Yesterday, I went to a Cha-cha group class. I was by myself this time because my fellow college-dancer, Layla, was absent. The class was heavily based on technique, always a good, if not sometimes tedious thing. We worked on rib isolation, crossovers, and underarm turns. Another thing she emphasized was keeping your upper thighs closed, and acting like a “lady.” I find it interesting that in most sensual, Latin dances that it is more visually attractive for the lady to keep her upper thighs shut. This isn’t even the best part.
My teacher told me to never directly face the man, another technical piece of advice. This confused me. How can I dance, and not directly face the man? When I asked this, my teacher said that way back when it was considered improper to show your full front to the man. “Oh,” I thought, “so it was considered improper to show your chest to the man.” Not quite. As I was stumbling through the basic step, trying not to show what I though was my “front” to my invisible man, my teacher stopped me. She said, “It’s totally okay to show your chest to the man, but everything below that, no.” In other words, the lady must keep her lower torso at an angle when dancing. Um, what? How was this considered improper? Seriously, when guys look at a particular part on the feminine form, they tend to zone in on her cleavage. What is there to look at below that? Seriously? It was so odd to me that it made me laugh. She made me laugh even more when she said this:
Teacher: Okay, so we need to keep our upper legs closed, and our lower torso at a diagonal. That way we act like ladies when we dance, not sloo-hahs.
Me: Sloo-hahs? Do you mean we shouldn’t dance like sluts?
Teacher: I never said sluts; I said sloo-hahs.
Sometime later after class, knowing she was being euphemistic, I teasingly asked, “So, wait? Why sloo-hahs? Why not just say that we shouldn’t dance like sluts–” She immediately cut me off with a, “Shh! No cursing in group class.” She may have been trying trying to act serious, but I could see in her eyes that she was enjoying the exchange. I’ve come to like the term sloo-hah, so that’s what I’m going to use from now on to refer to a woman who likes to, ahem, try out lots of things.