Today I went to my first group salsa class. I'd checked out the free intro on Wednesday. Digging it, but blanching half way in when we had to find a partner. I'd forgotten about that part! Thought it was just about me and the music. I've been married forever, and I've never liked touching strangers anyway. I grit my teeth, and do the minimal. With my private instructor, I complain about having to have a partner. "How can you ignore half of what it's about?" he says. I don't even like dancing with him. On to the group today - I've taken the plunge and bought a pair of high high heels. Salsa dance shoes that truly are higher than heels I've ever worn in my 49 years. They look surprisingly fabulous. My hips thrust forward, my inner thighs engaged. It's a surprise they feel great too. It's a big decision - lots of money if I'm just dancing via lessons for a month. But I want to jump in. This is a moment to go forward without analysis. So I strap them on, the ankle strap wrapped under the instep before buckling - a very clever design and I'm ready.
We start in lines. But then we have to find partners. I stand, trying not to care if no one comes forward. But a guy does catch my eye. Subtly. We stand, we start. It's weird. It's weird to touch a stranger arm in arm and avoid brushing hips. "This your first class?" I ask then, poof, time to rotate. I work my way around the room, maybe 25 guys - mostly shorter, many Indian, all serious as hell. Guy #8 leads me from basic to side step so nicely a "Smooth" escapes my lips, a smile graces his. It's charming, and surprisingly delightful as we women keep rotating around the room. Some guys need help, some guys help me. Everyone there to learn, everyone wanting to dance, everyone trying. We start around the second time and it's like, "hey- glad to be back!" I'm exhilarated and thrilled that I've transcended my own self consciousness to have this much simple fun.