Friday, February 1, 2008

ACL4: My first time...

Background:

This is speech no 4 in the ACL Manual (Speaking to Entertain). It is about adding drama to your speech. The speech was conceived with the main theme of dancing especially Salsa. It was presented with some co-coordinated dance moves and was generally funny.

Actual Speech:

“Ok! Everyone put your left feet forward and step… Now step back and pull your left back. After that, put your right feet back and step. After that pull it back and finish. That is a Mambo! Vijaaay, what’s that?”.
[Show bargirl dance! tatatatata]… “Mambo?”
“No! I don’t think so”

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen.

My first dance move I learned was called the Mambo. It was a simple move which goes front and then back [demo]. But when I learned it for the first time, it was as hard as learning to walk the first time.

My salsa teacher’s name is Fasilito. He is the master of dance masters. The guru of salsa. A Malaysian who should have been born a Latino. Fasilito has been a salsa dancer for 17 years and has been transforming guys like me who don’t know their left butt cheek from their right to men with EXTREMELY good butt co-ordination skills.

This story is about my extremely talented dance teacher and his equally untalented student who god decided to bless with two left feet. In the beginning, it was like this:

“Class! You start off with the left, right, left, right, right, left, right and finally left. Vijaaaaay, can you show the class!” – Fasilito

HUH! Show the class? Hmm… [Show bargirl dance! tatatatata]… One of the most daunting thing about dance is the legwork. Knowing which leg goes where is harder than it sounds. After a couple of dance instructions, you start questioning the left from the right… Part 2.

“Men! I want you take your dance partner by hand. Don’t stand there lar, go hold the girl! By the hand and not other parts Ok!”

My first time holding a girl. I am usually comfortable with girls but actually holding their hands for an extended period of time. Now, that is strange. The last time I did that to a girl, she started crying and ran off to complain to my kindergarten teacher. And yet! Dance defies social limitations… It teaches you to be comfortable with your fellow human being especially from the opposite sex. And with that, we move on to Part 3.

“Men! lead the girl… Don’t just hold her hand. Guide her through the turn… Don’t push her until she break her leg. Remember, she break her leg, after that she will break your leg…”

Ahhh! The art of leading. Dance is the last arena where guys will always lead and girls will have to follow. Having said that, most guys who are beginners like me sometimes wish it was the other way around. There are sooo many things to remember in dance like timing, music and footwork that trying to lead just overloads the mind. It is just like asking a girl out, if not done properly, you could suffer a fate worst than death… Humiliation! Moving on to Part 4 of the lesson.

“Now remember the timing Class!… 1,2,3… 5,6,7… 123… 567; 123…; Vijaaaay! What comes after 3?”

Emmmm! 4?

“No!No!No… Its 567! Aiyoh! You never learn counting at school ar”

Hmm… For as long as I can remember there was always a 4 in class. No wonder it is called the creative arts. You are supposed to creatively leave out numbers! However, I did find out later that the 4 is there… Just that it’s a silent 4 which helps you keep track of the song’s rhythm. At the end of the lesson when I got most of the stuff right...

“Not bad! You can dance after all… I think you can be a good dancer. Just that it take 15 years that’s all ! “

Fasilito always had a sharp sense of humor! It is hard to hate someone who is teaching you how to become graceful. [step forward turn] When the steps really started to gel and I wasn’t tripping over myself, dancing becomes really fun. [Sycopath and turn]. There is no better feeling in the world when you are able to slide your way on a dance floor with your partner and for a moment, the whole world fades away in the background and all that is important is just you, her and the rhythm of…

Rhythm of SALSA!

Thank you!

By, Vijay Balasegaram