Couples glide across the dance floor, where intermittent strobe lights flash that perceptual vision. It makes the dancers seem like their hovering magically in the air, through technological novelty.
They were guided only by the hypnotic, sometimes intensely raucous rhythm of cha-cha or salsa, the hip-swaying mambo, the electrical passion of swing and the once disreputable dance called tango.
Sometimes the dance floor becomes cupid’s lair, with its universally understood gestures.
A man and woman meet on the dance floor. A silent romance begins, mysterious and suggestive, no words spoken but replaced by the harmony of two souls seeking to swing, cha-cha or tango.
On the extreme, some dancers dress to seduce — some wore next-to-nothing gowns, with dance moves that even strippers have not thought of.
Ballroom dancers are a breed of their own and they have flourished here. They can weave their way through and around a cramped dance floor, grabbing any available space to maneuver in especially against couples dancing against the line of dance.
You are free to crash into them and you can humiliate yourself further, when fortified with wine. You push your luck and add acrobatics, until you fall face down. Simply get up and say, “ano kaya niyo yon?”
Inside the dance clubs, there is neither room nor time for intrigues or gossip — just lots of wonderful music, dancing and fun on any given night.
Couples travel to West LA, Sherman Oaks, Glendale, Glendora, even San Fernando Valley to find a dance floor and track down the ballroom locales.
They’ve sprung up like mushrooms everywhere — admission fee is $ 10 and for an additional $5, a dinner is thrown in. It brings everyone together: from home painters to plain housewives, working mothers, lonely widows and the blessed caregivers.
Once you connect with the other person, it drives you into another world.
To sit in the flickering hall, the dancers lose themselves in music from around the world. It transcends cultural orientation, as they share at least one element together: a passion for the most fascinating aspects that fills the room in any evening of ballroom dancing.
Lots of wonderful music, dancing and fun of nearly everything that can be learned about modern dance. They base their teaching on the principle that dance patterns are only secondary, as long as you know how to combine the basic dance rhythms and basic steps to create your personal and original sequence — based on creativity.
According to a dance instructor I’ve interviewed, the only ingredient you need to learn learn is willingness. Anyone can enjoy dancing even only after the first or second dance lesson, as long as you learn the principles of dancing: posture, use of diaphragm, precision on step, positions, balance and centering.
Ballroom dancing, Philippine-style is something else here and back home. Patrons inside dance halls are referred to as guests. Doesn’t that sound better than customers?
This dates back to images of that peculiar practice of elder women (anyone above 35) dance enthusiasts hiring male partners to dance with them. And also the long-time practice of male customers hiring bar hostesses to serve and amuse them into the night.
So guests now co-mingle in what is implied to be a more decent and different business arrangement.
Back home, these men are handsome, brilliant, well-traveled, almost wealthy, hot and absolute scoundrels.
By a whisper, a flinch and a fingertip they can lure women in that certain age to misbehave.
These men’s gaze alone is guaranteed to melt an 18k wedding ring. The more these ladies are charmed, the more they fail to see the the man’s shady character.
To survive the misstep, instead of resigning in frustration, an incurable romantic advised the Moonlighter: just make it your goal for the evening to see the soiled world through fortunate eyes, furtive sightings of paradise, dangling in the arms of a handsome DI!
A question came to mind: Am I too old to dance?
The answer is cliché: “People don’t stop dancing because they get old, they get old because they stopped dancing.”
E-mail Mylah at firstname.lastname@example.org