Dancing Through Life

In loving memory of Valentine’s Day last week, I’m going to write about this one thing that I really love: Dancing. Dancing is very relevant to my life in Costa Rica because I do it alllltheeetiiiime. Also, I know information about my dance class has been much alluded to and much anticipated (Meredith), so bust out that green highlighter and mark a shamrock on your calendar because Febs 17th is your lucky day! It will look nice close to that heart you had around the 14th… or the giant X.

Dancing Through Life! Dance lessons were not a huge part of my childhood. I only took them from age 4-6, and my mother thought my bowl cut hairstyle complemented the recital tu-tu’s quite well, thank you very much. Lessons or not, my first aol instant messenger screenname was “dancequeenre” (re- Rachel Elizabeth), and when my sister and I had a play date with our best childhood friend Ashlyn (hey girl), some sort of dance was always recorded on the camcorder. Always. I’m talking swingset dances, jump5 routines, and Britney Spears music videos up the wahzoo. CAN’T FORGET those times our rhetoric skills lured our brothers into key roles for Jock Jams athlete-inspired dancing and S Club 7 reenactments. Growing up, I did liturgical dances in church, danced my way through a few musicals, looked forward to school dances months in advance, and never sat down at a wedding reception. When I was sitting (in car seats, passengers seats, or driver’s seats), I was dancing then, too. During holiday family get togethers, Uncle Tom always told me with a smile, “Rachel. Stop Dancing.” (I wrote “told” instead of “tells” because I’m embarrassed it still happens.) It’s just hard for me to keep it in! My blood is half platelets, red/white blood cells, plasma and half dancing juice.

Method to my madness? It has always usually just been madness, but now I’m learning methods. My roommates and I are taking a dance course at Veritas called “Latin American Tropical Dance”. Why yes, it is as good as it sounds. We give presentations and demonstrations on dances throughout the world (most are specifically from Latin America); move aside the desks to practice Cumbia, Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata with one another; and wish our lives were as magical as the movies we watch like Take the Lead or Dirty Dancing Havana Nights. Our class is in the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and our professor, Rosi,  offers a dance class afterwards in the courtyard for all of the students in case we ever feel like getting in some extra practice.

“Class cancelled. Course observation at the discotheque.” Have you ever read that on your syllabus? As if these three college credits weren’t already doing me a favor. We went on a field trip to Castro’s week before last, a notorious establishment for latin dancing in San Jose. Our mama tica met us there and looked better than the three of us combined. “Dude, I just salsa danced with your mama tica,” said my friend from class. Never thought I’d hear that sentence in my lifetime. We closed the place down with her, long after the school shuttle had carried away our fellow classmates. In fact, we returned to Castro’s for Vday with mama tica and her friend to spin and dip the night away with latin men rather than spinning and dipping some strawberries into chocolate with our non-existent boyfriends (besides Shina (“Equipo Novio Milagro“)). It’s only fitting that I spend a day about love doing something that I love… which is dancing (in case you haven’t been listening). Exclusive secret, limited only to readers– I like to tell the muchachos I dance with that I don’t really know what I’m doing (when I kind of do) so that they think I’m a really fast learner.

I don’t know why dancing is so fun for me, but I do know that it makes me happy. It made me happy when I shook my ten-year-old tush around the living room with my family as dad cranked Lyle Lovett and Paul Simon jams. It makes me happy when I put my boots on and go two-stepping with my friends while I’m at school in Texas. It makes me happy when María Paula in Medicína 1 encourages me to keep dancing by saying, “Baile, baile, baile!” just so she can laugh at my attempts at the robot. It makes me happy that every place we go and anytime we’re dancing, Amanda makes everyone clear the floor so she can do a catwalk. It makes me happy that we live in a salon, because then at night we can use the mirrors as a dance studio for Shina to teach us dances from India. It makes me happy to watch people dance, because there’s something about dancing that’s freeing. You have to put your inhibitions aside if you want to really do it right. Dancing is associated with positivity; It’s what we do when we’re happy or in times of celebration. How couldn’t I love it?

“It’s everybody’s duty to give the world a reason to dance.” -Kid President.

Catching my homies in the act..

IMG_2379Dancing through Day 2 at the Zapote Festival

IMG_2428Dancing through brother bonding

IMG_3061Dancing through excursion dinners

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Dancing through Spanish class breaks like 7th graders

IMG_3259Dancing through dance class

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Dancing through the ISA building

IMG_3553Dancing through weekend mornings

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