I started salsa dancing two years ago when I was living in South Florida. Many of my friends already did it and I was tired of watching from the sidelines as they spun across the dance floor. Plus my then-boyfriend had moved and I suddenly had a lot more free time. Enter salsa lessons Monday and Wednesday nights.
I loved it and it quickly became my haven. Stress at work? Not to worry. I could dance it out at salsa. Even if I was grumpy or miserable or exhausted, I left feeling renewed. A good night dancing was better than just about anything else – better than wine, better than chocolate, better even than new shoes.
When I moved to Virginia, I said goodbye to salsa. The Appalachian foothills aren’t exactly known for their sizzling Latin music scene. But after a little digging, I found a salsa night that happens every Sunday at a hole in the wall not too far from where I live. Last week a group of us went to check it out.
It was amazing.
OK, maybe it wasn’t as amazing as the clubs I went to in Florida — it was never going to be. But the music was good, most of the guys knew how to dance and I stayed out on the floor all night. I left sweaty and smiling and feeling so high I didn’t feel my blistered, pinched feet. It was the perfect way to start my insane school week.
During orientation everyone from the dean on down told us to find an hour a day for ourselves. One of our professors said we should do something creative every day. And while that sounds fantastic in the abstract, it’s hard to do when you’re up to your eyeballs in case work, internship hunting and study groups.
It’s easy to blow off a chance to blow off steam. Spending a few hours dancing (or writing a blog entry) is a horrible waste of time. I feel that acutely now as I sit here writing this with spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations breathing down my neck.
But, as we learned from Footloose, a place without joy is no place worth living. And so, to keep my sanity, I’ll spend every Sunday night on the dance floor.