Five six, seven, eight. Hello, and welcome to DanceTalks. Today is May 2nd, 2020. And my guest is Michael Whitmire. Michael is the founder and director of salsa grand day. Michael. Thank you for being a part of DanceTalks
Michael Whitmire (15s):
Pleasure to be here. Andrea so thank you very much for, including me in your, a series of Podcasts here,
Andrea Cody (21s):
For sure. So we want to know all about you. When did you start dancing?
Michael Whitmire (27s):
You mean dancing, dancing, or they talk with dancing that I teach and to do now this dancing, dancing earliest memory. Oh, it, earliest memory is a child trying to mimic moves that I saw from a Michael Jackson on soul train. And, you know, I could be Michael Jackson, my sister, Janet Jackson, and, you know, we could just enjoy the music. And so just, you know, Dance along the things that I would see on TV and trying to imitate them and, and, you know, it made me feel good too, as to watch it and to, to try to do it just felt good to, to do those types of dances. So those are the earliest memories basically, I think, Oh years.
Michael Whitmire (1m 10s):
Let’s see, we’re talking late seventies, something like that. Yeah. Yeah. When I was a little child, I think I remember my cousin also my first cousin Johnny, and so yeah, kind of, kind of late eighties. Yeah. Around that time. We’ll start like seventies.
Andrea Cody (1m 26s):
Cool. And then when did you first, I guess, like take a dance class or what, you know, what was kind of the next big step for you?
Michael Whitmire (1m 35s):
Well, the next, what is say a small step was probably just, ah, you know, high school then in kind of P I think even in grace elementary school, I remember taking a little square dance class and, and PE a, probably like fourth, the fourth and fifth grade. And as we get into this discussion kind of square day, this really relates a lot to what I do now, but that’s actually, so my first formal memories of our thinking high school, we had like maybe a semester, a PE where we included the Dance and then after that, it probably was not until after I’m a lawyer, I’m the dancing lawyer. And that’s also how some people know me. And, and so maybe even after graduating law school, I had moved out. I was in Austin for a while.
Michael Whitmire (2m 15s):
We moved back to Houston. And so at some point in Houston try it a few dance classes and then off and on for a while, just Dance was friends and decided I wanted to get better and get more formalized with our trading. And that’s probably around 2000 is what I really started taking dance classes seriously, especially as well. And also I did actually, before I teach salsa and a variation of that called Beretta a little bit before I got heavily into the Dance a salsa dance lessons for about a year, I had take a swing dance lessons. And so that was really my first kind of serious delve into a partner dancing.
Michael Whitmire (2m 55s):
And, you know, just what it takes to kind of lead a partner movements and follow along with the music and just, you know, improvise on the spot. So I did that, you know, off and on for awhile. And, but then I started to get more and more into salsa. There were more opportunities for me to dance salsa. And so that’s where I decided to kind of put more of my focus. Yeah. So that, that’s kind of where it got started with the serious learning as well, around, around a year, 2000.
Andrea Cody (3m 22s):
Cool. Well, let’s go back to grade school and when you were square dancing, can you give us like a overview of what square dancing is and kind of what the scene was a, was it in the cafeteria and the gel do a show or kinda, was it just a day?
Michael Whitmire (3m 36s):
No worries. I remember it being more than a day. I don’t remember doing an actual stage show again. I think I recall again during the whole square dance, I, you know, I think probably in the cafeteria where they would teach us and, you know, I remember trying to going back to an, on a regular basis to the point where we learned some moves, you know, don’t see don’t whatever you, you know, they call out it and square dancing and, you know, and just gonna have a fun day and look the other little girl’s on glass. And, you know, just as a group activity, it seemed fun. And, and so that’s why that’s, I guess the main thing I recall was that it was fun that it was some structured Dance activity and yeah, those are kind of our takeaways from it.
Andrea Cody (4m 17s):
Where did you grow up?
Michael Whitmire (4m 20s):
Mostly in Houston, you know, I was born in Michigan, but since I was six years old, I’ve been at Houston. Both of my parents are from Houston, so Houston is help. And even though I’m not truly a native, but I’ve been here long enough to where Houston is Michael yes.
Andrea Cody (4m 34s):
Yeah. I feel you. I moved here when I was five.
Michael Whitmire (4m 37s):
Okay. Okay. So yeah, just not the same year, but yeah, the same kind of thing. Right.
Andrea Cody (4m 43s):
And we did square dancing in kindergarten and the way we did get dressed up one day and all like all the kindergarten, our classes came together in the cafeteria, all in our little groups to eight and we did a show and I know my parents were the air cause I’ve seen a video of it and it was so fun. It just for our listeners square dancing, it’s done to this, like what old time you Western music. And there’s a color that will tell you what moves to do. So kids get taught back to your partner and your lady left and these various moves that just get called out and we know what we’re doing. Cause you know, we know each little.
