Most of the life lessons and dance etiquettes I have learnt were through dancers on the dance floor the hard way, as I couldnt afford a class then. I still regret that I dont have a mentor to guide me through the right way and criticize me when I go wrong. But as a challenge it is, I used every one around me as a motivation and inspiration to learn something new everytime I go dancing! Its been a long time consuming process but it has worked well over time, as they say slow and steady wins the race. I have learnt to take critisism from everyone in a very constructive way luckily that helped a lot to keep improving over time and I still do!
I was relatively new to salsa scene in the Busy Edinburgh salsa community! When I discovered about the salsa in the city, I chose to go for the Saturday nights at CUBA NORTE in Haymarket (which is no more there now though). I started dancing in September 2007 as I mentioned in the previous blog.
It was sometime in December before the Christmas, another regular salsa night on a Saturday! It was busy and crowded as usual. DJ Orlando was playing the best of his music (and he still teaches and plays in Edinburgh). I walked up to an extremely beautiful and sexy dancer clad in bright red dress for a dance. She was moving so good that I couldnt resist but to ask her for a dance. She with a big beautiful smile, agreed and we had a great dance, or thats what I thought! She seemed to enjoy the dance as well. At the end of the song, she acknowledged me and stopped to say something. "You dance really well but your hold is quite tight which could be avoided. You need to be FIRM but also GENTLE at the same time". Thats important tip for every lead afterall, that someone on the dance floor told me! Well, that could affect the ego of the guy and could shatter the little confidence to go ask another person for a dance again! But, she was very sweet enough to ask me immediately for another dance just so I dont get offended. We had another dance and she thanked me well, again at the end of the dance. She never came back anytime soon as she went to Greece to spend the Christmas! Maybe if she hadnt done that, I would have stopped dancing as I would felt embarrassed and intimidated with myself for my rough lead!
As a teacher now, I make sure that all my students, lead well, firmly but GENTLY that no women would end up complaining about the lead! And my students have never disappointed me in that aspect!
Her name is CONSTANTINA. She is from Greece. She is a phenominal Belly dancer, and she dances tango and salsa socially so well that she has been one of my favourite dancers during my stay in Edinburgh! She came back in Jan 2008 and bumped into me again, at MEDINA, the most popular club on Mondays for salsa then, and we danced again and she complimented that I had improved so much ever since we danced! I had taken her critisism way to seriously that I had improved those weeks.
She also was part of my show at the Prestigious EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL in 2008 (video below), where she performed Belly Dance. She is right living now in GREECE and living a calm life and hope she is still dancing a bit. I havent been in touch with her in a long time now. But would love to visit her one day to thank her for the favour she did.
Lesson for the LEADS: Lead firmly but GENTLY
Lesson for the FOLLOWERS: Bad leads turn into good dancers one day, so dont be rude to them. Everyone starts of a beginners and as bad dancers until they become good!