If you’ve been following Operation Salsa, you know that I started private salsa lessons in March with a local salsa DJ, Brian. For our first meeting, we danced for a few songs so Brian could get a sense of what I could do, how I moved, and what I needed to work on. After each song, Brian would say something like “That was pretty good for an American” or “That was good, for a gringa.” I finally stopped him and said “Okay, here is my goal: I want you to say ‘That was good.’ Period.”
My personal goal, set at that very first lesson, was for Brian to judge me as being just plain good. I didn’t want to be judged on a special scale for non-latinas.
It’s now September. After a 2-month hiatus from lessons (due to my busy work, travel, and visitor schedule), Brian and I finally met again. As usual, we started by just dancing to a song to warm-up, without focusing on any particular move. This was our conversation after our first warm-up dance:
Brian: How long has it been since we danced together?
Me: For a lesson? A couple months.
Brian: You’re good!
Me: For an American?
Brian: No. You’re GOOD!
Brian: You know I DJ four nights a week, and I dance a lot when I’m at the clubs too. But it’s hard to find girls who are good. Really good. Who know how to dance, know how to follow and can do a lot of turns with me. But you can. You’re GOOD!
(and then I proceeded to jump up and down, squealing and clapping my hands)
Finally! No qualifications, no “gringa handicap.” I’m just plain good! 🙂