Real Men Don't Go En Pointe

Ken Miller

I had my first salsa lesson last night.  As if I needed it!

My partner Janet encouraged me. People sweat during lessons, apparently, and she didn’t want to touch stranger sweat. It’s like stranger danger except moist. Janet likes to dance and is an excellent dancer as far as I can tell. She also likes to watch dance and understands it. I understand two things about dance: real men don’t go en pointe; and how Isadora Duncan died, long scarf wrapped around the axle of a speeding car.

While we waited for the instructor, a guy walked in with dancing shoes. I remembered the rule for when someone enters a pool hall with a personal cue: do not bet this person. He looked happy during the entire lesson, but I was able to maneuver Janet so she couldn’t see him.

Based on my experience, sweat is not an issue. I’ll explain in simple terms so you can try this at home. We’ll use a numbering system from one to three. On [one], step forward with your left foot. You have to be standing up to actually try this. Next, lift your right foot and put it down [two] and bring your left foot back [three]. See? And you can flip your hands if you really feel it, supra, guy with his own shoes.

I wanted to skip number two but that upset people. ‘There are rules. You have to follow them,’ Janet said. I don’t get it. I’m an American. I should be able to skip number two. And then I understood my problem with ballroom dancing, dancing with stars, thinking you can dance and more: it’s about looking good, which apparently means following the rules in nice clothes. The rules are an end in themselves, rather than a means to something intrinsically important. Like striking a leather sphere with a stick and running away. Baby, then you flip your hands.  If you want to share in my experience, check out Studio 6 Ballroom in Tacoma