I'd like to talk briefly about my dance partner in San Francisco, Aisha Gorson.
A second-generation dancer, she has extensive knowledge in Brazilian Samba, Salsa, African, Afro-Haitian, Hip-Hop, Flamenco, and Belly Dance. She currently teaches children dance back home in the Bay Area.
Looking back at the four years I spent rehearsing and performing with her, I was too caught up in other BS to truly appreciate her talent and level-headedness. After leaving San Francisco and being able to look at things from a better perspective, I realized she regularly put up with a lot of my bullshit when she didn't really have to.
About a year or two ago, I emailed her with the following message:
[I] Just wanted to let you know that while I've been teaching up here [in Portland], I've shown the clip of us dancing at The Beat (2009) to show how fluid and subtle a follower's arms and posture can really be. That clip has become a really good teaching tool for me.
I never got a response.
I saw her in San Francisco this past February; it was the first time I'd seen her since I moved to Portland. We hugged hello and danced a song. I then brought up the email I sent her, and she said she never got it. I reiterated what I told her in the email, then added that I never should have let other people change my general disposition.
In the end, I'm glad she never saw the email, because I felt better telling her face-to-face. As she always does, she responded with the grace that only she can display, and let me know that it was water under the bridge.
See you next February, Aisha!
This month marks the 10-year Milestone since I took my first Casino Class.
Holy ***t, has it been that long?
I find myself looking back a lot; mainly since I'll be celebrating another milestone for my birthday in February.
I could bore you with a bunch of paragraphs about how I started Casino, learned from so-and-so, how some of the things I've posted seem random and don't make sense (I blame my willingness to do things differently and try to draw from all aspects of my life), etc., but instead, I'll go with this anecdote:
A friend of mine, Marlena*, told me about her experience at the Salsa Rueda Festival in 2014 (I did not attend that year). She was excited to dance with one of the more popular dancers, Darren*, who also has a number of popular YouTube videos, as well.
I was so excited to meet him in person. I asked him to dance, but he reluctantly said, "Yes," and I can tell he wasn't really excited to dance with me at all. The dance itself was horrible. He was totally disinterested in dancing with me. It was nothing like I thought it would be.
I think you know what I'm getting at here.
I'll end this blog with a quote from His Airness, Michael Jordan:
To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don't isolate.
(And yes - I do see the irony here, since Jordan could be a prick, as well.)
*Names changed to preserve anonymity.
The philosophy behind good social dancing, leading, following, and topics that discuss more than just Salsa Cubana.