Tonight, at Todo Latino, we had a free Samba class, from 19.30-18.30.
“Samba?” I hear you say. “But Jazzy, you write a Salsa/Bachata blog.” I know, I know, but (wo)man can’t live on Salsa alone, so we tend to have other teachers in from other disciplines to show our students a thing or two. The only bug bear is – that at this level, you find that intermediate students either tend to take to the new dance swimmingly, or flounder like a fish on dry land.
Lest you dismiss our students’ efforts though, you have to understand, it’s a bit like speaking Spanish for years, and then someone comes to you and starts singing to you in Portuguese. It’s all a bit white noise and static at first, but somehow, your brain then starts making associations and it’s on like Donkey Kong (what, you never played the video game?).
It’s the dance to the dreamy, intimate tones of Bossa Nova. It’s your mum humming bars to The Girl From Ipanema; remembering a time ago when summer stretched out till forever, and travelling abroad teamed with romance, liquid sunshine and a boy named Joao.
If you’ve ever watched the Brazilian carnivals (Rio de Janeiro) and see the people dancing in a circle, or in a line, punctuated with steps in two beats (you know, like when you do salsa, you do one, two, three then a pause, then five, six, seven pause? Well samba seems to be one two pause, then three four, pause. But remember, I can barely walk and chew gum at the same time, so have a ton of salt with my observation).
Samba is a sensual dance, and from my eyes, it’s seemingly a lot more organic than salsa. There’s a lot more leg movements and and a fair bit of undulations in the core. A lot more pronounced hip movements too. Ooh la, la, la.
Back to Salsa. For the past two weeks, Wilson has been playing a song in the Improver’s immediate Salsa class, and it’s been one of the best songs I’ve discovered this year so far. There’s the high, sweet note of a flute (well, it sounds like a flute), the quick, changing melody, anchored by the deep, dum dum of the beats. Every time that song is played, I literally try to force my body to dance the steps. Of course, it looks as if I’m in great pain, hobbling this way and that. With my hunched shoulders and shuffle, I daresay look piteous. Amanda, ever restrained, gently points out that I’m not dancing to the beat at all, but that’s nothing, really. I hear the music, and in my head, I’m a legend, with liquid movements, living in my body instead of doing the odd guest feature (like the odd run to the tram. Oy).
So you want to know this song? The song that makes me wish I could move, but it’s so good, that it tells me, no matter, as long as I love it, my soul is pretty much doing that ol’ one, two three, five, six, seven with verve and vim anyway? Let me present Pape Fall, African Salsa .
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