it only took me 4 months to sign up for salsa classes after moving to NYC.

seriously, 4 months? what have i been doing all this time? oh, right — a lot of this, this and about 10 people’s worth of this:

’nuff said.

so, i finally did my research, pulled on my wardrobe staple (read: leggings), and packed up these bad boys — which had certainly been giving me the evil eye for keeping them bagged up in the closet for so long:

and traipsed on over to Piel Canela (and no, i did not choose this school because its name means “cinnamon skin” — that’s just an adorable added bonus), a school of which i’ve heard good things from my salsa community upstate. luckily, it’s only 10 blocks from me = i don’t have to worry about getting home too late and not making my bedtime. nyc has turned me into quiiiite the sleeper.

i’ve been dancing salsa on 1 for the past year (“Los Angeles Style”), and i have to say — learning salsa has been one of the highlights of my 20s. i’ve absolutely fallen in love with it.

 and of course, NYC style salsa on 2 is a different form of dance (it’d be tooooo easy if i happened to learn the style they dance in the city i move to)…so i opted for beginner classes.

here’s what i’ve discovered after 2 classes:
1. i love beginner classes b/c they make me feel like i’m actually an okayyyy salsa dancer (translation: compared to everyone else in the class, i should be on Dancing with the Stars)
2. On 2 isn’t as scary as i thought
3. i want to be a professional NYC salera. (hope i’m ready to sign up for about 2 lifetimes in a tiny apartment in Hell’s Kitchen.)

added bonus: the teachers at Piel Canela are hi-lar-i-ous.
case in point:

Male Teacher/School Owner: “think of the 1-2-3 count as ‘aye Ma-ma.’ so then, what would you call the ‘5-6-7’?”
a few people call out, “aye Pa-pa.” obviously, this is the correct answer. Mama, Papa. we’re talking about our parentals here (in Spanish, i think?).
except for the one person who (embarrasingly) guesses, “aye Pa-pi?” (yeah, you know how they said it.)
Teacher: “yes, ‘aye Pa-pa.’ and whoever said ‘aye Pa-pi”…heyyyyy, meet me after class.”

we might not be able to count the steps, but we’re getting a free comedy show, so we’re all happy. he also tells us he meant to bring us wine to loosen us up, and he’ll make sure to do so next time. comedy, some salsa, and free drinks? how did i not come here before?
then he shows us how far apart from each other we should stand for the purpose of class, but encourages us that “all bets are off, you don’t have to stick to this rule” for our club salsa dancing…wink. we all love him.

Female Teacher: “guys, watch your elbows. i’ve gotten some black eyes because of you. not cute. also, when you spin her, keep her in Manhattan, will you? nobody wants to be thrown over to Hoboken.”
she tells it like it is.

there are some characters in NYC, let me tell you. one guy last night was realllly enthusiastic about dancing with all the ladies…to the point that when it was my turn, he greeted me with, “look at you! all decked out for this class! you look goooood!”

i was wearing black leggings, a long tunic shirt, no make-up, and my fair share of forehead sweat. i can only imagine what he was saying to everyone else.
thank goodness for the in-class distance rule.

another guy asked me if i’d gone tanning, b/c my palms looked orange.
let me ask you…do you tan your palms? because honestly, i’ve never been in a tanning bed, but i wouldn’t imagine my palms would be my first concern.

that’d be the self tanner lotion, thankyouverymuch.

i’m nearly giddy with excitement over the anticipation of my next class tomorrow. for entertainment this good and fabulously fun lessons at an awesome school, 4 months were absolutely worth the wait. if you’re looking for a place to learn salsa in NYC, i highly recommend Piel Canela. they rock.