Thursday, October 2, 2008

Learning from Salsa

I knew I would be eating salsa in Mexico, but I hadn't expected to be dancing salsa.  Then we discovered the trimester program for Tom and I includes two extra cultural classes a week, and while Tom is eagerly anticipating cooking, it is salsa dance class right now.  On week four, we're into more complicated steps, occasionally at hyper-speed, depending on the song our teacher selects. I tell Tom to think of it as just a series of moves, like the football plays of his high school years.  And that it's good for him that an activity is easier for me than him, for once.

Maestro Herardo (or Suave to his friends) is an amazing dancer and teacher, with a quick sense of humor.  And don't he and Ester from Norway look good together in the photo? He has reinforced our directional vocabulary as he calls out in Spanish to turn left or right, and as he directs us in the warm-ups before class ("arriba, abajo, arriba, abajo, " as we're to look up and down to warm up our neck and head).  When we went to buy Dana a shoulder bag for school, Tom could describe what we were looking for because he learned the word for shoulder from dance class.

I can hum a few of the salsa tunes now, because we have the cd of the ones used in class.  We also listen to the University of Guanajuato radio station in the apartment, and of course they sometimes play salsa.  The U of Guanajuato station is also like student stations everywhere - it has classical shows and quite a few eclectic time slots where you might hear Mexican heavy metal and then a Spanish folk song.  In other eclectic music notes, Tom got the scoop on Mexican ska from some local folks and has a list of bands to purchase, we heard a five-piece Dixieland group and went to the symphony (they had a super dramatic guest conductor that the kids loved, and Smetner's Ciclo was very engaging), plus there is always street music here.  Now we wish we had our saxes and some of Tom's drums with us.

While we're in salsa class on the terrace at Escuela Mexicana for an hour in the evening a couple times a week, the kids are on site in a classroom trading off reading and using the computer.  Though they have been invited, they haven't ventured onto the dance class with us.  They would do great if they were up for dancing with the adults, such as dance and Spanish classmates Esther and Andrea from New Zealand, with me after class in the photo.  Esther says dancing salsa is not of her culture.  We joke that she is getting in touch with her inner Latina.

The next jump in our salsa education would be to go out to one of the dance clubs and practice our moves.  Tom and  I haven't yet, but we'll have to get brave (and a babysitter) at some point.  New moves and learning from salsa are all part of the adventure.

1 comment:

SirenMoon said...

Wow! That's sooo cool that you are learning to dance! What a well rounded education they offer there. I'm entertained to hear that Tom is having difficulty with dancing - you'd think with his sense of rhythm, it'd be a snap. I look forward to a demonstration of your moves when you get back!