I broke even, Lady-wise.

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