No matter the country or the dance floor, there are certain character types on the dancefloor that we all recognise….
1. The Diva
The Diva applies to both men and women, since Latin dance is a hub for Diva’s from all walks of life. Sometimes a cross-over with The Celebrity, but not a requirement, the Diva needs the very best, and nothing less. If there isn’t enough space on the dance floor to meet their requirements, they won’t dance. Not a fan of beginners, and often elaborate in dancing style, the Diva makes sure their presence is known. Whilst there are many variations of the Diva, there is usually more than one on any salsa dance floor. They have usually trodden on your toe and then glared at you as though it were your fault: you know when you’ve met a Diva.
2. The Prince/ Princess
Haughty and confident, The Prince/Princess has none of the external flashiness of The Diva, but rather a very concrete internal belief of his or her self-worth. The result: not overly friendly. Downright intimidating perhaps. For all their ability, a dance with a Prince or Princess can be something of a cold experience. Always polite, deep down inside you know he or she rates themselves above everybody else in the room, as behind their smile, is pain: at being surrounded by so many incompetents.
3. The Enthusiast
Good-willed and energetic, the enthusiast can be found at every event and in every country. It doesn’t matter that you travelled from the city to an obscure village over the weekend for an uncle’s wedding, somehow, The Enthusiast will be there! It leads one to wonder whether or not the The Enthusiast has a special portal with which to transport themselves to salsa related events.
4. The Apologist
Somewhat timid, always ready to take the blame, The Apologist agonises over every mistake. When combined with The Princess, it makes for something of an awkward dance, since she will be unlikely to laugh off his apologetic mumblings. It’s the kind of scene that makes you want to bury your face in your hands.
5. The Celebrity
Perhaps not a celebrity in real-world terms, but in the salsa world, everyone knows who they are. Usually an international performer and/or teacher, these guys can often be spotted by their exceptionally late arrival to the club. If it’s a congress, we’re talking 3, sometimes 2am. Time is needed to unwind after a show to shower, and change, maybe have a couple drinks. And maybe a few more after that. ..Sometimes the jet-lag and free mini-bar can lead to alcoholism. If you are lucky enough to grab a Celebrity from next to the DJ stand or the bar, you may well experience some Diva tendencies.
Disclaimer: most performers are approachable, and are not alcoholics.
6. The Impersonator
Somewhat like a Celebrity, except they’re not. If you squint really hard while they’re dancing, you might actually think you are looking at an international star on the other side of the room. Venture a little closer, however, and it is in fact a well-studied impersonation. An impersonator does not stop at emulating a dance style, but more often than not, the wardrobe of their preferred dancer. At very large events there may well be three or four versions of the same person, and finding the original becomes something like a special salsa edition of ‘Where’s Wally’.
7. The Fashion Victim
The vibrant array of personalities that are attracted to Latin Dance, often results in a vibrant array of attire. This is great. Unless there are body parts flopping out that really shouldn’t be, skin spilling over, chest hair protruding, and just general fashion faux pas. Whilst fashion faux pas occur everywhere, the ratio per square mile in a salsa event just seems to be higher than anywhere else. Why this is, I’ve yet to work out.
8. Mr. Practical
Mr. Practical has the opposite intention to The Fashion Victim, but the outcome is pretty much the same. You can usually spot him in sportswear at a social dancing event, the tighter the better, Lycra being the obvious choice. Whilst sweating in salsa a concern for all (or nearly all), the majority tend to prefer a simple shirt change, rather than a Lycra gym top. Whilst it is indeed practical, let’s be honest, he does look a bit like he’s about to run a marathon.
N.b This post is light humour: make sure to check out Chilly’s Salsa Personality Profile Test, for a more serious appraisal of salsa types! ;)