Day 2 (Thursday) of the kizomba festival.
I danced with FroMan for 4-5 consecutive songs. He gave me a lot of (kind) constructive criticism. Every second step warranted feedback. Then every step. Then my basic posture. I was basically receiving a private lesson from a talented patient instructor, this was great! It did not feel great. It felt like I was a shit dancer wasting his time at a party. These negative thoughts distracted me from actually following his lead, such that I flubbed up the most basic moves. At the end of dance FroMan checked if I was ok. I thanked him, apologized for my anxious brain, told him I was grateful. Social disaster avoided.
Next, Energizer asked me to dance. I gratefully accepted – Energizer is an endless bundle of happy energy, always smiling and laughing. The first 30 seconds went well. Then, he made a comment about an issue that FroMan had worked so hard to correct. More dancing. Another comment. Dancing, comments, dancing, comments, dancing, comments. I was horrified: all these months, I’ve been a shitty follower, making the lives of my partners miserable, why has nobody ever said anything, how embarrassing, this is awful, I just want to take a nap. Interspersed with his comments were short intervals of actual dancing, where Energizer would laugh. The first time, I ignored him. The second time, I was hurt – what are you doing laughing at me, bro?! The third time, I lost my temper and walked off the dance floor.
I flounced to a nearby chair, fighting back tears of misery. Energizer appeared in front of me.
WTH Vanilla. In ALL my years as a professional dancer, NO ONE has EVER walked away from me mid-song. I was having fun! WHY would you do that? Because I LAUGHED? Vanilla, I laugh when I am having FUN. NOBODY has ever stranded me on the dance floor before because I laugh. I wasn’t laughing at you, why would you think that?
Teachable moment: when overwhelmed, do NOT ditch an internationally acclaimed artist on the dance floor. Don’t do it. It won’t go down well.
I apologized profusely, ashamed at my lapse in manners. Energizer calmed down, seeing that I was very remorseful. He gave me a drink. FroMan walked by and laughed – explaining how he’d unintentionally contributed to my high-strung state. Energizer was still jokingly berating me when a non-artist asked me to dance. Eager to escape this self-imposed drama, I accepted. Mid-way through the song, my partner told me, “I really enjoy dancing with you. Would you mind if I gave you some feedback?”
OKAY UNIVERSE. I GET IT. I need feedback. Can you quit beating me over the head with a sledgehammer?!?!
Day 3 (Friday) of the kizomba festival
Energizer spent the day teasing me. I apologized 200 times. Energizer’s dance partner, Sunshiney, laughed till she cried when she heard the story, imagining how pissed he must have been. She high-fived me, something Energizer ignored with dignity.
At the party that night, every time Energizer changed partners, he’d manoeuvre her so as to dance by me, no matter where I was in the room. As he’d twirl her past me, he would smirk, “Notice Vanilla how SHE isn’t walking away from me, leaving me stranded on the dance floor? SOME girls enjoy dancing with me, you see.”
Every. Single. Girl.
Day 4 (Saturday) of the kizomba festival
Different venue, with weaker air conditioning. I was taking a break to cool off, when one of the instructors asked me to dance. I warned him that I was mildly overheated. He didn’t care. Off we went.
Some dancers make me nervous. I get intimidated, the hamster reel in my head goes haywire, it happens. This guy was one of them. When I’m stressed, I get sweaty – biology 101. Half-way through our 2nd song, a drop of sweat fell from my hair straight down onto his arm on my back. He pulled back to look at me,
You weren’t joking when you said you were hot. You will make ME hot. You will make me SWEATY. Girl, you can’t be doing that, I’ve a plane to catch.
And he walked off the dance floor.
It took me a few minutes to track down Energizer, to share this story. He gleefully laughed AT me, told me we were finally even, and danced with me.
Recap of this trip so far: