Do you remember? That first dance party you went to? While your friends were already going for it, you were still scanning your surroundings, with a forced smile on your face. Nervous whether you would be able to follow the guy’s lead, without tramping his toes or making a fool of yourself…
Dancing should be all about having fun.
Oh, sure. True that. But I still peed my pants that first party, back then on September 16th 2017. I remember it well. It was at the Salsa, Bachata & Kizomba Madness Party in ’s-Hertogenbosch, organized by Clyde Bron. Everybody seemed so joyful and relaxed, all dancing and smiling, “my girls” included – they surely seemed like pros to me that evening.
“Go ask someone. Go on. Just ask them.”
Are you nuts? Like hell I will. I will just stand here aside, waiting like a dame to be rescued, probably not going to dance a single dance tonight, but who cares… I will not ask a stranger to dance with me.
Smile. Keep smiling. That’s what my mother always told me. When you are nervous, just smile. It will tear down walls. She turned out to be right, once again. A bit stunned, I looked at the hand extended towards me. There must have been a big question mark on my face: me? Don’t think. Just grab it. OMG. My first Bachata with a complete stranger. Big guy. Tall. As I look over his shoulder, I see the thumbs up from the girls. They are all grinning from ear to ear. I roll my eyes, but then focus on the dude. We don’t want to screw up now, do we. One-two-three-tap…
Dance-etiquette or “how to…”
New experience. Okay, this is turning into a close Bachata. Big eyes. What’s he doing? What’s with the head? Of course I had seen that before, this close dancing, heads together and all… but doing this with someone I had never met before, was quite new to me. Anyway. Keep smiling. You got this.
And I did. All went well. As soon as the song changed, the dance was over. I mumbled a sort of “thank you”, felt in trance. I found my way back to “my” spot, just to discover that once you’ve been asked before, you get asked again. As if you’re “cleared for take-off”. Whoop! Whoop!
In the end I had a great night. I learned some new steps and I learned a lot about dance-etiquette. On our way home, my girls and I discussed the night. Flitsmeister on. Music loud, vibes still high. While the bag of M&M’s was circulating, my girls told me more about the dos and don’ts of dancing. They shared some valuable tips and tricks, not to mention some very interesting stories…
At the risk of putting people (or styles) in to boxes…
I would soon learn that when it comes to dance-etiquette, most rules seem to apply to the dancing scene as a whole. But there do appear to be differences when it comes to Bachata, Salsa, Kizomba or Semba. Speaking of which…
I have to admit that, although I like to dance a (modest) Salsa every now and then, I am not really that much into Salsa. Having said that, I do get the impression that those who do love to dance Salsa, always seem to be on fire. There is no “half way” doing Salsa. You either own it… or end up slightly disorientated. (Speaking for myself here.) Anyhow, passionate people, those Salsa folks.
Mind blowing Bachata
The Bachata in my opinion is the “safest” style to start with. I mean, what can go wrong? Just stick to the one-two-three-tap… and even a beginner will feel like actually dancing what he or she is supposed to dance. Don’t get me wrong, the Bachata has some amazing moves, dips & tricks and can be performed at a mind-blowing level. But, never the less… Bachata is a great dance to start with.
Oh, how beautiful it is… the prettiest of them all: Kizomba! (Take it easy, I never claimed to be objective here…) Okay, Kizomba is not just the prettiest, it is probably also the most fickle one. Because Kizomba has no one-two-three-tap or a one-two-three/five-six-seven to rely on. I know, I know, there are basic steps in Kizomba too, but let’s be honest… the beauty of Kizomba lies in it’s versatility, in it’s room for creativity – which again, brings me back to that fickle part.
Sweet sweet Semba
Sweet? Yes. Because where Kizomba in my opinion is the prettiest of them all, Semba is the happiest of them all. Semba means that I have to be careful, not having this idiotic grin on my face all the time. Semba is joy. Semba is pleasure. But… Semba too is very challenging. Especially when it comes to “fishing” and not breaking your neck, whilst being fished…
Semba workshop “Fishing”, with Nii Nortey @ The Dutch Kizomba Festival 2018.
Just go to that party!
I am babbling, I know. So many words already, so let me cut short here: no matter what style you prefer or chose to start with, just dance! And yes, go to parties. If you want to learn to dance, sure take dancing lessons, but most of all – go to dance parties. You learn stuff at parties, that you just cannot (or will not) learn in a dance class. Dance parties are so interesting. So much fun!