Saturday night late in Roppongi. In El Cafe Latino, we are dancing, face to face, so close that I can feel her legs moving against mine. We swim together in a river of brass, guitar, woodblock, and spanish vocals. We are moving and pausing together at the right times. Transition from front-back basic to side basic. I spin her out, spin us back together. I turn, with my left hand put her hand on my right shoulder. She slides her fingers down my back, lowering her hand into my waiting right hand. It is non-sexual, non-assuming, just a “here I am.”
Basic step again, move in really close, our right legs are right in between each others’ and, pivot turn – 360 degrees in two beats! She laughs! I laugh! Then basic step, then link hands in a circle, so that we can dance a little apart and I can see her better.
Our time is unhurried, peaceful, balanced, happy, just like her smile.
The song ends. I smile, ask her her name, thank her. We hug, and dance with other people.
I dance with another woman. She is very good, but likes to show off – too much extra movement and no connection. Another misreads my physical signals, but turning around sees the surprised look on my face, figures out we had a mix-up, laughed. She is playful and fun. Another has no frame – I guide and she moves, but I don’t feel as if I’m pushing or pulling against anyone. I decide to try a pivot turn. We can get close enough, but when we pivot she doesn’t lean out. The center of gravity is with me instead of between us, and we are unstable. Another can read my signals, but we can’t do pivot turns together because she doesn’t want to get close
And then the music changes from an upbeat salsa to a sexy and playful bachata. I find the girl with the unhurried smile. We dance, and I have the feeling of meeting an old friend again.