Gringos can’t dance salsa

This is an apology to the woman of Mexico, and the rest of the general population for that matter.

I can’t dance. Lo siento mucho.

To be fair, I have been known to bust out a killer ‘crank that soulja boy’ after too many cervezas, but let’s get real, no one wants to see that. Imagine a tall tree being buffeted by a gust of wind, its branches shaking awkwardly while its trunk slightly sways to one side, not a bad analogy considering my 6’6 height and inherent lankiness.

My physical awkwardness on the dancefloor and my preference for sitting and enjoying a beer has lead to many a night of me drumming the beat of the song on my pint glass, while my friends return from the floor sweating and laughing.

So I can’t dance, so what? Well I am moving to Mexico City, and if it’s anything like the rest of Latin America that I have visited, that’s going to be a problem. There is something that Latin Americans are born with, maybe its something in the water, maybe its the strength of the sun, maybe its the music that floats along the breeze, but oh boy can Latin Americans move! When the music starts something subconcious and primal bubbles up within their chests, it makes their legs move and their bodies glide, they become conduits for the drum beat, and harmonize the melody with the movements of their bodies.

When I hear Spanish music I get a similar feeling, I feel something bubble up inside me and my bodie itches to move along with the music. When the Spanish guitar strikes up for a song, when the horns scream for a salsa, when the drums start to collide for a cumbia, when the “dem bow” of reggeaton revererbarates off the walls, I want to move. When I listen to the sultry rythmes of Los Cafres, the fast paced beats of Calle 13, when the DJ plays Lovumba, Kudoro, Rayos del sol, or any popular Spanish club song, I want to get up and move. And don’t get me started on Brazilian tunes, any time I hear the words “Nossa! Nossa!” Or “tche cherere” from Michel Telo and Gustavo Lima respectively, I am transported back to my favourite bars in the Barrio Bellavista of Santiago.

I realize that most of the songs and artists I mentioned are cheesy and superficial, but something about popular Latin American music is so much more infectious than what we have here in Canada.

Will I learn to dance? Maybe, I’d like to say yes but I know I will grasp for any excuse I can to avoid it. For now I will just have to continue to sit with a cold beer and drum along on the table, admiring the people who seem to be born with music flowing through their veins. And as I write this from my phone, plummeting north on the highway towards my family’s cottage and deeper into the cold and snow of Ontario, I look forward to letting the warm sun and sounds of Mexico flow over me while I sit and enjoy a cold beer.

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One thought on “Gringos can’t dance salsa

  1. Pingback: Tomorow I stop.. but tomorrow | thewanderlustking

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