If you are a woman with control issues, I have the perfect remedy for you. Even though I love and believe in therapy, it’s not that. I’m not talking about getting all Zen or even calm for a minute, so no, it’s not meditation. It’s not science. It’s salsa dancing.
I am a huge Latin music fan, so I’ve danced salsa before but I never really knew the steps. I recently took a legitimate salsa class at a dance studio and really learned how to dance salsa. Mind you, I’m a lady, so I was taught to dance salsa as “the follower.” Feminists please don’t throw shit at me right about now – I know how it sounds. But in salsa and the majority of partner dancing, the male leads. Plain and simple. I’ll be P.C. right now and say that if you are a same-sex couple, there is still one person who leads.
During my first salsa class, I was unnerved that I wasn’t in control of the situation. I told my partner, “No, it’s like this…” and demonstrated what he was supposed to do as well as what I was supposed to do. I was being a woman – handling every little detail, taking care of my partner, helping him. I quickly realized that in the real world, that’s okay and often times necessary to “handle” everything. Not in salsa, my friend. We bumped into each other, jerked each other around. In other words, it was a hot, flaming mess. I realized that I needed to relinquish control, just a little bit. Since we rotated partners, I told myself that this was a fresh start – don’t fuck up this time! Maybe the last guy didn’t know what the hell he was doing, but this guy, wow he’s a natural, he’s a great lead! Or maybe it was me. Whatever happened, I let go of needing control, and all of a sudden, my feet were gliding as my hips sensually moved side to side. My partner and I were really dancing salsa! With the subsequent partners, I learned to let my partner take the lead, even if he didn’t know exactly what he was doing. It was his job to figure it out. And as our instructor said, it’s the follower’s job to feel what their partner is doing and let them lead. I was surprised at how relaxed I felt once I gave away the control and allowed my partner to lead. It takes skill to lead, and it takes faith to be led.
I know plenty of women who don’t have the luxury of “letting go” and letting others take the lead – they have careers, families, screaming babies and a hundred other things to do. Yet, I must admit, it feels really nice, even for an hour and a half inside a dance studio, to let go of the need to control, handle and manage. This hour and a half could give a girl a little faith to let others take the lead – just sometimes.