Saturday, June 20, 2009

Music and Dancing

Today was a preparation for Ecuador. We went dancing at a club in Cambridge and had a salsa lesson to start. Eric and I have learned the salsa before and so it will not take long to get our dancing legs back. We plan to dance regularly in Ecuador!

I dragged Eric to his first dance class when I just met him in Salt Lake City, and he absolutely hated it. I was intrigued with the tango, but it was not the first type of dance to introduce to a novice who does not feel the rhythm. Pregnancy and a baby gave him a year or two reprieve, but when we moved to Baltimore we took a salsa class together and Eric enjoyed himself. Every several weeks the class would meet at a club and dance freely. I loved dressing up in my three inch heels and a flouncy dress, Eric in proper shoes and attire, and move with the music. Eric did well and kept adding more and more moves to his repertoire. I am not sure what happened, perhaps just life happened and we stopped going to clubs and improving our dance. Later I tried again to get him back into salsa, but he objected to the teacher and for a while I went alone and tried tango again,which continued to interest me but Eric refused to consider tango at all. Except once for Valentine's Day he took me to a tango demonstration/show with dinner which was amazing. We tried a ballroom dance class through Peabody in the fall of 2007, but again, Eric felt overwhelmed, and although he really did well, the teacher was confusing and was regularly frustrated with us for not learning as quickly or as well as she expected. That was the end of our dancing efforts until Monica brought us to Ryles in Cambridge for a lesson in 'East Coast Swing' and the salsa. The teacher was not inspiring, but once the dancing started, Eric and I began to remember a little and explored a bit and had fun.

This is one of my goals in Ecuador; we must dance and learn not just the salsa, but the cumbia, the rhumba, the merengue, the cha cha. I will insist that Maya learn too, since it is so much easier when one starts young, not so late in life. We were meant to dance, all cultures dance, it is a wonderful way to express oneself, and I have not been dancing enough lately.

Earlier in the day we had checked up on the ballroom competition in the Sheraton Hotel. The costumes were a hoot, but it was entertaining. I believe it was the teachers and their students competing, the men being the instructors and the women in sequins and bare backs ranging in age from 20's to 70's, certainly proving that dancing is possible into your late years!

So our year in Ecuador will include exposure to as much dance and music as possible, both traditional and folk as well as more current and modern. Part of our exploration of the culture and understanding of the 'soul' of Ecuador. I have listened to traditional Ecuadorian music and much of what I heard is very moving and anguished and sad. But I know so little and have so much to learn.