There you are smiling, dancing, trying to stay out of your head. You’re thinking, “Wow! She’s smiling at me.” So, you’re obviously the lead in this scenario… roll with it ladies. You like the song. You’re wearing your best shirt. And then, you throw in uber combo #72. Where’d it go? She was just smiling a moment ago. Uh oh, she’s avoiding eye contact. I’m losing her. She’s not! She is… looking for her next partner. Damn!
Just like that you go from smooth to schmuck. One hand too low (or too high if you get my drift) and she’s struggling not to smack you in the face. You try to win her back by throwing fancier moves at her, but now you’re the guy who's trying
too hard. You’re desperate. And all she’s thinking is, “Do I have to finish this song or can I make an excuse to go to the bathroom right now?”
It’s a tough world out there guys. And ladies, why don’t you cut ‘em some slack. They’re not always hitting on you! Usually they’re just doing what the instructor told them to do. Personally, I’m a big supporter of the hip lead. I prefer a guy to grab my hips instead of my love handles. Can I get an “Amen!” ladies? Now, if he’s forcefully moving my hips – it’s a deal breaker. I’ll be saying “no” next time he asks me to dance.
So what can you do as a gentlemen leading in a sexy Salsa world? First and foremost, know this: it’s just dancing! The good time we, as ladies, are looking for ends when we change out of our dance shoes. Being aware of this affects your whole demeanor guys. Let’s admit it - you’re more relaxed when sex is off the table. (Some of my male readers are very confused right now. I can actually hear them wondering if sex is ever completely off the table. The answer is a resounding Yes!) And if I’m wrong, you’ll be happily surprised, right?
Once you realize it’s only a dance, you can focus on your number one job: making the woman look/feel good. If you’re truly focused on this, you’re concentrating on the lead. The mechanics. The when, where, and why of the hands, feet, and center. Basically, you’re concerned with communicating…and really, isn’t that what we ladies nag you about all the time anyway?;)
It is really that simple. If the communication is clear, we know where your intentions lie. If we trust those intentions, we relax and let you lead. It’s a win-win. And we can create something fun, flirty, and even romantic together. If we don’t trust your intentions, we’ll opt for the frequent restroom break restraining order.
See you on the hardwood;)
I’m one week into my physical therapy (goodbye and good riddance, crutches!) and I have to say: It Feels GOOD! Of course, it’s painful as hell, but moving feels so amazing! Every degree of flexibility that returns is a bead of sweat well sacrificed. The ache of stretching these dormant muscles may as well be a beacon of hope. I’m moving again!
As I feel my muscles trying to work with me, I’m reminded we are built to move. Our bodies are high performance machines! How many of us have forgotten that? How many of us don’t let our bodies breathe because we’re too busy watching TV? It’s nothing short of a Damn Shame!
Get Up! Right now! Stand up to read the rest of this. Your body is begging you to be used and abused. It regenerates at a baffling rate for a reason: we’re supposed to play to the max! (Or work to the max, but those who know me, know I lean toward the playing side…shocker: I dance for a living:)
Even if you don’t have time to workout (which is crap, because few things are more important than toning our most valuable instrument) you can find ways to move. If you’re reading this at a day job, get up every hour and walk around. Or stretch. I’ll confess, stretching isn’t my favorite (because I get bored, honestly) but I do love the results.
The beautiful part is, a workout can be whatever you want it to be these days. We have sooooo many different ways to get our blood pumping. If you’re not doing something you enjoy - change it! It’s one of the reasons I dance – I get a workout without realizing it. I dance five songs in a row then go to the bathroom and my face is beet red. (And though it's wildly unattractive, I’m happy I’m getting my heart pumping).
Don’t settle for any of your old excuses any longer. Walk, run, or dance outside for some quality time with your temple. What better time than summer to find a fun way to please your body? Don’t do it to lose weight. Don’t do it because I say you should. Do it because it is honestly, down to your very core, what your body wants!
See you on the hardwoodJ
Why is it, in life, we take the most pleasure in the simple things? If you deny this, you need only watch a young child open a gift. The love, time, and money you put into choosing that perfect toy get thrown out with the toy as the child only wants to jump into the big, recently emptied box and play. A lesson (or show, depending on how you look at it) my four year old niece was kind enough to teach me eight years ago.
Since then, my own children have reinforced it… in case I’d forgotten. A few days ago, when it was a friendly 94 degrees, I stripped my kiddos down, put a little water in the bottom of a laundry basket, and let them go to town. For those of you who are friends on Facebook, you’ve seen the pics. For those of you who aren’t: friend me!
