Get your ass-shaking on at the RAC

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By Chris Battaglia

Dancing and I have an understanding: I don’t dance, and dancing doesn’t make me look like the uncoordinated klutz that I am.

Considering my athletic experience largely consists of full-contact sports — where grace, form and rhythm take a back seat to how much you can hurt your opponents — I’m the last person in the world who should set foot in, say, a salsa dance class.

But never underestimate the allure of the free. Last week, the Ryerson Athletic Centre offered free sample classes to showcase its facilities. And when I say free, I don’t mean free plus a fee. This was no-strings-attached. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a fool out of myself without spending a dime, so I went salsa dancing.

I dressed for a workout because I wasn’t sure how physically demanding the class would be. Turns out I could have done the class in jeans and a polo. Salsa dancing isn’t exactly strenuous.

That’s not to say it’s easy. I spent the hour tripping over my feet trying to imitate instructors Joanna Lavoie and Ahmed Elmatt, who patiently explained each step and demonstrated what the dance would look like if we knew what we were doing. To my relief, I wasn’t the only complete newcomer to this world of hypnotic hip-shaking. Most of the guys around me looked as lost as I was.

At first I was hung up on how silly I looked shuffling around and shaking my ass, but by the end of the class I was actually enjoying it. Dancing can be a fun sort of escapism, where you wiggle and jiggle to the beat and pretend you don’t look like an epileptic monkey with back spasms.

Does that mean I’ll ever do it again? Maybe, if it’s free.

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