Friday, November 20

The Thankful Project: November 20th

The Thankful Project: November 20th: Salsa Dancing

I never expected to fall in love, but I did. It happened so fast that I didn’t even know it was happening. Yet, almost four years later and I’m still madly in love. Latin dancing started off as a hobby and quickly became a passion and a way of life. Now if you would’ve told me in college that I would be dancing it up on the dance floor to music I can’t understand, in 4-inch heels, into the early hours of the morning I would have surely told you that you had the wrong Katlin. I’m way too shy for such things. I’m way too old-souled for such things (I go to bed around 9:00 usually). However there’s something magical about putting on a pair of strappy salsa heels, a flowy skirt and social dancing for four or five hours.

My introduction to salsa dancing was as about random as it gets. I was at the gym one day and there was a flyer for free beginner salsa dance lessons that evening; it would be a 6-week introductory course and open to all. Now what possessed super-shy me to get the courage to go ALONE to such a thing…it must’ve been God knowing I needed that creative outlet because let me tell you, that is NOT like me. Well it turns out that my university had flown in this latin dance guy from Italy who barely spoke any English, and paid him to instruct this 6-week seminar, and then he’d go back to Italy. So odd. Well, all it took was that one lesson and I was hooked. Only problem, there was nowhere to dance in Boone, North Carolina so after 6-weeks I stopped dancing and figured that was that.

God works in mysterious ways guys. Flash forward three years and  I find myself living in England completely alone and randomly decide to try ballroom dancing. While at my first ever ballroom lesson, a girl approached me and asked if I’d be interested in taking salsa classes. I went, mysteriously remembered everything that Italian instructor had taught me, and that evening I was in a car driving to some salsa-club outside of London. I’ll never forget it, The Jaguar Club, it was packed with dancers from all across England; a two-roomed Latin club packed with a couple hundred people. From that night on, I was hooked and salsa dancing no longer was a random thing I had learned in college, it was a way of being and breathing. I was a dancer.

I’m so thankful for the crazy and (what seemed) random encounters that led me to the Latin dance world. I can’t even begin to explain how dull my life seems without dance. I love the culture, the atmosphere, the community and the beauty of dance. Salsa dancing is more than high heels, flashy turn patterns, sweaty bodies and the music- it’s an unraveling of the soul; an emotional experience in which you leave a piece of your story on the dance floor but take away a morsel of the beauty and art that our bodies create without he necessity of words. You walk away with life pulsing through your veins, an understanding of the raw beauty of the world, and an admiration for the simplicity of leaving it all on the dance floor.

"If you dance with your heart, your body will follow." -Mia Michaels #dance #quote: