My dance studio started a ballroom dance class about six months before my last showcase. In that class, we learned salsa, swing, cha-cha, merengue, rumba… I remember that merengue was the most difficult because it involved shifting your weight in a way that was counter-intuitive to which foot was stepping and which knee was bending. I still get confused when I think about it.
For our showcase dance, we did a salsa number.
The instructor auditioned all of us for spots in a small group of dancers that would open the dance. Normally, I’m not a fan of auditions. I can’t handle the pressure and inevitably mess up. Of course, it occurs to me that this is the whole point of an audition, because performing in front of a live audience just magnifies that pressure exponentially. It’s like the purpose of the audition isn’t so much to prove that you’re “good enough” but rather to prove that you can handle the pressure. Hm. I literally just got that right now as I was writing.
So, we all had to audition for this opening group. The instructor told us she was looking for a lot of expression – that we needed to be interesting to watch. She may have used the word “sassy.” I can’t remember. I don’t know what clicked for me, but I channeled all of the inner fuego that my conservative homeschooled Protestant Caucasian self could muster and threw myself into that routine as though I had been dancing salsa since before I could walk.
I landed a spot in the opening group of dancers and got to salsa my heart out, in all of my red dress, feather boa, fishnet stocking glory.