Teacher. I haven’t quite figured out how I feel about him: a mix of horrified fascination, admiration and friendship. He has the knack of inspiring loyalty amongst his students even as the ones that have known him for years confess to a frequent desire to punch him in the solar plexus. Seems about right.
Much can be forgiven in a man that has all of the moves, and dances for dancing’s sake. Where Teacher goes, people follow, because he is sure to spread laughter and the contagious joy of dancing.
He makes me shake my head in amazement, often.
Exhibit A: an international wake-up call
I got an unexpected call from Teacher this morning. He is at some dance festival in Italy, with his dance partner and one of his best friends (a brilliant dancer and DJ). Teacher had been looking forward to this festival. So why on earth was he calling me at 7am on a Saturday? Groggily, I picked up.
Vanilla, these niggas tried to start a fight with me. Yo man, I’m so pissed right now. That’s not nice, what they did. That’s not nice. Why?! I dunno, they tried to fuck with the wrong nigga, thinking I’m all soft. Who? These niggas, I told you. No no, I’m ok, I’m fine, you don’t have to get on a plane and come here and box the shit out of them.
Oh I don’t?! Good he mentioned that just in time, of course I was half way out the door, toothbrush and passport in hand. Vanilla the boxing bodyguard, that’s me.
He hung up shortly after that, without telling me who or why. I haven’t heard from him since. In normal circumstances, with normal people, I would be wretched with worry. With Teacher, I am resigned to the fact that there is a 25% chance he will end up in an Italian jail, a 25% chance “those niggas” will end up in an Italian jail while Teacher is praised in all the newspapers as a local hero, and a 50% chance that in 3 weeks time I will stumble on some pic on Facebook of Teacher hugging and laughing with those dudes with not a care in the world, because they are actually cool people and “it was just a misunderstanding”.
I shared this story with Coach, who loves a good laugh. Specifically the part where I’ve now learned that the appropriate reaction to being woken up at 7am bc my friend got into an almost-fight overseas is to say “Stay put, imma be right over in about 9-12 hours and then I will fuck shit up.”
Coach shook his head, and then commented innocently, “Yes, Teacher is a rather passionate guy.” Ya think?! But then again… That time I got mugged, Coach promised to hunt the guys down and give them a “talking-to”. I am wondering if this is a bit of a cultural thing; demonstrating honor and loyalty to one’s friends in hyperbolic phrasing of grand gestures that don’t necessarily need to materialize.
You don’t have to get on a plane and come here and box the shit out of them.
P.S. I did say that Coach knows all the black people in Montreal, yeah? Further evidence. Of course, Coach knows Teacher. I should have known.
Great photo and a memorable phone call!
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Most moments with Teacher are memorable. 🙂 And while he has sometimes taken my breath away, not always in a positive manner, overall… he is a source of amazement and laughter, and a very good influence in my life. As he is for hundreds of other ppl.
He calls his close students his children. And when his children branch off and start their own dance schools, and train THEIR own students… those become his grandchildren. The pride he takes in his dance family is very wonderful.