Saturday, September 27, 2008

SALSA LESSONS (September 27th)

On Thursday evening, Wendy planned for us all to attend a free Salsa dance lesson being sponsored for the Biennale! Of course, we were all super excited by the idea. Not only did it mean that we were getting a much needed break from our mandatory daily attendance of dance performances, but it also meant that we got to escape our currently life consuming “modern” box. We could break out of our shells a little and use Salsa to take us a little closer to party dancing and jazz dance and the other forms we also adore. It was totally necessary, and I wonder how Wendy knew it was exactly what we all needed.

In any case, when it finally began, we were in a Dancers’ Heaven! In fact, it probably took less than three minutes for us to all assemble at the front and center of the group and be the first to heave our bags/jackets into a pile on the ground behind us. No, nothing was going to distract us from doing our best. The instructor, a tall dark man whom happened to be from Cuba, was absolutely perfect! He had a great personality and was surely having a lot of fun up on stage while he taught the crowd assembled in front of him. The best part was probably that he was very interactive when it came to the audience. He’d point out individual members to help correct their movements or give them positive reinforcement. He even clapped for dancing children and tried to wave over more people to join in on the fun.

At one point near the beginning of the lesson, he attempted to get the audience to do more than just follow along. Instead of allowing the members to solely copy his movements, he also wanted them to say the names of the motions as they practiced them. Being a dancer, I know that this is a common technique in dance education that is used in order to ensure that the individual “learning” the intended material is in fact retaining it. Of course, since we were unable to communicate in French, we originally ignored his request, but he was being very insistent and convinced us that he would not teach us any new steps unless we were vocal. So, as if we had taken the time to plan it out, we all had the exact same idea at the exact same time. In unison, we began shouting out the English translation for the steps as we performed them! When he finally turned around to face us, he was looking out into the audience with an extremely confused expression, and we all just burst out laughing. Obviously, this set the mood for the remaining period of time, and at the end of all of the dancing fun, we made our way over to the stage to take some photographs with our new favorite Salsa teacher!

Afterwards, Wendy informed us that we all did an amazing job, and we were glad to hear it. Apparently, since she was participating in the dance lesson from a little further back in the thick of the crowd, she spent a great deal of time watching us. According to her, this wasn’t very hard at all because we basically stuck out like sore thumbs. Not only did we pick up the combinations quickly and could transfer them to the other foot without any sense of hesitation, but we also all turned and moved on the very same beats of music. We were most definitely one united, dancing group of ladies.

So, children, the moral of the story is, if you need Salsa lessons, just ask one of the Lyon Ladies! We’re absolutely AMAZING. I swear it.

Avec l'Amour,

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