Michael Whitmire (5m 25s):
Right, right, right. And again, as we did kind of get into the discussion, that’s something, what I still do now is that adult, then it’s like said it relates a lot to that square dance. We learned like the,
Andrea Cody (5m 36s):
Yeah. When you started classes and swinging and salsa, where did you go?
Michael Whitmire (5m 42s):
Let’s see specific studios and things like that. I think. Okay. I think, well, I took the, in the kind of late, mid to late nineties, a class just for baby, basically about a month or so I think it was an SS to queue. It was kind of a prominent day. A studio been around for many years. It’s kind of, not really kind of around now, just because of kind of what happened with hurricane Harvey and Houston a few years ago, but yeah. A friend of mine had a baby. She had taken the first month or so with her boyfriend and they broke up and she wanted to keep going. And I said, okay, I’ll, I’ll tag along for this next session. Have it for the next month. And I did. And I mean, I think I gained some things out of it, but we both kind of stopped at that time, the other place called Rodriguez dance studio that I had taken a class or so from, and then it was kinda, and then I kind of got away from it and then around 2000 or so, that’s what I got back into.
Michael Whitmire (6m 39s):
Let’s see for sway. I know there was a, this is a group called the Houston swings and society and I think they’re still around. And, and I think one of the instructors from there was teaching at the downtown Y and CA and so at least, Oh, that’s how it works. So you started at, at the time, my business office was basically cut a category from a downtown Y and CA. And so it was very easy to go over there and take lessons. And so I did that, I think eventually they moved to the melody club, but people that are Houston for a while, the melody club was a place that they would do some lessons and the whole socials. And so, so that it was kind of the place.
Michael Whitmire (7m 19s):
And then as it turned out, the salsa instructor was also teaching at the downtown YFCA. So we’ll kind of, as it grew around the time when I was starting to think about switching from swinging to salsa, I’m a Sergeant, you know, taking classes a day over there at the downtown, our wives. Yay. And I guess over time I realized kinda the, the little rock step that was in swaying was a little bit different from the rock stuff in salsa. And I was kind of getting sometimes confused and that’s what I’ve kind of decided I really should focus on one or the other and a runner going into salsa. I had more friends who knew how to dance salsa at the time. There are more opportunities to the assaults at the time. So that’s where I kind of kind of veered in that direction. What kind of opportunities do you mean?
Michael Whitmire (7m 60s):
Well, I mean, in terms of, well, how I got into salsa at the beginning was a shortly after I graduated from law school, I worked for another year in Austin. Then I came back to Houston and one of my college roommates was also in bikie, went to law school and we got back together and Houston, and He a kind of introduce he’s, he’s a Mexican American. And he had developed a, a, a wide circle of other Hispanic friends. And I would hang out with him, which you need it. So I would hang out with them. And one time after dinner, a couple of ladies, so they wanted to go to a salsa club and I said, sure, I’ll tag along a couple of cute ladies. Want to do something, I’ll go do it too.
Michael Whitmire (8m 40s):
And they taught me that they taught me the very basic steps of it. And ah, so, and so from that standpoint, I started to develop friends within that network of friends who were Hispanic backgrounds. So from, you know, Puerto Rico tube or Colombia, Venezuela, different countries like that, but a big feature of a lot of their gatherings was music and dance. And so, you know, it could be a birthday party, it could be a wedding, it could be some other just house party get together. And at some point or another, some Latin music would get turned off. And so, so my close network of friends was largely Hispanic and there would be many opportunities just socializing with them to, and their natural kind, a common practice of going out dancing or a socializing would include salsa, music, reggae, other Latin music for them to go swing dancing would be taking them out of where they would go.
Michael Whitmire (9m 32s):
I kind of had to make different friends just from the swing classes I was taking, which was good. I mean, I met some nice people through that, but my wider circle of friends included more Hispanic people and more events where there might be salsa music. There were also more restaurants and clubs and Houston that were playing it on a regular basis. So, so there just more places, more opportunities when I Dance, when I got together with my friends, that it might end up in salsa dancing. And so I didn’t have to make too much of an extra effort to do that, where it would actually be slightly as an extra effort to get to do sleep. And so that’s kind of where it went in that direction.
Andrea Cody (10m 10s):
Yeah. What are your favorite hotspots?
