Project Dissertation

I moved to this fabulous city three years ago mainly to; be near an airport for travel, be able to not trade my stilletos for trainers, and to finish my doctoral studies in four years. Yes, that pretty much sums up my priorities at 30. So now I am ABD with nine months to go and San Francisco is no easy city to ignore. Although, I would argue that each experience that deters my academic writing is really just needed inspiration. Welcome and I hope you enjoy...

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Bilingual, Bicultural, and Dual Citizen. J School B.A., M.A. in High Incidence Disabilities, & ABD in Education.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Salsa in the City

I have avoided salsa dancing since I moved to the city. If someone asks me if I know how to salsa I quickly say no. Am I open to taking a lesson with them, double no. The last thing I need is to dance with a man I thought was sexy, but is an absolute weak lead. From my brief exposure, a good salsero does not care if you can dance or not- you will dance.

In salsa dancing, I have learned to follow. I know it is closely related to the cumbias I grew up dancing, but different. Growing up my Peruvian and Costa Rican friends would invite my family to their parties and again, I saw the warmth and the ambiente, the love of the music, and sense of family was present: The merengue, cha cha cha, mambo, and salsa were different.

Dancing and music have always been in my family. Walking home and dancing in the streets to a live Tambora band at the Feria de San Marcos. Mariachis and trios at quinceaneras, bautizos, and weddings. Los Dj's and conjuntos sharing dance floor time at all the weddings. The sets of music changing I never knew when I was asked to dance if I had just accepted a cumbia, a banda, a pegadita, or whatever else was about to play. I just followed.

As my grade school and college friends got better at their dances, I just decided salsa was not in my Mexicos collective memory.

I took a rooftop lesson once in Santa Monica, like I said- a weak lead, muy un sexy. Then I dated a Cubano and wow, I never danced so well. He moved to Miami and that ended my LA run at Floriditas and the salsa scene.

Now that I think of it, I have no luck with the Cubanos, the one I went out with last spring also moved to Miami. It is beautiful, having been twice myself I can appreciate it but prefer California.

So, my girlfriends have mentioned Cocomo's to me on several occasions: Since they wanted to take the one hour lesson, and I did feel like dancing I agreed.

What a beautiful night. I felt like I was in another era. The band stand accommodated Pepe y Su Orq. Peru perfectly. The airy wooden dance floor was full of salseros. I did not say no to anyone, but definitely would not say yes two a second dance with a few. I enjoyed the chivalry, the exhilaration of dancing well, being able to follow, at least for an evening.


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