How to salsa? I’m the wrong guy here. I was prompted to this post by a chance catch on the BBC Breakfast programme about the very affable newsreader/presenter Dan Walker, who did a storming performance on a pro/am dance competition. Celebrity Come Dancing? Is that what it’s called? Dunno. Doesn’t matter. I have to say he acquitted himself with a great deal of honour. He was just fun to see exuberantly having a ball. He loved it. And he was pretty convincing at just having a riot.
In the past, younger, I could swing a dashed efficient shoe (thanks PG Wodehouse for that phrase) and was very happy strutting my stuff. I was notorious at parties for only stopping dancing to have a beer. I have a good sense of rhythm, I used to do the snakehips wiggle pretty well, toespins, Michael Jackson crotchgrabbing (mine I hasten to add), yep. I could moonwalk. My boss at the time, spotting me boogeying at a party, once said, ‘When I saw you dance, I knew I’d picked the right employee.’ That’s a compliment, isn’t it?
I can’t salsa. Take the vertigo out of the equation. Take the dodgy knees out of the equation. I can’t salsa. I just can’t. I have the rhythm, the shifty moves in theory, but I’m crap. I just can’t do it.
Some years ago, my partner and I happened to know a professional salsa instructor. He was a neighbour. And I envied him his dance skills* a lot. Then he started up a salsa dance school in the local village hall. My partner and I signed up straight off, since we’d had a quite longstanding wish to have a go at salsa. Let’s do this!
She was pretty well OK. She got how it worked, right from the outset. I was absolute rubbish. It was beyond me. Hopeless.
So fair play to Dan Walker. The boy done good pretty much straight out of the box. In front of millions of viewers. No pressure there then, is there?
*To my credit I introduced him to the arcane skills of the doh-see-doh to shitkicking C&W music. I learned my majestic doh-see-doh at junior school from a Lithuanian dance teacher. I must get a bonus point for that, surely?