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Post details: Mexican Hat Dance

Mexican Hat Dance

I haven't been on a dance floor for about 20 years. I think me and a dance have a long standing relationship of mutual mistrust. There is a species of sloth with statistically high incidence of paralysis that dances even worse than I do, but other than that my dancing torpor has no match among contemporary mammals. So I should have foreseen that I am stepping into a hornets nest when a friend of mine told me that a little Cinco de Mayo party we were heading for this Friday took place at a private dance studio. The kind with the floor ominously surrounded by mirrors.

As I half suspected all along, the party turned into one big festive dancing lesson. For a while, I was trying to look inconspicuous and non-committal, but after about 15 minutes I was temporarily abandoned by my friend and thus left exposed to various hopping elements, such as a dancing instructor named Katey, who found me hiding unsuccessfully behind a burrito platter. While she dragged me victoriously onto the parquet, I was informed that we are going to engage in Foxtrot, which immediately prompted a frenzied search in my memory whether Foxtrot is something I should have been inoculated against as a kid. As I was mentally paging through my medical history, Katey ostentatiously repositioned my hand roughly 10 vertebrae higher to the general area of her shoulder blade. I took a deep breath and briefly pondered whether I could act out an Acute Gastric Dilatation And Abdominal Compartment Syndrome and take an honorable exit via Ambulance Van. Realizing that my histrionic skills peaked several decades ago, I quickly rejected this possibility and hurled myself into the speeding vortex of rhythm. The state of my mind morphed seamlessly from a "deer caught in headlights" to a "kamikaze pilot".

After this episode ended, and I was pleasantly surprised that it did, I thought that the worst was over. But I wasn't even close. At the peak of the party, the host turned all the lights on, herded us on the floor and announced that in order to celebrate Cinco de Mayo properly, we will all learn the traditional Mexican Hat Dance.

As it transpired during the introductory lecture, in Mexico, males demonstrate their masculinity by throwing their head cover down into the dust and trampling it to death. The vigorous stomping of the initial phase is accompanied by clapping and by some other hand motions which I didn't quite understand, but I hazily recollect that they involved alternately clutching one's own elbows and bobbing one's head more or less correspondingly. How was that supposed to impress a young Mexican lady was left unexplained. That is until the music started playing and I realized that what seemed like a piece of cake at the leisurely pace of the slow instruction phase was a twisted exercise in hand to hand coordination at twice the speed. As I hit a processing bottleneck in my brain, my motions became increasingly uncoordinated, and I would have become very confused had I not been rescued by a "spin phase" whose true purpose must have been to test the tequila intake. During this segment, you lock your arm with your partner's and start swirling around at an increasingly unreasonable tempo. No wonder when the stomping part returned I took my frustration out on the imaginary Sombrero lying on the ground, which prompted some praising remarks from the Dance Master. At least I think they were praising.

I am not sure through what sort of black magic I survived that evening without any visible harm. I just hope the same can be said about all the big toes of the ladies that I danced with. Or should I say "danced against"?


Comment from: Celia [Visitor]
Funny! You actually loved it!
How about a tango, now?
Permalink 08/03/10 @ 00:04

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