Anybody can dance…but they shouldn't.

I've received some feedback that I’m anti-social and seem to prefer spending long evenings practicing my guitar to get better for a band that is clearly going nowhere instead of hanging out with people and making new friends. While it’s true that I do prefer hanging out at bars by myself, with bands playing rather than force myself to socialize with people with whom I don’t share a single common thread. You know, things like cricket, Indian politics, Bollywood movies, general job bitching, so on and so forth. But I guess this makes me an odd-ball and not anti-social.

Anyway, a friend recently asked me if I wanted to go dancing. Readers would note that I’m not the ‘clubbing’ type and have never been dancing ever. The last time I went to a club to dance was sometime in 2002. And that was another forced effort in meeting social expectations. I’m more the sit-in-a-dark-corner-listen-to-heavy-metal-drink-scotch types. I’m not counting the time at the Punjabi wedding where I got hammered and danced to Bollywood music. Anyway, all things considered, the idiot in me thought to myself, “Why not? What could happen? There’ll be some din-chak music and a lot of people, so no one would notice”

Yours truly decided to go ‘dancing’. Yes, I volunteered to go dancing. (First sign I need to get my head checked)

I was expecting it to be the kind of disco with some Guetta, Swedish House Mafia or some Bollywood tunes playing. My friend did not mention that we were heading to Cuba. I enter this club and there were people doing all these exotic Spanish dances that confuse me as to whether it’s named after a food, or the food is named after a dance. You know… things like salsa, machata, batata, fajita, taco… those types of dances.

I can feel the blood pressure rising and the air-conditioning was clearly not helping with the sweating. I can eat salsa, I can’t dance the salsa. And here in front of me, were some 50 odd couples where everyone seems to be extras from that Richard Gere-Jennifer Lopez dance movie. There were people twisting, turning and moving as though gravity was a non-existent. Every instinct in me wanted to turn and run, but I decided I’m going to stand my ground and try to enjoy myself for once. For someone, who has never been to a club, this was clearly the deep end of the dance pool.

My friend was kind enough to show me some basic steps of a dance form called Machata (Don’t know if that’s what it’s called). At that point, the only objective running through my head was, “Do not step on her feet”. So instead of letting the music take me over, I spent my time intently staring at the floor ensuring my elephant feet do not stomp on the poor girl. It wasn't too bad. I think I’d get full marks for effort, although it was not the prettiest thing you’d have ever seen.

Even though I spent most of the evening standing on the side, I actually enjoyed the music which was very Carlos Santana-ish. Why did I spend most of the evening standing on the side when everyone was dancing with everyone? Let’s put it this way. The accepted norm when you ask a girl to dance with you is that you actually know how to dance. It’s quite lame, and border-line creepy, if I went up to a girl and asked her to dance and then told her to keep count, lead and then spent most of the time staring at the floor with my head screaming ‘Don’t step on her feet , tubby’ all the time. It was as though every person passed a basic test of some sort and got in, while I seem to have gotten inside by allowing someone to impersonate me during the exam.

All that aside, I survived the deep end. And for once, at no point was I cynical or asking myself,’ What the f*** is wrong with you?’. However, the next time my friend asks me to come along dancing, I need to verify if I need to attend classes or read some ‘dancing for dummies’ book before I agree. I’m clearly more comfortable being the guy who makes music rather than the person dancing to the tune. I’m very doubtful that going to any classes would help me improve. Some people were just not made for dancing.

At the end of the day, I’m awarding myself a gold-star (like in UKG) for trying something completely new and not making a complete ass of myself doing it. 2013 is turning out to be a year of many firsts, first trip to NYC (Yes, I’m still hung over on that) and first time at a proper dance club. Next week, I’m going for my first cricket match, that too IPL, at the stadium.