I arrive just on-time from the bus station into my Zumba class that is about to start: Be happy! Inspire! Motivate! I’m so good at it, I repeat to myself. When I dance, I am a true leader, I transform myself like a Modern version of Dancing He-Man with more clothes and less blond hair. But just like him, I might have a coward Prince Adam inside me (No double sense, he he!). “Good morning ladies, Class is starting! Let’s dance, azúcar!”
“Fiesta Bajo el Sol“, we start the class with this suitable Latin song. I am just remembering what happened last weekend. My former girlfriend Kat came to Vallarta seeking for some papers she forgot at La Maison Du Tango (Alias my house) and that she needed for her online job. I felt anxious. From her previous blogs I got this feeling that she was doing so good embracing her new life at the sanctuary and the last thing she needed was me bumping into her life out of my desire to see her. The original plan was me going for one week to meet her during Semana Santa at Soulfullheart sanctuary while diving into the awakening sessions that they offer and spending time with myself. I had already the space on my agenda. But I didn’t contact her teacher. The ladies at the class are having a hard time crouching into a second positión grand-plíe while they work their biceps and their legs. They can’t hold that position. I’m not sure if I can hold a Zumba class while my mind is somewhere else.
Merengue time. We’re having fun with some arm movements that require their total concentration to do them. I keep doing them and smile at them while my unfocused mind goes back to that last Sunday. After a long party at Kenia’s farewell and Sujel‘s birthday all Saturday-night long I still went to run the 5km race by Grupo Acir. I went with Nanuk (My dog now, Kathleen‘s former life partner). Nanuk needs the run to burn out his energy and the anxiety he has. I needed it to burn out my inside demons.
“Acariciame y siénteme tan dentro de tu piel, envuélveme en tu cuerpo por favor” Now we’re dancing this song about a girl that wants to be touch and hug. My mind is still in Sunday five minutes before she arrived to the house. Should I hug her as a greeting? Maybe not, she already sort of put a healthy distance between us! But it will feel so akward to greet her with a cold handshake, Canadian style! I have a solution! I will cook breakfast for her so the counter, the oven and the beans make-up an imaginary, cullinary wall and I can still be polite. Kat arrived. Nanuk had it easier. He just came, shaking his tail and jumped into her. Dogs have always easier time deciding what to do than us humans. Tango (my cat, the house owner) also wants to come and greet her, but he is still so afraid of Nanuk. “¡Acariciame! ¡Olvídate del tiempo y del ayer!” Yes, We’re still dancing cumbia and wanting to be touched.
Swing, Samba, Salsa: The ladies are getting into the hard part of the class. I remember that the first hour of Kat‘s arrival was the hardest part. She came and told everything she was planning to tell me for days. I explained only the surface level reasons of why I didnt contact them. First of all because she asked me not to contact her, but only through her teacher. That did not motivate me. Second, I mentioned her that 4 days ago I had a dream where I met a little kid from Tomatlan that told me she was back with Sequoia ( A very big tree, Kat‘s ex, a member of Soulfullheart). She replied that was far from being true. That imaginary girl must have been wrong. I told her I was really looking forward for a weekend without computers, traffic, noise and that I tought that Soulfullheart might be what I need but I didnt know if I was already feeling rejected. “I should have fought for her” just as the ladies are fighting now to finish the class.
Taylor Swift’s turn to sing for the class comes. She sings “Shake it off” to the ladies that are amused now bumping their derrieres one against the other. “Shake it off” is what Kat & I needed after she found her papers and we had this tension on the first hour. We went silently to have a beer at downtown. After, I bought her a Napolitano ice-cream and we sat at the Malecón, near the Voladores de Papantla’s fearless ritual. After a long silence, I said. “Well, we can have a deep conversation, you are the expert in this. Take the lead!” She replied she was no expert.
“Rumba en Moscu” I need to disconnect my time-traveling brain for a while as this song requires me an extra effort because this Russian song has many tricky changes of direction and I have to carefully lead the moves in advance.
The song finishes, now there it comes a Belly Dance. My brain goes back to the Sunday at Malecón. Now I’m sitting down at the Malecon. My ice-cream is over. The Papantla dancers are still spinning in the air. Tourists are walking by, maybe watching me. I don’t care. I’m crying. My conversation with Kat led up to one of my main reasons of why I dance, because it was the first place where I learned to be strong and not to shrink. There has been many moments in my life where I have felt shrinking, just like Mario Bros shrinks when he is bitten by a Goompa. I have had many moments in my life, with my family, at College, working as Engineer, taking life choices, with girls, where I have just cower. I have had this conversation sometimes with my mom but now I got it in a very different context: The main reason I didn’t do anything to meet Kathleen at the sanctuary was because I was shrinking. The main reason I don’t want to leave dance ever is because is the only way I don’t shrink. I am not the best dancer, but the most powerful version of me is when I dance. I dare to do more, to stand in front of the crowds, to inspire and make people change for the better. Acknowledging that the fear of shrinking didn’t let me go far beyond the man I can be without dance made me felt vulnerable. So there I was, crying in the malecón. I smiled to Kat and concluded: “Well, I asked you for a deep conversation and I got it. You see, you’re an expert!”
Now we’re doing the cool down with a song called “Plush.” It’s always good to stretch the muscles when finishing a Zumba class. It’s always nice to finish a deep conversation with a hug and so we did. “Kat, you’re the expert in having deep conversations but I’m still the expert here in hugs and leading with the body” So we had a deep hug and some kisses. None of us were expecting this. For both of us the past relationship was over and there was no future to us while I want to stay in Puerto Vallarta and she wants to live connected to herself and nature in the sanctuary. But well, she is interested in the real Israel, not only in my dancing version of me and that’s already a lot. I have many things inside my head besides dance.
I woke up this morning thinking I have to dare to explore new possibilities. I have dared already to do this kind of changes in my life once when I moved to India, and it was even crazier. I drove Kat to the bus station and we were both thinking there is hope. Maybe we are not even meant to be together but I need to go there and feel the roots of why I shrink and overcome them. I think I already have a purpose in dance but this will help me to have a happier life anywhere else. After I left Kat at the bus station, now I am driving to my Zumba class.
It’s time to dance, azúcar!