Tag Archives: Awful Dancer

The Worst Four Minutes of My Life

2 Apr

Last week I wrote about some of the GADs (God Awful Dancers) that can almost make you want to call it quits in your dancing career.

That post actually started out with me thinking about the worst dancing experience I ever had and the article took a slightly different turn. So this week I though I’d tell you about the horrifying event that inspired last weeks article.

Once upon a time…
… in a far away kingdom called Colombia, in the sultry heat of a city called Cali, there was a Dancing Irishman.

I was relatively fresh off the boat, having only arrived in the city a couple of months previously but I was already fairly familiar with the dance scene in the city. I was far from being a great salsa-caleña dancer but I could definitely hold my own in the clubs where a few basics will get you far.

It all started when a buddy of mine asked me to join him and his girlfriend on a night out dancing. To be more specific he told me that he “needed” someone to accompany his girlfriend’s sister. It’s normal in Colombia (unlike salsa scenes in non-Latin countries) for people to go out in groups or couples and just dance with the people in their group for the night. So it’s usually better to have an even number of guys and girls when going out in a small group.

My buddy told me that he really needed someone to dance with his girlfriends sister because they just “had to” take her out that night. That should have been my first warning.

Me being the (foolishly) friendly guy that I am, I said something that I would later regret for the rest of my life…”Sure”.

Who could say "No"?

Who could say “No”?

La Noche de Horror
The night arrived and we went to what’s called a “Cross-over” club just outside the city limits. A “Cross-over” club is one that plays a mix of different latin music sytles like salsa, bachata, merengue, reggaeton, cumbia and vallenato as opposed to “salsotecas” which just play salsa.

We all hung out a bit and chatted and drank at our table for a while until eventually my buddy took his girlfriend out for a dance. Seeing as her sister wasn’t much of conversationalist I figured that now would be as good a time as any to take her out for a dance.

We walked onto the quite crowded dance floor, I put my right hand on her back and with my left hand grabbed her right. I listened to the music, a nice standard salsa that I had danced to may times before and when the timing was right I gave her a gentle push back to start.

Nothing.

My initial thought was “What the fudge?”. I tried again and once more she was having none of it.

She then started her own “basic step”. It took me about 5 seconds to realize that this was not going to be pleasant.

She started doing something with her feet that resembled a combination of merengue and drunken staggering. I would say that she was dancing on the wrong beat but that would imply that she was actually dancing on a certain beat in the music. That was not the case. This girl was marching to her own beat, a style of dance that hasn’t been created yet and if it ever is, will probably end up being called the “Drunken Monkey” or maybe the “Try and guess what I’m gonna do next”.

I tried to mirror what she was doing but there was genuinely no timing to her steps. I started grabbing at straws. I tried to bring her closer and change the steps to more of a circular closed style of dancing common in Cali, similar to close bachata. I figured if we were closer it would be easier for her to feel the rhythm from my body…

WRONG!
She clearly thought she knew what she was doing because she managed to distort the rhythm (and my body) to her own erratic beat once more. Every attempt I made to get us back on the beat was firmly subdued by unsmiling partner. Resistance was futile!

Even my attempts at a few simple turns to break the monotony were met with ridiculous wobbles and my arm nearly getting torn out of my shoulder socket by her vice like grip. She was being very clear: “I’m wearing the pants in this dance…bitch”.

I praised the Lord that the room was so dimly lit.

In the first 45 seconds of the song she had managed to reveal herself as a “Bossy Bertha”, “Lost Boy”, “Poker Face” and “The Claw” all rolled into one. I had met the “Anti-Dancer”!

At that stage I had realized that there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop this and, like many guys in prison shower-rooms, I was just going to have to take it like a man. I mentally shut down and tried to find a happy place in my head; someplace to hide for the remaining eternity (or 3 minutes, I’m not quite sure) of the song.

A “happy place” was not to be found but I did what I could to mentally distance myself from the the unspeakable horror that was being committed against me (and against dance in general). My legs went to automatic, but that’s not easily done when your trying to follow something that spits in the face of coordination.

I tried a couple of times to signal to the other dancers around me that I was in distress. I thought the look of pure despair on my face would convince some good Samaritan to put me out of my misery; maybe by throwing a bar stool at my head… or something equally effective. My pleas for compassion went unanswered.

I will be bringing one of these stickers with me for such emergencies in the future!

I will be bringing one of these stickers with me for such emergencies in the future!

Finally, just when I felt I couldn’t take any more and I might have try and pretend to pass out to get of the dance floor, that ray of light that is the wind-down in the music came to my hears and I screamed for joy internally, yelling to myself “You’ve done it lad. You made it. She can’t hurt you anymore”. The song ended and gave her the most untruthful smile and “gracias” that I have ever produced in my life.

I walked back to the table, frail from my ordeal.

There waiting for us was my buddy and his girlfriend. He pulled his chair next to mine and with a with a huge goofy smile, whispered in my ear “She’s a horrible dancer isn’t she”!

The Fall Guy
I then realized why it was so important that he find a partner for his girlfriend’s sister that night. Why I was so essential. He didn’t want to dance with her himself. I was the “Fall Guy”. Betrayed from the start by my own friend. I felt things couldn’t get any worse… until I remembered that that was our first dance and we still had a full night to go.

What about you guys? Have you had any horrible dance experiences yourselves? Let me know in the comments (seriously, it might make me feel better about how bad my experience was).

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Fiona Uyema

Japanese Cookbook Author

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