La profesora of salsa


Tomorrow Captain Cool and I will be partaking on our first long sail together. We are taking the boat from Cartagena, Colombia to St Petersburg, Florida. It will be 10-15 days of open sea sailing and I can’t wait! Here is my ending story about my time in Cartagena…

A bright bouncing ball of energy that floats in different speeds from one end of a room to the next, filling up the space with strong mixed emotions. You know the saying, you either hate or love something or someone. I would like to think in her case, it’s mostly love. 

I will never forget the first time I saw the Nutcracker ballet. I went with my Mom and my best friend from the neighbourhood. From that moment on, I wanted to be a ballerina. My parents thought otherwise and while I never took a dance class until my adult years, it never stopped me from dreaming or dancing in my own style. 

I find dance one of the most beautiful expressions of emotion that humans have created. Especially with the right kind of music. I suppose they go hand in hand as without music, dance wouldn’t have been created! Dance can evoke sadness, excitement, anger, passion, grace, honour, happiness, pride and the list goes on. I remember seeing my friend Kim do a beautiful dance in a play she was in. It was so moving I cried long past the scene ended. She and her partner danced it so well that no words were necessary to convey the message. Here in Latin America, when I watch the different styles of dance, I am filled with an incredible energy of passion, happiness and sensuality. I envy to move my hips like they do. It truly is beautiful. 

An ex-crew member of CC arrived about six months ago and after a night out of salsa dancing that looked more like we were trying to have a physical fight without anyone noticing, CC suggested we take lessons from her. She was a professional dancer and learned how to dance before she could walk. She danced tango in a show at the age of 3. Thirty years of dancing has given this woman some serious talent. 

At first I said no. I was embarrassed by my gringa hips, she scared me a little bit when I first met her and she talks so fast I can only catch about three words every five minutes. Then we kept running into her randomly and she started to warm on me. Plus, I took it as a sign. So I agreed and she has now won a special place in my heart which is hers forever. She taught me how to FEEL sexy when I dance. We’re still working on looking sexy!!

Now CC and I take lessons from her a few times a week, we dance wherever is free, often times on the street as Cartagena is never short of music coming from a shop, house, bar, restaurant or night club! La professora as I call her now knows my moods through the way I dance and teaches me little moves to look (or at least attempt) sexy and professional. 

Classes are organised by us riding our bikes or walking to her place, which is a room in a huge mansion in need of maintenance, but still showing her former glory. We shout for her from the street and she comes bouncing out to the balcony with a big smile on her face and yells down what day is good. Always 6 p.m. because the sun has set and it’s slightly less hot. I bounce away from the house smiling, wondering what she will teach us in the next lesson. 

In fact, at this current moment when I’m sick of the heat and smell of Cartagena, the empty lost souls that fill the marina and streets, the lack of work which has given us a sedentary lifestyle, the same boring non-routine we do every day just waiting waiting waiting, she is the cool sunshine which brightens my week, re-energises my soul and awakens my childhood dream. Who can’t love a person like that?

P.S. If you’re in Cartagena and looking for dance classes, send me an email. She’s the best!!!