I traveled to Jordan to teach ballroom dance. These are some of my adventures and experiences.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
The Jordan Dance Scene
I don't go out every night, but when I do go out, I'm in need of a good time. A good time to me means dancing. Any and all kinds so I'm constantly looking for new and exciting places to go and I'm always up for a challenge - in just finding the place, in trying a new move, or in keeping up with the locals.
I know that I haven't found every dance community out here, or at least I hope I haven't. What I have found seems like close-knit pockets of dancers who all know each other and frequent the same spots. The Jordan dance scene is in most aspects limited. What they do have will surprise you and leave you wanting more, not only for yourself but also for them. Every dancer knows the amazing feeling of just letting the music take over and moving freely with every beat. The self-expression is freeing. The music is energizing. And without a doubt, the long sessions leave you exhausted but at the same time refreshed and ready for more.
I'm thankful that I can go out to a salsa club here and be completely surprised when the host invites a hip hop group onto the floor for a demo. Because there is a limited amount of true dance venues here, the circles of dancers and lines of genre demarcation or crossed and blurred together creating a very nice and creative atmosphere. That creativity however is limited to the halls of whatever dance venue you find yourself. I would not recommend dancing on the sidewalk on your way home from work. Let's just say it doesn't build international relations very well.
I was at Trader Vick's the other night. It's a hotel bar that has salsa going almost every night of the week; Monday night is Argentine Tango! They pack the place on Thursday and Friday nights and include a live band. By the way, the weekend in Jordan is Friday-Saturday. I loathe this saying but you'll know what I mean, "Thursday is my Friday." As I was saying, I was at Trader's for some salsa and all of a sudden the host clears the dance floor and invites three guys out to cut a rug.
Now, I've been through NYC a time or two so I've got a high standard for performances but these guys weren't half bad. So apparently there's a hip-hop scene in Jordan that I'm going to have to investigate further. These guys were from Pulse Dance School, spin-off from the original Salsara Dance school started by my boss. The lead guy of these three performers is originally from Trinidad and came to Amman to dance. I told him later on we'd have to battle but I don't think he understood that it was a joke because he gave me a look like he wanted to hit me.
I enjoy finding these small pockets of people who share a passion for moving. I'm always reminded that music will touch people differently and make them move in very unique ways. It's always fun though and it can allow you to grow and strengthen your own dancing. Like I've said before, everybody has a beat. One of my students here said, "Yeah, but... I think mine is off time."
I'll keep exploring the local dance scene, looking for ways to have fun, ways to improve my dancing, and ways to help others enjoy theirs. I want to help create a huge community of dance here in Jordan. I'm excited to see what the future holds.