The palms of my hands were already moist when I stepped into dance class Thursday night for my first salsa lesson at Universidad VERITAS.
Arriving in Tico Time, I got to class fashionably late and found about 15 fellow students had started to learn basic steps of the salsa and bachata. Just like back home in the States, the women outnumbered the men about four to one.
Although I walked in with confidence from the Swing dance lessons I had taken in the past, my Norwegian ancestors had only equipped me with the dance moves necessary for a polka and the rhythm necessary to walk in time with a march. More complicated steps and rhythms have always been a challenge.
I tiptoed past the other students into the far corner of the art studio converted into a dance classroom. There I could catch up without being seen by the rest of the group.
We started with a basic warm-up, moving our shoulders backwards and loosening up our hips. The song Mambo No. 5 by Lou Bega came on and our instructor excitedly motioned for us to couple up.
There was only one guy who came to class, so a lot of girls coupled off to practice the moves together. Luckily, our instructor’s husband walked in just at that time and offered to dance.
He started dancing with his wife, and when they danced, it looked like they were professional dancers in the movie “Dirty Dancing.” They spun around to the beat of the music, and demonstrated the steps we were to follow.
We practiced a few times individually, just getting a hang of the beat. Then, when the time came for us to switch couples, her husband started walking over towards me. I gulped down a nervous breath of air and placed my hands in his. I didn’t know what to do, but when I danced with him it was effortless. He led with such confidence and skill, that I magically spun around without stepping on anyone’s feet. It was so fun!
We switched partners a couple more times, and I was able to carry over what I had learned with my first partner to others. By no means, was I professional after that, but I definitely became more confident and comfortable with the steps.
Spinning around in that art studio that night was definitely one of the highlights of my week, and I would highly recommend other VERITAS students to do the same! It’s a great way to meet new people and just have a great time.
Written by Abby Reese, Social Media Journalist