People come to my studio ostensibly to 'learn to dance'. Weighed down by the daily grind and by myriad responsibilities which leave little room for self expression or celebration, street latin dance must appear like a portal into another world: a chance to shed the grey workday dust and shimmy into a colourful, exotic, sexier new skin.
Those who think that they're going to burn up the dancefloor after two lessons seldom last, as dance is a lifelong journey, a practice like yoga that requires some discipline before finding the 'flow'.
Those who stay, those gripped by the rhythm and overjoyed to find that they can move their bodies in new ways, discover that it was never really about learning the steps at all. Dance is a pathway - to heal hurts, to restore confidence, to repair broken hearts, to reconnect with others, to remember the sensual, to divest ourselves of the illusion of control, to acknowledge our dualities, to honour the need of our primal selves to sway and howl under the stars - with our tribe or by ourselves.
by Bernadette Ashley