Canon 4: Dance.

Caracas Travel Blog

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Economic prudence once led me to a Caracas, Venezuela, dance hall where the languid human scenery relaxed with a steady balm-climate mañana attitude. Usually, the higher up on the socioeconomic ladder one travels, the more the likelihood of meeting an English-speaking acquaintance increases. In easygoing local joints on the “wrong side of town” your chances of encountering an amigo capable of speaking English are slim. No worry; lacking Spanish skills makes your search for a dance partner a bona-fide challenge.

One option is to persuade one of the more experienced señors or señoritas to familiarize you with the hand and foot placements. Another is to watch other couples’ hands and feet out of the corner of your eye until you get the hang of it. Even the language-impaired visitor soon realizes that dancing, like eating, is routine here, a national pastime, where everyone’s clued in. Albeit alive and deliberate, dancing faces remain expressionless, as dreamy eyes hover calmly aloft dimly lit, slyly meshing torsos. Try to treasure the sundry close-up dances and the immediate, innocent intimacy. Dancing to Venezuelans is as normal as eating, unlike in the States, where people are typically either self-conscious or ego-driven loons.

Dancing endures as a hedonistic life force that’s neither deadly nor illegal. Wherever you roam, discover local music scenes by hanging around the “tape market.” Locate the freelance outdoor cassette and CD stalls, and when you hear something that moves you, find out where the musicians are performing. Dance zones are indifferent to status, and infectious music lets UBU.

"For wayfarers of all times, the right strategy for skillfully spreading the way essentially lies in adapting to communicate. Those who do not know how to adapt stick to the letter and cling to doctrines get stuck on forms and mired in sentiments — none of them succeed in strategic adaptation." --Zhantang
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photo by: vulindlela