A good friend once told me that most of the people who get into salsa, do so because they are in some way, broken. Whether it’s from a failed relationship, workplace stress or simply lacking confidence; we all come to our level 1 classes searching for something. After spending many hours thinking about being broken, I suggest a revision to this concept and say that we’re not broken, but beautifully syncopated.
For those of you who aren’t as big of a music-theory geek as I am, the definition of syncopation is as follows:
Syncopation is a general term for a disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm; a placement of rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn’t normally occur.
More simply put, anything syncopated in a song doesn’t conform to the regular beats. Yknow when you hear the horns play at really odd times? that’s a syncopated rhythm.
Let’s get back to the subject at hand as having been feeling out of my element lately. Was I broken when I started? yes. Having gone through a life-altering break up, I was at a pretty low point. Overweight and about an ounce of self-esteem, I stumbled around learning my basics and that crazy ‘back-across-together’ move. I would go to socials and dance 1 or two times before feeling frustrated and heading home.
Something happened along the way, I think it was closer to the end of level 3, where I started meeting some pretty exceptional people who started charming their way into my crazy world. Next thing I know, I’m starting to say hi to more and more people and dancing perhaps, 10-20 times a night. It’s from these people that I realized that all of the stress from work, all of the hurt that haunted me from my past and everything that ails me; it just disappears.
While we may see ourselves as broken shells of who we used to/want to be; Salsa sees us as syncopated. We are
not cast-aways but simply people with rhythmic stresses or accents where they wouldn’t normally occur. What hasn’t killed us has only made us stronger dancers.
You see, it’s because of our stresses, our pain and remorse that makes us better dancers. Our inner demons arise and cause us to move and express ourselves in ways that we wouldn’t be able to anywhere else. I see people who you’d never suspect be great dancers start moving and just become beautiful.
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you of one day where they could barely go on and when the music hits them; they light up and feel amazing.
That happened to me today at Sunday Social. I had a weekend that pushed some old wounds to the surface, told me I was broken and made me believe it. Forcing myself to go to social, I saw some of my most favorite dancers, and they reminded me, through their dancing, that I am not broken; but beautifully syncopated.
So if you’re having a rough time lately, or feel isolated or frustrated that your life hasn’t turned out like you had planned… Join me on the dance floor for some serious group therapy. This is the salsa addiction centre, after all.
The dance floor is my rehab, break-backs are my 12-steps and coca-cola’s are my breakthroughs.
Stay Shining Salseros
Musically-speaking, salsa is bold, sexy and romantic but if you don’t understand Spanish, it’s very easy to miss that lyrically, the songs are written about heartbreak, pain and suffering. The Weeping Salsa, a play currently playing at the Zocalo Theatre (Queen & Dovercourt), exudes heartbreak, pain and suffering through a masterful combination of drama and dance. While at times I found the themes were on the dark and disturbing side, the acting, dancing and production were phenomenal, making the Weeping Salsa a great event for the salsa lover.