The beats are pulsating down your veins. Your forehead glistens with sweat to every other clave as the strobe lights hits it. Your hips move synchronized to the melody as you dance with your primas, tios and girlfreinds at Tia Carmen's pachanga.
And so the 2002 West Coast Salsa Congress is this weekend and you love to salsa dance. You are a salsa queen but you have two left feet when it comes to dancing with an hombre.
You have eccentric moves unlike any other chica in the club. You stand out from the rest but you stumble or step on poor Jaimito. What's a salsera de corazon y sangre to do?
Practice! Practice! Practice is the answer.
There was a time I dreaded to go out and dance with hombres because I couldn't follow their lead. Sure, I had my moves on the dance floor while I danced solita or with my sister. I consider myself a good dancer but I just couldn't follow. (Following my Tio's steps didn't count on the club dance floor)
I wanted to be in charge! I wanted to lead because I wanted the power. And besides, my mam? told me not to trust boys. So I didn't. I wore the pants, I thought.
But finally, and I mean FINALLY, I mastered the art of following and the technique in the dance of salsa and merengue by taking social dance classes at East L.A. College and at Let's Dance L.A. in Alhambra and by going out dancing and paying close attention. (I'd also practice in front of the mirror on those lonely Saturday nights listening to KLVE. I can tell you the only other spinning came from my washing machine.)
So I stopped being so stubborn and I learned to follow. And let me tell ya, it's great! There's not a weekend that goes by that I don't strut my stuff on the dance floor with an hombre to the wee hours of the night. At times -- and only when I feel it necessary -- I still take control.
So you tell yourself to get prepared for next year's Congress. Here's some where to go to learn and have fun:
East L.A. College -- ELAC offers an array of classes for the community every semester and salsa is one of them. You can go to their little office located in the outskirt of the ASU parking lot and get a schedule and sign up for a four week class. You can also register for a social dance class for only $13 for 15 weeks and get a grade. WOW
Let's Dance L.A. -- With the instruction of Enio Cordoba and his partner Terryl Jones. This venue holds salsa classes virtually 7 days a week. They have a tag-team approach to teaching salsa that is comical and fun at the same time.
But we know that the Congress is this weekend It's an emergency! You need to learn NOW! Where can we practice this week to brush up and learn before the Congress? Well here's a little list I gathered up for the salsaholic burning to learn more in you.
Let's Dance L.A. --216 E. Main St., Alhambra, Call 626-458-3265 for schedule or check them out at http://www.letsdancela.com
Rudolpho's Night Club -- 2500 Riverside Dr., Silverlake. (323) 669-1226. $7.00 Admission. Beg/Int. Class at 8:15pm
Stevens Steak House -- 5332 Stevens Pl., City of Commerce (Between Atlantic Blvd. & Eastern Ave), (323) 723-9856. Salsa, Merengue & Cha Cha Music with DJ
7:00 to 8:30 pm Every Wednesday Salsa Lessons (Beginners)
Sportsman's Lodge -- 2833 Ventura Blvd at Coldwater Cyn, Studio City, (818)755-5000. (call Albert Torres to confirm at (310) 450-8770)
$15.00 admission (excluding special events).
8:15pm - Int./Adv. Class - Laura alternates weekly with Joe Cassini
8:15pm - Beg/Int. Class - William Ochoa
Baby Rock -- 333 Boylston Ave., Downtown Los Angeles on the corner of Boylston & 3rd St.
Mexican Village -- 3668 W. Beverly Blvd. (between Vermont and Virgil in Silverlake),
Los Angeles. (213) 385-0479
See you on the dance floor!
Susana Sanchez is a graphic artist for the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group and dancing is her passion.