I started dancing Salsa in Edinburgh in September 2007. I was there till end of Jan 2009 before I came back to India. It's more than a decade since I started dancing but I have so many memories fresh like a morning flower in my head, from those days. Each of them impacted me so much to be a person I am now today!
Pic: On the way to Calton Hill, Edinburgh on 20 Nov 2008.
I was very hesitant to ask a lady, when I started dancing. I could blame that on the culture I grew up with, respectful yet shy! Slowly I started to ask women on the dance floors week after week and I am pretty much dancing for every song, every day of the week all through the month at various clubs that play salsa in Edinburgh! Every day would be an exaggeration but it was 4 days a week on an average.
I loved dancing with everyone as all of them were very nice and polite to me when I started and I feel grateful to all of them. I had a lot of favorites and I started to think I was getting better with each week.
When I started dancing, I go to the socials, I dance with everyone and I come home after. I was very much of an introvert and I made very little friends. A year later, I made so many friends in one year in a foreign country than I had in 22 years in my own country!
As a year passed, hundreds of dancers and thousands of dances went by. I also had real good friends with whom I can talk a lot of things, and 2 of my dance partners/ friends told me over 2 different conversations that they still remembered the first dance with me! I felt very proud about myself and out of curiosity, I asked them how was it! They said "HORRIBLE", though I was one of their favorites by then.
I had to agree, as I know I was a horrible dancer when I started. I was curious to know why they agreed to dance with me happily every time I asked them. They both had the same answer that I had this happy smile while dancing.
I enjoy dancing and I cant hide it. I also realized how much it affects the person you are dancing with. Everyone walks into the floor after a long day of work, or stress. All they want is a be surrounded by happy people and good music and possibly some good dances. Since then how good or bad a dance can be 'technically', I will never forget to smile because I want to feel happy and I want my partner to feel happy dancing with me and there was no dance that I felt sad or bad, after dancing with someone ever!
I have been to over 50 festivals in different countries and danced in a lot of local salsa nights. All the best dances I remember are the ones with those beautiful happy smiles and the best nights are those with happy people around. Smile is not a compromise to your learning or techniques but it plays an important role in dancing, that keeps reminding you why you even started dancing!
At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel good and happy. A little genuine happy smile of yours could make someone's day!
Next time, you step into the dance floor, along with your pretty clothes and dance floor, wear your smile too!