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Bachata and Sad Faces

Last night I made it to a Bachata class. I love dancing, always did and whenever I get a chance to do a free class, I’m in. It was a 20 minute bus ride, through the old communist streets with the old concrete buildings. I’m starting to dislike eastern/ central Europe more and more. Maybe it’s just the winter cold that’s making me think this way, but I’d rather be somewhere in Spain or Portugal learning the language and drinking wine.

The bus engine rumbles away as I get off, the smog of the exhaust fumes fog up the streets, it’s dark and grim outside. I take a breath and exhale and it’s like I just smoked a cigarette, “fucking pollution” I say to myself. I make my way to the Bachata class and go down near the Wisła river instead of the polluted streets, but I’m sure it doesn’t make a difference. I can see from a distance in the “Klasy Tańcza” building that it’s filled with people. I hesitate for a bit and question myself “What if those people don’t like me? I’m dressed like shit, they’re going to judge me”, but I notice my criticising mind and tell it to fuck off and go towards the entrance anyways.

I open the door, walk in. All these white Polish faces, all talking to one another. “It’s all good I say to myself”. I chat up three girls, busty brunette, two skinny blondies, “hey, you guys here for Bachata?” – “Yes, we are” in their broken Polish accents. “All alright. Is this the line for the tickets?” – “Yes, it is.” People are moving all about, going here and there. Eventually I get to the front and get my “free hour” ticket, and go towards the direction everyone else went. “Hey, is this the Bachata class?” asking another busty brunette. “Yep, right in here”.

The room is packed with people. Almost shoulder to shoulder. I find a place in the back and start moving my feet. “Jeden, dwa, trzy…” goes the young and gay looking male instructor. Making loud clapping noises and cracking ‘pretty’ funny jokes, but most people don’t react well to it. And again “Jeden, dwa, trzy…” The girls that I spoke to earlier enter the room, but there is no space. They pack in near me, but I know this shit won’t work so I cut in to the front corner where there is a bit of space, but no one wants to go there because it’s ‘the front’.

Dancing goes on for a bit longer, we do a few spins and eventually another instructor enters and tells us we should move to a bigger room. We all pack out of the room one by one and into another twice the size. This one is better, and there is also a fan on the right side. “Okayyy, time to find a partner. Boys find yourself a lady”. I look around, and spot a few lonely girls in the corner and go over by them, I pick the small blondie. She’s wearing all black, black stocking, black skirt and black top, it’s a contrast to her pale colour.

The instructor has his assistant now, she’s a blondie with a good posture and a nice shape, but her face is pale and worn out, just like most of the women in the room. He’s more expressive and obnoxious than before, but I like it – he’s pretty funny. “Now look at your partner ‘in the eyes’ and tell her everything will be okayyy”. I play along, tell my partner that “it’s going to be alright, you’ll be fine”, she giggles and we continue. A few more dumb jokes and eventually we get to the dancing.

From one partner to the next, we rotate in a circle. I feel a similar feeling in each woman, they’re need to be with someone. The older they are the more intense I feel this. Their tired pale eyes say it all. They’re like puppies, they just want some attention, and so I give it to them. I switch to a woman who’s in her 40’s, she’s excited but nervous. I take her hands and start doing the “jeden, dwa, trzy…” steps, I do a little spin and I could see her eyes light up, her hips move more freely, she’s loving it, she wants more. With each spin she gets more excited, it’s like ‘finally’ after a whole week of work and rules she could let herself go, let her body express it’s desires, it was beautiful.

We rotate on and on, in each new partner I notice that they all just want to let go and enjoy this bit of freedom that they have, away from the eyes of their co workers, away from responsibilities. But, it’s not all joy, deep down their eyes tell me more, they tell me of a harsh world, of tireless days, of loneliness and wanting. We all feel a similar feeling, we all need to have someone, to touch someone, to look into someone’s eyes and be given a moment of acceptance. And so for that moment I give them what their souls seek so passionately.

The hour has gone, and it’s time to leave. I don’t feel good. I feel like something was taken from me. I could see that most people are clocking in for another hour, but I head straight for my jacket and leave. The fog engulfs the city, the cars pass me by and the cool winter air makes it feel like a spring night. As I walk towards the bus station I question whether I can live here any longer, “I don’t think” I say to myself. 

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