It was Saturday night, and I was craving a set of steamy salsa combinations. My salsa heels were dusty, my hips were restless. It's been at least two years since I've been to the club or dance studio, and, tonight I just couldn't shake the one-two-and-three-pause-five-six-and-seven beat out of my head. The only thing holding me back was the place. I just so happened to be craving a night of salsa dancing in the largest German town outside Germany — Leavenworth, Washington.
I've never been to Germany, and I'm sure a good German would say this town was anything but authentic, but that didn't keep me from being charmed by the Bavarian touch.At the base of snow covered Cascade Mountains sit wine tasting rooms, restaurants with names like Munchen Haus, and a galore of specialty shops. The Wenatchee River carves along town and the jagged alpine mountains shoot up to over 4,000 feet offering over 700-miles of hiking trails, America's premier rock climbing, and endless skiing. It was easy to see how the townsmen envisioned the tourism opportunity in the 1960s after the town's decline in the previously prosperous timber and railroad industries. This town has everything a Bavarian loving, outdoor adventurer could imagine, but I couldn’t help myself, I was still aching for a night of salsa combinations.
Settling with the fact that finding a salsa club in America's Bavarian Getaway was nearly impossible, I started the night with sushi followed by drinks and trivia at Ducks and Drakes with my married friends- Barb and Ken. It's amazing how a margarita melts the ice between people. After a few rounds of trivia, I learned from two locals, Griffin and Rodger, that the there might be dancing at The Loft.
"Salsa dancing?" I asked.
They laughed. Not likely. But, there would be dancing, nevertheless.
Soon enough, we were walking through the crisp November mountain air toward the bar with the D.J. I sprinted up the staircase to the bouncer sitting at the door. He checked my I.D. while I fixed my wind-blown hair. Something was missing, I thought to myself as I waited for my friends. It was quiet. The walls weren't vibrating from the bass. In fact, not a sound was to be heard.
We walked down the hallway, around a bend, and into an opening where we faced all of five people. They looked at us as if we were aliens. Nobody said a word. I could hear the bar tender shovel the ice for a drink. Griffin couldn't believe it either.
"You look like a bunch of deer in headlights," he said to the crowd. He was a tall, boisterous man wearing a fleece jacket and jeans.
Nobody said a word, but that didn't stop Griffin.
"Don't worry everyone! The party has officially begun!" He turned and looked at us.
"Let's get a drink!" He walked straight for the bar. We followed.
While Griffin was buying us a round, I spotted the D.J. setting up his turntables. My feet were antsy. I was ready for a few basic step salsa combinations. Give me a right turn, inside turn, cross-body lead, left turn, around-the-world, open-hand hold, Suzie-Q, front break, back break–anything would do.
Within a few minutes the music started and Griffin asked me to dance. I was amused and curious at the same time.How was this mountain man going to handle me on the dance floor? I happily agreed holding out my hand, and he led me to the floor.
The music was a fast paced, reggae hip-hop mix. He had a confident hand hold. I could feel the calluses on his hands, but that didn't bother me much. He twirled me around in a west-coast-swing-kind-of-step, but I went right into the salsa basic step. I couldn't resist it anymore. I didn't care what type of music the D.J. was playing. I wanted to salsa dance, and I wanted to dance right now.
To my surprise, Griffin moved right in and took the lead back with a cross-body lead. Not bad, I thought. Then he slid his hand down mine and led me into a right turn, and I began to feel foolish for underestimating my new friend. How great it was to be making up our own salsa combinations with west coast swing undertones. I noticed a few people watching us. Then I felt his hand press lightly on my back, prepping me for an inside turn. I was so excited that I almost stepped on his hiking boots.
November 28, 2011
Salsa Combinations in a Bavarian Town Written by Anonymous Salsera
Copyright 2011 Anonymous Salsera
Published with permission from Anonymous Salsera