Dancing Secrets for Men Only….
Today was the crowing of grandmothers from all the different areas around town at DIF, the Senior Center I’ve taught dance at for four years. In my mind it’s the Grammys (pun intended). Getting crowned is a fashion show, concert, dance exhibition and all around good time for the grandmothers’ friends and families.
The Senior Center part of DIF is about to move up to near the public hospital. Now, I can dash from a tour and teach a class in about fifteen minutes. With the move it will take me about an hour on the bus and walking making me volunteering not an option coming off tours. That, in and of itself, is OK as all opportunities come to end and you need to be secure in the knowledge that the next opportunity is simply waiting for your arrival.
The same week classes I taught in Escobedo through the Cultural Center there came to a sudden close. Concurrent endings of dance classes made me ponder what I learned.
Most important, I think, is that as a man (whether a teacher or student) you’ve got to like ladies to succeed at dance. I don’t mean that in a sexual way, though I suppose that helps. I mean, to be a good partner a lady needs to view you the way I use to view the rides at Hershey Park as a kid. Namely something you want to ride for the twists, turns, sudden fear and laughter. Men dancing are the roller coaster providing the thrills but not the center of attention.
Today at the Grandmother Pageant I got to dance with two partners of many years, Dona Gouda and Lupita Bonita. I know what their limits are and how to make them feel like the most alluring gal in the room whom everyone is focused on. It’s great fun.
Then there are presentations where I’m paired with some of the best female dancers in town. The Doras, Soriayas and Noemis of this world take a choreography I’ve been working on for weeks and not only learn it in an hour, but make it better than I ever could. Again, they are the center of attention but I’m in the game completely if only to keep up with them and lead them where they need to go to shine.
Then there ladies at the other end of spectrum. Maggie has been coming to class at DIF for years and with certain mental limitations so she’ll never get any better than she was the first day of class despite being only in her early thirties. However, I know if I hold her with the affection and grip my dog reserves for a bone, she’ll, somewhat, follow me. If nothing else she enjoys the music and dancing. Today, on stage, I got her to do a cha cha where we raise our hands at certain points. Not only did she but she was having a blast as I complimented her every move making her smile and laugh. I have no clue how my other students performed or if the audience even noticed we were on the stage. All my energy was focused on her having fun and feeling like a Star.
I do much the same every Saturday night with private lessons for a neighbor in her eighties. She’d like most to free dance danzon but I force to spend the first part of the class teaching her a new pass or practice how to use her fan feeling trying something new physically, to music, will sharpen her health and mental prowess. Then we’ll do some free dances where she looks at me with the glassy eyed adoration I’ve only seen when dancing with my daughter when she was a toddler. Like with my daughter, Lupita thrives having my complete attention doing something she loves. And much like when my toddler learned a step, Lupita takes great pride in knowing when to flick open her fan to the music. Instead of danzon ditties my daughter preferred the theme song to Gilligan’s Island or the Brady Bunch, but it’s great, for me, to experience that kind of adoration again.
My point is lads, yes, you can learn to dance to meet your next gal pal, lose weight, improve your cat-like reflexes or simply socialize a bit. However, if you always focus on making her have fun, no matter her age or talent level, you’ll be the most in demand ride in the park!