ain’t no shoes like dancing shoes

fun fact: my mom was a classically trained ballerina. she grew up in NYC and attended the School for the Performing Arts — you know, of the movie Fame fame? and then she danced with Ballet Russe for a while as well. yep, she was that good. i so wish i’d gotten to see her dance at the height of her ballerina-days.

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so, imagine her chagrin when she excitedly tried to get her little toddler daughter into ballet, only to be met with a disgusted response of “who would ever want to wear those frilly tutus and spin around?”

thus began my childhood of softball, soccer, gymnastics and swimming, with ne’er a dance shoe to be found.

i regret that bratty, tomboy response every day of my adult life. i mean, who knows what might have happened if i’d let her tuck me into a tutu and ship me off to ballet lessons? maybe i’d be twirling Juliets and Coppelias out of my bleeding toes these days.

okay, so maybe not. but a girl can dream.

even though i failed to pick up the ballet legacy, my brother and i were lucky enough to have dancing rhythm infused into our blood, and in 2009, we finally found our way of putting it to good use:

Latin dancing.

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yup, that’s right — i moonlight as a wanna-be salsera. ya know, in my free time. because i have a lot of that.

i’m not quite sure if it was the Latin bug that bit me when i went to the DR in 2007, or if it was my mesmerized obsession with Shakira’s hips (seriously, whattttt), but i absolutely fell in love with salsa and bachata after the very first lesson. Albany actually has a pretty decent little Latin dance scene, and prior to moving to NYC, i was dancing at least once or twice a week — and it was pretty much the highlight of my life at that point. i absolutely loved it.

let’s start with the shoes. i mean, seriously — what girl doesn’t want to learn to salsa just so she can justify buying a pair (or two — i mean, who can choose between silver or gold?) of these sexy, sparkly things?

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one of my favorite things about the salsa scene is how welcoming and wonderful the people are. it didn’t take long before Ryan and i were recognizable as the brother-sister newbies who were super eager to learn and had no problem laughing at themselves. the group has a truly genuine sense of community and is quick to make everyone feel at home, all united by the same two loves: dance and sparkly shoes.

when i first moved to NYC i was determined to stick with salsa and improve my beginner status by taking advantage of the plethora of studios here, and i did take lessons for a while at a pretty decent place right on my street. unfortunately, as life got busier and i added another grad program onto my full-time job, running and social life, dance got edged out. i still plan to get back into Friday night bachata at Club Cache, which is always a good time. but for now, i’m slowly easing back into it on my trips upstate.

i went back to a Capital Region Salsa Social this past Saturday night with my brother, and it was every bit as much fun as i remembered. i wish i’d taken pictures to document this event, but i was too busy salsa-ing and bachata-ing and seriously wishing i’d never stopped.

so now i have a goal for 2014: get back into this salsa scene. because there’s nothing like doing something you love and having it be something that totally challenges you at the same time. i firmly believe in being a lifelong learner and constantly stretching yourself to add new experiences to your life, and this is something that totally pushes me out of my comfort zone and puts me on cloud 9.

even when i’m stepping on people’s feet.
Question: What’s something you’re dying to learn, or re-learn, or add into your life?

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3 thoughts on “ain’t no shoes like dancing shoes

  1. OMG that’s so freaking cool! I wish I would have seen her dance too lol! I’m dying to re-learn piano. I played for about 10 years and regret quitting. I also would love to learn to sing, but I think that’s more of a you-have-it or you-don’t-have-it thing. I do not have it…

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