Monday, May 7, 2012

(Not) Dancing in Boston

I took a bunch of salsa dance classes in Minsk and started going out regularly to the local dance club. I’m a morning person, so I’d get there early and leave early. I had a lot of fun and got good enough that I didn’t feel too boring as a partner. Earlier I took some salsa classes in Boston, but didn’t have so much fun. They didn’t turn us loose with partners very often and we spent most of each lesson drilling basic steps so we could do them with the precision of the Bolshoi Ballet. (No women for you until you can dance like Baryshnikov!)

When I got back to Boston this time I e-mailed the owner of the studio where I’d taken lessons and asked if I could try out for a higher level. I don’t think she likes me. She wrote back and said I’d be welcome to return to level two and at the end of the month she’d see if I could advance. I am happy to report that at the end of the month I am heading back to Belarus. No thanks, then, on the dance classes.

I’d heard about Salsa Sundays at a jazz club relatively close to home, so I looked them up on the internet. Ryles offers free dance classes for beginners at 6 p.m., and somehow I got the impression that general festivities started around 7:00. I arrived at 7:45 and found three couples still getting their free dance lessons. They hadn’t reached the point where music seemed necessary, and the instructor was counting out moves and the students struggled with the steps. Uninterested, I went across the street to a coffee house and drank a pot of tea. By the time I had drunk my tea, sent two e-mails and read ten chapters of the Bible on my phone, I decided it should be safe to return to Ryles.

When I got back at 9:00 I really hoped the salsa party had moved upstairs because all I could see downstairs was one couple dancing and three women sitting at a table chatting. Nope. The staircase was blocked. I was looking at the whole party, and I then realized that the lone male dancer was also the disk jockey, dance teacher and cashier. To be fair, I had heard from one person that she usually arrived at Ryles around ten o’clock. Apparently she gets there at the beginning. I should have realized this, because I know that the Tuesday evening dance party doesn’t start at all until that time. But as I said, I’m a morning person and I wanted it to be like Minsk, where enough people show up early that I can go home at 10:00 satisfied that I’ve already had plenty of fun.

In this case, I’d already been away from my slightly-frustrated wife most of my allotted time. And even if I got permission to stay out later, I wouldn’t stay out terribly late because I’ve got stuff to do in the morning. I couldn’t bring myself to spend the ten-dollar cover charge in order to find out if those three women actually knew how to dance, nor could I commit to staying out late on a Sunday night.

I miss my friends in Minsk.

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