In case you think you’re about to get a fantastic recipe for a mind altering salsa dish, I wanted to be clear it’s not salsa the sauce but salsa the dance that has changed my world. Although if you do have such a recipe please share!

 

A little background to my dancing world…

Early in 2013 I made a decision to step up my salsa dancing. I’d done a few beginners classes the year before and enjoyed myself so thought I would find an intermediate class as my next step. My reckless nature got in the way…

I found myself at the auditions for The Clave Collective, Wellington’s one and only salsa performance team, wondering what the heck I was doing here! With nothing to lose my plan was to learn as much as I could from the auditions because I figured there wasn’t much of a chance of me actually getting into the team, especially after seeing how good the other dancers were.

Well the Universe can work in mysterious ways and I was invited to join the Ladies Shine Team. This I found amusing as I had no idea what a shine team was! It turns out that to “shine” means to dance without a partner so the Ladies Shine Team is a group of women who dance a choreographed routine as a team, just not holding hands.

Thrilled to have made the team and I then proceeded to make life much harder for myself than it needed to be by:

  1. Being overly critical of myself – this trait is something I’ve been working on reducing over the last few years. However, being a totally new environment with big challenges bought that side of me back in full force!
  2. Forgetting about others – I forgot that I wasn’t the only one who was going to be fearful doing something unfamiliar. This was confirmed at our Christmas dinner when everyone’s hands shot up in answer to the question “Did you find this year challenging?”
  3. Taking myself too seriously – I’m used to picking up sports quite quickly so it was frustrating for me to be one of the new kids on the block.

I know what you’re thinking. Ahh this doesn’t sound like much fun. Well luckily there were also some fantastic parts to being a new member in this particular team.

Our gorgeous couples team

Our gorgeous couples team

So how did salsa change my world?

I got to train with a great bunch of people. The members of the team are brilliant and supportive. They are talented and inspiring and I LOVE being part of this team.

Some of the ladies

Some of the ladies

I had the privilege of being trained by two of New Zealand’s best (they are also two of the loveliest and coolest people you are ever likely to meet). Our two teachers, Chloe and Jacob, are some of the best in New Zealand. Not only are they incredibly talented dancers themselves but they also choreograph some fantastic routines for us.

Our ever smiling Mens Shine Team

Our ever smiling Mens Shine Team

I performed on stage at 6 different events. I’ve not been on a stage since high school and it’s not a natural environment for an introvert like me. To be able to face that fear while surrounded by friends has been a wonderful experience.

 

I learned how to put on false eyelashes and apply glitter to my eye lids. No mean feat for someone who is not a girlie girl.

Not for everyday wear...

Not for everyday wear…

I danced in heels. I got to know the differences between dance fishnets and everyday fishnets. I learned why two pairs of underwear are sometimes necessary.

 

I tried out a whole new genre of photography. I have many, many out of focus photos of fellow dancers!

 

I thank my reckless nature all the time for having taken me along to those auditions.

 

Has something that you’ve been involved with changed your world?

 

 

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