Having ballroom dancing experience, I've been gently mocked at short-term salsa class that I took, and the despise to LA salsa as not the authentic one was always on the table(or should I say floor?) and in the air, that it must have gotten its way into my system. Yet here I was, in Shanghai no way out but to digest the new style and adapt it. It's now that the winds have shifted: you can dance everyday. literally. As well as degree of awareness about other types of salsa is higher, after all I've even come to appreciate LA dancing-- the more you absorb, the edgier and sided your own style will be eventually. But that's not the point.
Dancing 'con sabor' is the real point, and its such an exotic bird here, I'd have to call it extinct some time soon, I guess. What Shanghai salsa certainly lacks is dancing culture. Interaction during the dance, enjoyment, damn it. Instead of dancing WITH and FOR the partner, once coupled guys and ladies start to perform endless 'showing-off parade'. 'More turns', 'faster', 'oh look everyone, i'm so fucking awesome', 'shit you dance bad, I should start 'guy-hunting' for the next dance right away' etc.etc. It's too much about the looks and 'technique' that stands in a way of listening to the music to differ or even care about it( Although I should say that in most cases, if it's not a live band or some latino in charge of music, sometimes it seems that if a dead rises and hears it, he would fall back to sleep rather than be raving back to life dancing).
Sure, people coming to salsa parties do differ and certainly have ideas and goals very distinct to mine. All there is, I really dance to feel free ( no rolling-eyes on the cliche, please). The feeling, that you can stop minimizing, making yourself seem smaller in all available senses, feeling that you breath in and living on top of your powers. It's something like you can scream out every word that hadn't been said and every action you regret not taking. Seriously, that's what it is for me and for some very short moment dancing really can give you all that. Of course if you are not too busy pretending.
Now there's another unsettling thing: it's easier to be a guy. Don't fight me on this, these days if a guy dances passably fine, he's a catch. But it's not the same if the girl dances great, (let assume even awesome to be followed exactly in different manners with different partners), aiii no! , no value in that. I've seen that on many levels and on numerous occasions. It's like that in my country: hunt, or stand aside all the time. It's like that in Shanghai now. Not that its very sad or stands in a way of enjoying the night out, but it's big enough to bug many ladies for karma being a bitch.
However it was not at these times, that I had met my best partner in China so my opinion is not overshadowed by simple no-way-out situation. Since salsa is my escape window, I really danced quite a lot to say the dances you remember are with those people, whom you can have fun with. And I've had those mostly with people who later turned to be my friends (rarely) or leave Shanghai ( which outbeats in frequency) or both at the same time. Anyway, dances with Monica, who later became one of my dear friends (fuck the distance!) are those dances I miss the most. She's a very something lady, who dances the guy's part in a way that others fail the comparison in all senses. It's a play. A connection. A sense of rhytm and care which allows you enjoy every bit of the song, wishing for it to be endless. It's feeling of uniqueness, because you really can't dance the same learnt stuff with everyone, and a good lead would try to listen and define the style\level of follower rather then mindless\careless repeating of figures in 'who is cooler chase'. Anyway those who danced with Monica, would agree on that I guess. Now this is not a piece of writing of sad\angry\bored person uncapable of enjoying. Is waiting for winds to change, and while waiting, I would probably aim to become that lady dancing guy's part myself. Not the worst resolution for 2015, ha?
Aquí se enciende la candela aquí se baila como quiera
Aquí se enciende la candela aquí se baila a su manera