Monday, June 6, 2016

West Coast Salsa

Jan 2014, my first date with "Fred"
Two and a half years ago my interest in dancing was piqued by a man I was dating. (Let's call him Fred, like Fred Astaire....) He'd taken ballroom dance lessons in college as his PE elective and was now infected with the dancing bug. Our dates would revolved around good food (he's a foodie) and dancing. Fortunately for us, Seattle is a great place to get good food and go dancing!

At the time, I weighed about 265 pounds. I wasn't comfortable in my body and I wasn't comfortable moving my body that way. I was overweight and didn't want to be seen. I wanted to hide my size but longed to feel the freedom of moving my body gracefully, sensually across a dance floor.

As he and I dated over the course of the next six months, I was working on losing weight so I was getting smaller. We hit a patch where we broke things off for a few weeks. But since I was already bitten with the dancing bug, too, and now feeling slimmer I wanted to try dancing. I bought a Groupon and signed up for lessons at Belltown Dance Studio in Seattle.

Mine were like this,
but in black!
Fred was really getting into West Coast Swing, so that's what I tried to sign up for. I wanted to see why he was so into it. Unfortunately, I had missed the deadline for the 6-week class signup. Instead, I opted for salsa, which also looked fun and sexy.

Birthday dance at my lesson studio, June 2014
After my first salsa lesson I was hooked. I went out and bought a pair of dance shoes that cost over $100 and I forgot about West Coast Swing, or any other type of dancing. I was in love with salsa! I took lessons on Sunday afternoons and then went to the socials on Sunday nights to practice what I had learned. I also started checking out socials at other locations. By the time my birthday rolled around 3 months later I was at one of the biggest ballrooms in Seattle doing a birthday dance that took my breath away!

And then I moved to Utah.

With no car.

I had no transportation to go dancing until last February when I was dog-sitting. The owners let me use their car and so one Friday night I took myself out to a Valentine's salsa social. I was still in love with salsa! Alas, the owners came back from their vacation and I had to return their car to them, but my love for dancing was reignited. I found friends to go dancing with who would pick me up.

Fast forward to June...

Ready for birthday dancing!
I invite a few girl friends to help me celebrate my birthday by going dancing. We got there extra early and there was a ballroom dance social going on. I got pulled onto the dance floor and learned how to rumba and foxtrot! It was kind of fun, even if the crowd there is mostly older folks.

In July, my roommate went out of town and let me use her car for the whole month! I was so excited! I was able to get out and DO stuff. I start taking group dance lessons on Tuesday nights, volleyball on Wednesday nights, and ballroom AND salsa social on Friday nights. (Oh, and I bought myself a car at the end of July so that I could keep going to these events... and work in the fall!)

At the Tuesday night group lessons we learned American/ballroom tango. There I met two men who impacted my dance life in big ways. The first man introduced me to the Gallivan Center, where many of my dance classmates went after lessons for a free public concert and dancing. Through dance lessons and dancing at the Gallivan center, man number two came into my life.

My trainer and I both use dance as our cardio!
Man number two, Sage, became my East Coast Swing dance partner. (And later down the road he also becomes my friend and personal trainer.) Sage and I danced together regularly on Tuesday nights at the Gallivan Center and on Friday nights at the ballroom dance socials at Ballroom Utah.

Sage and I develop a dance connection and he introduced me Argentine Tango, his passion, in December of 2015. My deep connection to salsa is now making room for other dances, including the Argentine Tango. I love the connection and sensuality of this dance, perhaps even more than the sensuality of salsa.

Jump ahead a few months again to February of this year. My friend Chloe, who I invited to go salsa dancing with me for my birthday, is good friends with a man who enjoys many kinds of dance. One night in February he took us to a West Coast Swing social in Sandy. I was immediately reminded of Fred who was intrigued by this dance. And now I'm captivated, too!

That night we met a friendly guy named Josh who is quite good at West Coast. He had a big smile and made us feel welcome. Unfortunately, I got sick, and we didn't go back for several weeks.

But it's too late. I was bitten by the WCS bug and I'm hooked. In March I went a couple times, but by April I'm sold. I become a regular at the Saturday night socials. And in May I started going on Friday nights... at least the nights that my (East Coast Swing) dance partner can't go to the ballroom socials.

I'm addicted. I love West Coast Swing. Sorry, salsa, WCS is now my #1, but I'll be back to dance you too this summer.

Oh, and I'm much slimmer now, so I don't mind moving my body and being seen on the dance floor.

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