The Latin Groove


Melissa Stagnaro

A couple of weeks ago my mother asked me if I would sign up for a Latin dance class with her. In the past we’ve golfed, bowled on occasion and even taken kick-boxing together. With the exception of one particularly intense exercise class that left me unable to climb stairs for a week, she’s never lead me astray before. So, I said yes without giving it much thought.

But as D-Day (dance day) approached, I began to have my doubts. I absolutely love Latin music. Rumba, salsa, merengue…the music just gets into my blood. It’s one of the reasons I loved living in Miami.

But I don’t dance very much. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with watching Elaine dance on Seinfeld (if you can call that dancing) thirty or forty times too many, but I usually require a few glasses of wine to loosen me up enough to get me out on the dance floor.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the class, but I figured that I would probably be the least coordinated of the bunch. I was right. And to make matters worse, I was totally unprepared, wardrobe wise, for our first session. I am definitely going shopping this weekend.

Pre-dancing angst and wardrobe inadequacy aside, I loved it. Martha Brower-Ryan was our dance diva and she was fabulous.

In our first session we learned the basic steps of the samba, salsa and merengue. I’ll admit that I needed a little remedial intervention to get the side-to-side part of the salsa steps down, but I picked it up better than I thought. It was invigorating and I felt great.

At the end of an hour, I wasn’t ready to leave. My right hip is thankful, though, that I quit when I did. Next time I’ll know to take some Aleve before I start shaking it.

Martha promised to make us all CDs so that we can practice at home. I think she’d be happy to know that I’ve already started. I’ve caught myself twice this morning. I’m sure my co-workers were wondering what the heck I was doing.

I can’t wait to get back on that dance floor. Unfortunately, the next class conflicts with the Norwich City School Board meeting on Tuesday. Do you think anyone would notice if I called in sick?