Música, maestro!

Last night Marin called me upstairs to watch Bailando por un Sueño, the Spanish equivalent to Dancing with the Stars. The two dances for the week appeared to be mambo (which I know nothing about) and (!) single-time swing.

Single-time swing kind of lost its luster for me once I started dancing lindy hop and west coast swing (I’ve since—sob!—forgotten my lindy); sure, you could dance single-time… but why would you want to?

Perhaps this is the first step towards dance snobbery; I don’t know. I still dance single-time—and, certainly, dancing with another person is fun, regardless of the dance—but when I do I’ll almost certainly feel like I should be doing more with the music than is really possible within the confines of that dance. Left, right, rock-step. That’s it.

I would say that it’s just a sign of my having a limited set of moves to perform, but that’s also the case in waltz. I love waltzing, and have absolutely no issue with my limited moveset (pardon my gaming-speak) there.

Oh, right, Bailando por un SueƱo. The two dances chosen struck me as odd, as you’ve probably now guessed: though I know nothing about mambo, my guess is that it’s not generally considered the same difficulty as single-time swing.

There was a giant hulk of a man, with a Hulk-like moustache, who you just knew was this show’s Master P. The difference was, this guy tried. He really put effort into his performance—and seeing a giant of a man honestly try to dance is a somewhat unique sight—but he just came up short in the end.

It’s probably the way I look when I dance. [ =P ] Some things just aren’t meant to be, I’m afraid.

To the Spanish variant’s credit, I did recognize some actual single-time moves in various couple’s dances; I think I maybe recognized one move (a nice one, from the waltz) from the multiple episodes of the American show that I osmosed from Marin.

I have strange tastes in what I like to see in others dancing, I guess, in that I’ve never been all that impressed with scripted routines—the places where it’s obvious that they’re just doing what they’ve memorized. (“Hell,” I’d think to myself, “given enough time even I could pull that off.”) What I really love watching is when you have a lead, and a follow, each doing the job prescribed by their title, and (pick at least one) looking good and/or having fun. [Yes, having fun can compensate for looking good. Seriously!]

People tend to think that the follow has a far easier job than the lead; that is poppycock! Following is an art that I’ll never master, whereas I have (to some degree) figured out leading. A lead has to know moves, be aware of the surroundings, and lead; a follow has to figure out what in the world the lead wants the follow to do, and then spin. As in, do their damndest to make things look good, even when the lead’s frame has the integrity of a wet noodle, and spin like a politician. (Little-known secret*: “follow” actually means nothing more than “pretty top.”)

[*giant lie]

I fail on both counts. For that reason, follows have my utmost respect.


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