They had a blast!! They didn’t care it wasn’t an actual pool – yet alone a fancy one with a slide and water fountain. We have a pool at our apartment complex but I’m not stupid enough to take two toddlers by myself when I can barely walk. They splashed and laughed for a solid hour until we poured the water out onto the porch and they started dancing in that.
Watching your children delight in such simple things is the perfect opportunity to catch up on some much needed soul searching. There I was, neck deep in giggles and sunshine, when I realized – dancing is the same way! It’s dancing with someone who has mastered the basics and executes them to the rhythm that is the most fun!
I doubt I’m shocking anyone here, because if you know me, you’ve heard me say this in a variety of ways probably more times than you’d like to recount. But I’m going to keep saying it until men around the world believe me. And if I’m using my husband as a gauge – it’s going to take a while. No matter how blue in the face I get touting this truth, men still think women need flashy moves to have fun. We don’t!
The people I look for in a crowd, the guys I really want to dance with, are the old, Latin guys who have rhythm for breakfast and rotation in their bones. They don’t do flashy, crazy combos! They keep it smooth, simple, and fun. And usually smile the whole time…which helps. We dance Salsa to the song that’s playing – not show off for a crowd we hope gathers. It’s effortless... and I love it!
Sure, there’s a time and place for showing off and doing your best. No shame in that game. You can buy your kids extravagant toys. There’s nothing wrong with that. But don’t get frustrated if they throw the toy across the room and jump in that perfect plaything – the box. See you on the hardwood:)
My lovely, devoted readers - I have let you down this fine Thursday - there is no blog. I apologize. Today was my first day of physical therapy and I subsequently tried to take on the world. I'm just now (10:25pm) sitting down to my computer. I had the intention of writing it now, but my eyelids are so heavy I'm sure whatever I write would not be worth your valuable time. But... I feel brilliance coming on tomorrow;)...or at the very least - a laugh:) Until then, dance like no one is watching!
For most of us foraying into the world of Salsa, or any dance, we didn’t grow up listening to the music that now inspires us to make fools of ourselves in public. We’ve maybe been drawn in by a funky beat on the radio, or watched a performance on TV that blew us away, or attended a wedding where one couple lit up the dance floor and said, “You know, I’ve always wanted to try…”. A quick internet search later, we find ourselves in a group of equally excited, completely clumsy peers.
Fast forward a few months and there we are in the same class, but now everyone has a few moves under their sequined dance belts. We’re feeling pretty good. Then the class ends and the social dancing starts… and all rhythm exits our body as we’re taken over by deaf aliens. Sound familiar? Never fear! It happens to the best of us.
The thing to remember is you’re still very new. Yes you could say, “I’ve been dancing for months!” but in reality, one dance class a week followed by an hour of avoiding toes is hardly going to qualify you for Dancing with the Stars. In fact, if you added up the time you actually danced – I bet you’d have less than three days worth. Bummer, huh? Even with perfect attendance, the results fall short of our expectations.
So, I’ll just dance more! Now let’s see…Monday is tennis, Tuesday rock climbing, Wednesday work late, Thursday a barbecue, Friday I have a date…crap! News flash: we’re busy. (I’m so busy, when I quit a day job, I wonder how I ever fit it in?!) What to do? We have lots of interests and it’s a big, beautiful world out there, we want to see it all! Kudos to you! I love it! But there is a way.
One word: integration. You have to sneak the music into your life. On the commute to work, listen to the type of music you want to learn to dance to. While you workout and shower, have the music playing. If you’re really serious, sleep with it on. Dance comes from music! So often, we forget that. Or rhythm takes second to learning some cool move. I’ll let you in on a secret: if you’re off rhythm, no move is cool. Your lead/follow will be so busy trying to figure out how to get you back on rhythm s/he’s not paying any attention to what you’re doing.
The people who look most natural dancing are the people who grew up with the music as part of their culture. We’re just playing catch up. The more we listen to music, the more it works its way into our bodies and souls. That’s where it started. That’s where we started. Put music on when a 10mo old baby is around. I betcha a dance, the baby starts boogieing. (Yes it’s really spelled that way – I looked it up).
So, ears up! This is probably the easiest assignment I have ever, or will ever, give: Listen to more music! Then write me about the effortless transformation that occurs. I bet you’ll be surprised. Your musicality will improve. You’ll recognize more songs when you go out and be able to nail the nuances of each song. And you’ll be a happier person in general. See you on the hardwood:)
Allison loves to write almost as much as she loves to dance, so no one had to twist her arm to get her to write about dancing!