I’ve done dancing on and off since I was a kid, yet when my friend and I travelled in South America the locals told us we danced liked poles.
And they didn’t mean in a sexy pole dancing way, but in a rigid inanimate object kinda way. Years of jazz and hip hop hadn’t taught me latino hips. I was apparently, doing it all wrong. I was devastated.
Nightclub upon nightclub the feedback was always the same. Our olive skin and curly hair didn’t disguise us. “Where are you from?” they could tell we weren’t locals as we looked so funny dancing.
Upon returning to New Zealand, we quickly sought to rectify this. One beginner salsa lesson at a time, we were inducted into the ways of Latin dance. It’s all in the hips. And slowly but surely my “pole” dancing was rectified.
My Kiwi personal space bubble was also quickly destroyed. Here in NZ, we have a rather large personal space boundary – don’t get too close! Yet this didn’t go so well with the Latin dancing. They dance close and intimately. While I initially hated Salsa for this reason, I found my space bubble quickly shrunk, and I was happy to be flung around the dance floor.
A year of Salsa under my belt I went back to South America. The transformation was amazing. I danced my way across all the local dance floors, and nightclubs and was showered in compliments by locals who couldn’t believe I was from New Zealand not a Latina.
Funny to think how all this inspired my dancing today. Call me a Latino at heart but I still love the dance and the culture. It’s vibrant, it’s exciting, but most of all it’s fun.
Now I just need to master actual pole dancing.