This post comes to us from Blanche Froelich who is currently studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain. Blanche is a Visual Arts major at Bowdoin College.
The blue light pulsed above the dance floor, reflecting dimly in my black faux leather ballet flats. I took notice of this rather mundane fact because, while being twirled around the aforementioned dance floor, I was not gazing dreamily into someone’s eyes, but rather staring at my feet, hopelessly praying to find rhythm or reason in the steps my partner was so valiantly trying to lead me through. To make matters worse, a row of older Basque men stood to one side, clapping, counting out loud, and laughing uncontrollably. My dancing partner, another older Basque gentleman, flipped them off at various points in the song, but to no avail.
It felt like a scene straight from one of my middle school nightmares. To be honest, most of my middle school nightmares involved significantly fewer Basque grandpas, but believe it or not, they were even more intimidating than a crew of thirteen-year-old jocks. Thus began an evening not soon to be forgotten and infamous in certain circles: Salsa Night. It was not so much that I couldn’t pick up the steps in those first songs (not that I excelled at that either) but rather that, try as I might, I couldn’t seem to feel the rhythms. I could hear them, could see the bodies on all sides of me moving enticingly and in time, could even tap my foot convincingly while standing on the sidelines. But when the time came to start dancing, my brain and my body were determined to fight me.