The International Writers Magazine: From Our Archives
"El Watusi es un mulatto de siete pies" - Ray Baretto
"Wah-Watusi, O Baby It's The Dance Made For Romance" - The Orlons
I finally figured out a system for keeping my feet moving at Lorenz Latin Dance Studio’s Friday night dance party. I stuff live M-80 firecrackers into my shoes and light the fuse. While I was flying all over the room like a pinwheel, the place was invaded by the Watusi Army in the shape of a 7’6” guy from the Bronx.
Freakin New York is a-thrill-a-minute! This guy was so tall, I got a nosebleed just from looking at him. I didn’t want to stand next to the guy because I would look like a midget. You couldn’t talk to him because of the distance. You have to call him on the phone, but that’s OK because he has a cell phone tower installed on his head.
||The guy, who’s name is Jahari, told me that he has trouble finding an apartment because he’s so tall that he sleeps in the kitchen with his feets in the hall. I told this girl that I would buy her platform shoes so she can dance with him, but she said she needs an elevator instead. Jahari could get a job down in Atlantic City, where they have stiltwalkers walking on the boardwalk, but he wouldn’t need no stilts. The only problem is, he’s too skinny. He looks like a normal guy who just happened to eat one of Jack’s Beanstalk seeds.
If I had this dude’s size, I would go in the gym and add on a couple hundred pounds of muscle, until I was a freakin 500 lb. human tank. Then I would have theatrical photos taken wearing an army uniform and pointing a huge-ass cannon. The guy could make a million as an actor in “The Expendables IV”!
Go For It! Seeing this guy gave me an idea for an action movie starring salsa dancers. I want to call it “Hot Corner”, for the corner of Tito Puente Way (East 110th Street) and Second Avenue in Spanish Harlem. The story line doesn’t have to be too complicated. Hot Corner Dance Academy, where all the hippest dancers meet, is invaded by the Scarface Posse, who want to extort it and take it over. So, all the dancers get together with all the other schools in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, and with their friends, and they invade the gangsters’ hideout and blow the bastards away, led by this freakin huge African guy all dressed in bandelero cartridge belts. That’s the plot, but you also get unlimited music and dancing from the best dancers in New York. You got sexy girls, romance and trash-talking people.
|I want to tell you that this huge guy, Jahari, handled his size very gracefully and he was able to have a great time dancing with women half his height. He knows all the steps and moves great. He attends the Lorenz school in the Bronx, and the people from the Manhattan school seem to love him and think very highly of him. Hey, the guy made a determination that his enormous height would not be an obstacle to having a great time in life and enjoying the company of charming people, and he is totally doing it!
||I went outside for a smoke, and this Spanish woman passed. Referring to me, she exclaimed, to nobody in particular, “!Mira, otro pato!” which, loosely translated, means “Get a load of this faggot!” I didn’t get offended. There’s a lot of “pato” talk going around. I told her, “?Qué pasa, Mami?”
“Are you dancing in there?”
“Yeah, it’s good.”
“How much it costs?”
“What do you have in that bottle you’re drinking?”
“Yeah, I bet ha-ha! So that’s what you do? You dance in there and then you stand out here and drink out of that bottle?” She used the Spanish vulgarism “chupa”, which means to suck.
“Lemme see you dance”, she commanded. I staggered a couple of steps like Frankenstein. “That’s how you dance?” she mocked me scornfully. “Who’s teaching you to dance?”
“So you dance with those girls but you can’t touch them, right?” This was a mocking question, as though the dancing school was a kind of Mickey Mouse place, as opposed to a real club where people got it on.
“Look,” I said, a little defensively, “there’s no rules. Those women are not nuns”.
She had obviously had a few drinks and had the look of being a little the worse for wear, which I like. I shot her like a nasty little Latin lips gesture, like a kiss. That little kiss was the purpose of the whole exchange, I suppose. She gave an instant of consideration to it and decided not to take it any further, which was a relief to me. If a Spanish girl takes you up on a flirt and you don’t follow up, you’re fucked. She went into the apartment building next door.
Meantime, the cops had pulled over a driver right in front of the place, with lights flashing a counterpoint to the light show taking place in the studio, while down the street at Ricardo’s Steak House an overflow crowd was spilling out onto the sidewalk, the girls’ tight skirts and shorts adding another dimension of heat to the sultry evening.
© Dean Borok August 2013 - R.I.P.
Latin Dancing Across 110th Street
I have asserted all along that New Yorkers should be compelled to attend charm school, so I decided to take my own advice. The place I chose, the Lorenz Latin Dance Studio, is located in Spanish Harlem
Anybody who wants to get a thumbnail of the changing demographic of American society would do well to take a ride uptown to the Lorenz Latin Dance Studio on 110th Street