Dancing with dips

"Lloro en el espejo y me siento estúpido, ilógico," Marc Anthony’s passionate cries from the song "Ahora Quien" filled the room—"I cry at the mirror and I feel stupid, illogical." But instructors Annmarie Micikas, ’09, and James Martin, ’10, looked neither stupid nor illogical as they demonstrated dipping techniques in a Latin-dance workshop. The July 7 class was part of a summer series for intermediate-level dancers, offered by the U of C Ballroom and Latin Dance Association. The series also includes lessons in Cuban salsa, Rueda, musicality, styling, and several unannounced topics.

The class began with a chance for the dancers to warm up: ten women stood behind Micikas; behind Martin were half as many men. Attendees formed couples and women rotated partners every few minutes. Micikas and Martin demonstrated the dips and explained how to do them step-by-step. "It's more of an optical illusion than anything," Martin told the men. "Make it look like you’re leaning more than you are."

But dipping wasn’t as easy as Martin made it look or sound. Most of the dancers didn’t know each other, and the teachers had to remind them to get up close and personal. "I can still see between your bodies; you’re not doing the dip right," Micikas admonished one couple. Learning with strangers comes with a risk of social discomfort—Vanessa Copeland, ’09, was initially told by one partner that she was "a below-average dancer." When she informed him that it was only her second class, he rescinded his judgment. The two even found common ground: they’d both learned to dance ballroom, not Latin, and were having similar difficulties with the transition. "Then," Copeland recalled, "he taught me a bunch of new steps."

Shira Tevah, '09

Blda1_thumb.jpg Blda2_thumb.jpg Blda3_thumb.jpg Tryagain_thumb.jpg

Photos (left to right): Annmarie Micikas, '09, and James Martin, '10, teach a cross-body lead and dip; math instructor Alexey Cheskidov dances with Katharine Bierce, '10; Micikas explains what not to do; IIT student Imran Bashir sends Allison Ross, '09, to her next partner.

July 14, 2008