Friday 22 May 2009

Salsa, Salsa, how I Love to Salsa!

I used to go to dance classes when I was little, to ballet and to tap, so I’ve always enjoyed the experience of dance and movement. But I only discovered Salsa, my ultimate dance passion, when I visited Cuba for the first time. It was in Havana, in a bar in old Havana, that I took my first tentative steps. I was so enthralled that I signed up for lessons when I came back to England. I’m really good now.

It’s the sexiest dance ever, for more so, in my view, than tango, which is exciting but too formalised for my taste. It’s difficult to explain in words just how vibrant salsa is, and how sensous! To dance properly the body has to become super-supple; think with your body; think with your instincts, move and vibrate, as the music moves and vibrates. I spin, I kick, I shimmy, and I roll; my body turns to liquid. Even writing about it turns me on!


  1. In the poem ‘Dancer’ Jude Simpson sees life as a dance. A poet once wrote a beautiful verse about a lady, saying that even when she falls she falls gracefully. The Muse's dance is actually a dance that is to be feared, rather like the deadly satires of the Celtic bards were so feared that they were forbidden to utter them unless specifically commissioned to do so. Prophet Mohammadis reported to have said in a Tradition that

    This world shall not pass away until the buttocks of the women of Daws wiggle and grind into one another around the Dhu Al Khalasa and they worship it as they were wont to do [before Islam].

    (Imam Abu Abdullah Mohammad bin Ismael Al Bukhari. Sahih Bukhari).

    The Prophet Isaiah chided the Daughters of Israel for walking in this lascivious mincing style, rolling their eyes as they walked.

    And yet dancing is the very source of life. Jo Shapcott describes the Muse-dance most perfectly in one of her poems. The orbs, satellites, planets, stars, suns all dance in their orbits, every thing that lives praises its creator in a kind of harmonic dance, described also by Pope in his excellent poem 'An Essay on Man'. Animals such as the famous peacock dance when courting and the unique dance of the honeybee is described thus

    Comparing and analyzing all the information brought in by different surveyor bees has somehow to be done by the queen to judge the comparative merits of the site of her next colony. This information is conveyed to the queen by the surveyor bees in a manner which completely defeats comprehension. In fact the whole exercise is unique in the entire animal kingdom. It should have baffled the minds of the most advanced natural scientists as to how this strange communicative system could have come into existence without a designer and an executor. But do they ever ponder over these things, one wonders! Each surveyor when it returns to the colony performs a fantastic dance. Aligning itself in a precise direction it begins to convey all these messages through that dance and its directional posture to the queen. The information the dance communicates could not be conveyed better or more precisely in human language. It tells the queen what it has seen, where it has seen it, how far it is situated and how far from that site is an adequate floral field. It conveys the distance involved from the colony to the new site and from the new site to the floral field. It also describes the site itself in perfect detail, how well it is protected from natural interference, whether it is a hollow of a tree, a crevice in a rock or a spot on the stem of a tree well-surrounded by protective branches. Each surveyor takes its turn and the queen waits till all have finished. Only then does she decide what to do and takes flight in the exact direction of the site she has chosen.

    (Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad - Khalifatul Masih IV. Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth. Islam International Publications Ltd, 1998. 549, 550).

    Such sacred dancing is meant to work upon the subconscious mind as a Shamanic healing process corresponding exactly to the 22 paths of the Cabbala!

  2. "Dancing is the source of life"-how beautiful; how apt.