My group lessons wrapped up two weeks ago as the dance studio is closing for Summer recess.
Because I had prepaid for 8 hours, I decided to take a private lesson to get my money’s worth rather than squeeze in another group lesson.
I arrived at the scheduled time last Tuesday, but there had been some mix-up.
A new time was set with Yamile, my secondary instructor, and I would get an extra 30 minutes free. 8pm rolls around, and I have a super-intense lesson until 9:30pm.
I learned a handful of new combinations, and she was intent on identifying some of my problems with form. I definitely felt a big improvement by the end of that class, and since I had so much fun, signed up for another two days later.
Last Thursday, I met with Yamile for another private lesson, and learned even more new combinations.
My head was officially swirling with all the options I was gaining for leading women on the dance floor in a fun and exciting way.
At 8pm, I took my first group lesson at Cien Fuegos. The cost is 5,000 COP which means if you have your own car, it’s incredibly cheap.
The instructor was a guy with dreadlocks I’d seen dancing there extraordinarily well my first Saturday night visit
All the instructions were in Spanish, but the first move we practiced was rather basic, so I rotated around and danced with a bunch of women, even incorporating a few turns into it (making me feel like I really knew what I was doing!).
The second move he taught us was new to me, but was fairly easy to get the hang of. And that lead us to a combination which was built upon the second set of steps.
It was trickier, but with some more practice I’m sure I’d get it. I really wanted to stick around and dance with some of the other women who were making a night of it, but I’d already made plans.
I got to the GAR Bar in Parque Lleras early enough to ensure a table. I was to be meeting up with Andrea, two of her friends, and a Brazilian guy, at the least.
In one corner of the gambling-themed bar, there was a poker table set up with a few guys fully engaged in cards. Everyone else was having some food, drinks (2 for 1 mojitos), and waiting for the live Cuban-style band to start.
Andrea arrived with her friends, which included Lina. The Brazilian couchsurfer, Airton, arrived too, as did a French guy and another Lina (and her friend) from Couchsurfing.
We relocated to a bigger table, got to know each other (which meant I had to remember my Spanish), and danced quite a bit.
Dancing with different women all the time is challenging. They don’t often know the moves and combinations I’ve been taught in classes, and since I am not yet a strong enough lead, signals can get crossed and suddenly I’m the one being lead in a combination that is unfamiliar to me.
I think I need to learn to go with it more, just having fun and not getting too caught up on formalities. Andrea was able to give me a quick music tip – Cuban-style salsa is slower, while the music from Puerto Rico is faster-paced.
After the band finished, most of us headed to Blue which is one of the only late-night venues (open past 2:30 am) in the area.
The irony is not lost on me when I say this, BUT there are too many foreigners at Blue. It feels touristy for that reason, whereas at many of the other places I like to go, that’s not the case. I think that’s the benefit of living somewhere versus just passing through.
Around 3 am, I headed home for some rest. I had a party to throw the following night!