two men dancing bachata

A friend shared with me this video of two men dancing bachata.

I fell in love. Of course, the two men are attractive. What really moved me was the sensuality and playfulness with which they danced. At first, I thought, wow, amazing, two gay men in this beautiful YouTube video from 2017. Later I discovered that they are two professional dancers with their own dance partners, Pablo Pérez and Raquel Castro, and Kiko Ortega and Christina Shirjaev dancing to El Beso by Pablo Alborán, who later came out in June 2020. My further research discovered Role Rotation, a new dance style promoted by Tiago Adegas and Felipe Ramírez and other dancers. I realized, I want to dance like them.

I looked up some ways to learn bachata, and found a good beginner tutorial from the Bachata Dance Academy with Demetrio Rosario and Nicole Thompson. So I began practicing my steps daily while the dog looked at me interest. I eventually got to go to one of their classes in person, and was giddy to meet the two who had guided me so many times on the videos; it was like meeting celebrities, and also mentors who have a nice way of breaking down something to learn.

I found more helpful tutorials, including a howcast series with Daniela Grosso and Edwin Ferreras, as well as basic bachata turns for leads and follows with Regan Hirose and Harold Rancano. I especially liked the latter videos because they showed the movements from different angles to help to learn.

After the first classes in person, I realized that dancing by myself at home or at the gym simply not enough. I didn’t have luck finding anyone in my classes with whom I could practice regularly, so I posted online:

One morning as I was practicing my moves in front of the mirror, a woman noticed me dancing and asked me, in broken English, if I was studying dance. I said yes, and we had a moment to practice together! Then she invited me to another local class to practice. And so the learning continues.

This morning after practice, I did some stretches, and then took a brief break to look up more examples to learn from. It came back to Pablo and Kiko, a curiosity to see them dance with their regular partners. And I was moved to tears as I watched them, the grace and beauty of their movements.

I’m emotionally hit with the collision of all these memories, a hip hop dance class I had taken at the local gym years ago, my recent dances with other new dancers, these videos that had first inspired me, and the growing playlist of emotional songs that I have started collecting, all that remind me of this joyful feeling of moving my body to music.

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