Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NYSC Latin Groove: Dance Disaster

If you are thinking about taking the Latin Groove class at NYSC, good luck. You’ll need to take a couple of months of dance lessons before you try it. The class sounded like so much fun, but I ran out in tears.
Usually classes at a gym allow you to adjust the level of difficulty. You can kick a little lower in kickboxing, lift lighter weights in total-body conditioning, modify your warrior pose in yoga, use a smaller step in step class, put the bike on an easier level in spinning class. When you’re new to a class, you stand in the back where no one notices you.

Well, in Latin Groove, AKA Advanced Latin Dance Class, you can’t hide in the back, because when the class turns around in a sequence of complicated spins, they’re all facing you. There is no back. You can’t modify a complicated salsa sequence: step, turn, step back, turn, feet together, turn, big step, back to basic step, repeat all that right in a row. You also can’t really shimmy across the floor in a modified way. I tried grape-vining it, but I’m tall. When all those petite people turned around to shimmy my way, I could see in the mirror how ridiculous I looked.

I almost made it through class. I don’t mind looking a little silly, and I understand the concept of a learning curve. However, on the last song, I totally lost it. Not only was it a new sequence, it was a sequence every other person knew. It was basically like a chorus line. Every single person was doing the same choreography, and I stood there like a tall deer in headlights as 20 people did fancy footwork that repeatedly required them to turn, face me, and shimmy around.
I tried to fake it or modify it, but it was just pathetic. I paused, hung my head, grabbed my water bottle and towel, and ran out. I sniffled past the Nautilus and out to my car, thinking to myself in great sadness and disappointment, I never knew salsa dancing could make you cry.

I think the only thing that would have helped is if the teacher, a cute guy with an accent who was clearly a pro dance teacher, had said, "Don't worry, I can teach you some of the moves at the end of class, or come a little early next time," or, "Come stand here on the side while you're learning." A tiny woman who clearly had salsad since she was 8 tried to help me. "You're trying too hard. Here, like this- no- just- don't think about." It was hopeless.

To make it even worse, I don’t think I can ever try the class again, because all of those women saw me run off in a huff. I might be able to do it if Shape magazine hired me to write an article about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. I have studied belly dancing and I can pick up most dance moves. But when I took this class at NYSC in Norwalk, I felt like an idiot. It's a class that you have to start taking when the begin a new dance. No way can someone just show up and participate.

The instructor had no interest whatsoever in who the students were. And my classmates just wanted me out of the way.

After about 5 minutes, I walked out, never to return again.