Dance Like No One Is Watching.

28 Sep
Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on Earth.

Mark Twain (Samuel Clemmons)

I remember the day when salsa changed for me. It was at about the 6-month mark, during a period of 6-days weekly salsa, half-way through a 12-hour salsa ritual. I was exhausted. Physically and mentally exhausted. My body was moving through patterns that only my muscles remembered. My mind had gone numb from exhaustion. This was the first time I danced salsa like no one was watching, not even myself.

That day was a turning-point for me, when I started to stop depending on my mental memory, and start trusting in, and flowing with my muscle memory. There have been other times, alcohol-induced, when I danced like no one was watching, but that was pre-salsa, and pre- partner dancing of any kind. But since salsa, with every dance before, and every dance since that day, with or without flow, I would have to admit that I am aware that there is always someone watching.

I am watching myself and my salsera partner, to see what shapes we make, and how we make these shapes. My salsera partner is watching. Neighbouring salsa gigolos and salseras are watching through their peripheral vision, to make sure we don’t invade each other’s space. Salsa gigolos and salseras, who are not dancing, are watching for their own purposes, or for no purposes at all, like those people who watch people at a sidewalk cafe. They are just salsera watching.

It is a tricky difference, I think, to dance like no one is watching, and pretending to dance like no one is watching. One is unaware, and one is aware. One is unaffected, and one is affected. I lead a salsera, so that she may look good, mostly to me, but also to whoever else may be watching. It is not just what feels good, but also what looks good, or at least what looks good to me. I would have to admit that I consider both looks and feel.

Then there are those times, when there is a good mix of music, the perfect mix of salsera, a tenuous balance of crowd, heat, and humidity. When connection is just right, and salsera is just right. I am watching salsera, and salsera is watching me, and we are watching each other, and everyone and everything else seems to zone out, and we dance like no one else is watching. Or at least we pretend we don’t care if they are.

Salsa Gigolometer 120


One Response to “Dance Like No One Is Watching.”


  1. All The Dancefloor Is A Stage. « Salsa Gigolo in TO - April 16, 2010

    […] that one of the main pleasures of social salsa is the performance aspect. It’s more fun to dance like no one is watching », when you have an […]

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