February 09, 2015

As I have spent more and more time hunched over my laptop, my rear turning into jelly, I figured that my tired body was just part of the sacrifice of being an entrepreneur. But in the last year or so, I’ve really been feeling how unhealthy the lack of movement is. The only thing is - I only want a form of exercise that is fun.

I remember dancing salsa in the clubs when I was in my early 20's, until every inch of my clothing was soaked with sweat. I loved the feeling of total concentration and unified movement with another person - as if you’re one.

It’s kind of like a meditation. You can’t think and dance at the same time. You have to just move and be aware of your partner's every step. Men lead the women and every little movement of their hands tells you where to go and how to move. It’s the ultimate exercise in coordination and listening.

I was reminded of how much I love salsa from a friend of mine, Kate Thomas, who has a youtube travel show and even made a short documentary about salsa. We’d gone out looking for a salsa club in Santa Fe, when we were both there together recently for a workshop.

People always ask me what I do for fun. And everything I do for LOTUSWEI is so fun that it doesn’t really seem like work. But now I’ve found the perfect activity - at least for now - that will give me the movement I need, and actually be fun! Aside from driving motorbikes in Bermuda or traveling in Asia, I can’t think of anything morefun than salsa dancing, so I started taking some refresher lessons last week.

Then this past weekend I needed some down time, so I had a little salsa movie marathon for inspiration. These aren't the typical movies I would watch, but I really wanted to see the dance scenes. It ended up being super fun and inspiring, so I wanted to share with you.  All the movies are on Netflix - and they’re all feel-good movies:

dirty dancing salsa dancing lotuswei

I’m typically not the biggest fan of romance movies, but that seems to come with the territory of salsa films. First I watched Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights. The two main characters are so young - it reminded me of the incredible purity of being in love at that age. The movie takes place in Cuba during the revolution. The dancing is great and the romance is endearing.

dance with me lotuswei dance

Then I watched Dance with Me. A Cuban boy goes to Texas to find his long lost father who runs a dance studio - and falls in love. And enters a dance contest. The love story is so-so, but the dancing - especially during the competition at the end - is fabulous. There are a lot of savory characters at the dance studio too that add humor and fun.

dance with me dancing scene lotuswei

The last movie in my salsa marathon made me laugh so hard in one scene that my roommate came into my room to see if I was okay. It’s a British movie called Cuban Fury. It just came out last year, and is about a guy who was a salsa champion during childhood and adolescence, until bullies beat him up and made him eat all the sequins from his outfit. Fast forward 25 years and he’s an overweight corporate guy. He falls for his new female boss who loves salsa, so he goes back to his old teacher to re-learn his dance moves. There’s a dance competition (just like in the first two movies I watched) and the competition scenes lend themselves to some gorgeous dancing.

So if you just need to unplug for a while, and want a little cheer up, watch one or more of these movies, and tell me if you don’t feel like dancing afterwards …

And if you're reading this thinking you're too old for salsa, take a look at this 80 year old woman dancing salsa.

Do you like dancing? What do YOU do for fun?!

Love + salsa dancing,

katie hess flower alchemist