Michael Whitmire (10m 14s):
Well, when, when everything opens up again and hopefully I’m on one of my favorite places was a club Tropicana. The Tropicana was a, it’s a great venue. If you drive by for the outside, you could wouldn’t necessarily recognize all the great stuff that’s inside the little strip center or on the street quarter. But once you go inside, it’s a very nicely, a decorated, a great day is for, and they maintain the Dance for the, the manager there. Umm, you used to be a dancer, I guess he still a dancer, but I met him when we were just dancers on the same dance team many years ago. And, and so I think he knows how to cater to the people who were to go they’re just to grab, drink and relax. And it also, the people go they’re primarily to dance.
Michael Whitmire (10m 55s):
So this is a good environment for a good mix of people. So yeah, Tropicana is kind of my go to on a regular basis, have a great band. There’s a couple of different bands and you know, the secret before would be, there’d be one van on Fridays on a different band on Saturdays. They kind of switched back and forth. There’ve been different years over different points over this last span of years, whether it might’ve had a band on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but now it’s pretty much a Friday Saturday thing. And there’s pretty much a guaranteed a good time. If I’m going to go they’re on a Friday or Saturday. I know that
Andrea Cody (11m 28s):
For sure. Yeah. I’ve been a couple of times. It’s a really fun.
Michael Whitmire (11m 31s):
Okay. Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s a great atmosphere actually. I think I saw you. Yeah. I’ve been diff there with you on top of it a few years ago. I think we overlap there.
Andrea Cody (11m 40s):
Well, I remember Our everybody I danced with there really knew how to Dance.
Michael Whitmire (11m 45s):
Okay. Well my love to take this
Andrea Cody (11m 49s):
Well, I’ve mostly no, you as a performer. So when you start performing,
Michael Whitmire (11m 55s):
I guess my very first performance was probably in the fall of 2000, again with one of their studios. I was where a SIG as taking a lessons at this time, the studio instructor wanted to get some of the students together for the district move a dance routine around Christmas time. I think it was a little, it was early December and he taught us a little routine probably about two or three minutes long. And so yeah, I, I think a couple of other students in the class said that they wanted to do it and, and I said, OK, yeah, I’ll, I’ll do it too. And I know one of the other women in their class is very helpful practicing with me.
Michael Whitmire (12m 36s):
I think at that time it was actually mostly a, a foot work routine where there wasn’t as much about the partner work as more just about the stepping through the, the little pattern that the instructor taught us. And so I think that was the first time I danced, you know, fall 2000. And then I think a couple months later that same instructor kind of decided he wanted to, maybe you put together a little show. And so we’d actually do a few different numbers, you know, a four or five or six different routines on the same show. And again, I chimed in and said, sure, I’d be willing to do that. And kinda the ones they led to another. And I started doing more and more our performances they’re and that’s, that’s out of how it started it.
Michael Whitmire (13m 20s):
One thing led to another, I decided to keep on doing it when I had other opportunities.
Andrea Cody (13m 24s):
What kind of performance spaces were you in?
Michael Whitmire (13m 28s):
I think the very first one was a restaurant. Again, this is back in kind of fall of 2000, early, 2001, there were not as many clubs are dedicated to salsa and Houston, and even now their not a lot, but umm, but it would be common for like, it is now for a restaurant to say, okay, we’re going to have one night a week and that’s our salsa. Right. You know? And so, or a Friday night or a Thursday or Saturday or whatever, it might be as a way to draw on a customer and say, okay, let’s go ahead and have salsa dancers in here. So I think as I recall, the place was a Valentino’s so they move it at the time and, and I think they did have salts every once in a while.
Michael Whitmire (14m 10s):
And the, and I guess, I dunno if, what the range formed with the instructor, whether he had hired it out or just to work it out a deal with the, the, the restaurant over to say, Hey look great to have our students performing here. But yeah, I remember just being a large restaurant that had kind of an open floor where we had the opportunity where I think they did clear out some of the tables and their space for several of us to Dance our routine and go from there.
Andrea Cody (14m 37s):
Cool. Well for our listeners who don’t know salsa, Grundy, tell us about your style,
Michael Whitmire (14m 45s):
Lets see this kind of difficult to pinpoint, but I guess I’ll say what I do generally is I, I do a mix of a private lessons that deal with Latin social dances, such as salsa, a bit chop, chop, chop, chop. So when couples come on to learn that I’ll teach that or to individuals, I won’t do that. I’ll I’ll do that in terms of group classes, I teach workshops umm, in a Dance form called read it. And so in terms of, again, going back to our early part of discussion, Loretta developed out of Cuba, red is a Spanish word for a wheel and the easy way to describe it, isn’t it? This is the salsa version of square dancing.
Michael Whitmire (15m 27s):
The basically we’re dancing, you know, there’s music going on, couples form a circle and then one person calls out the moves and we do them a, a slight variation on of how that, or are a couple different variations and how that differs from a regular square dancing is one. You don’t have to have just four couples. It’s not a square, it’s a circle. And so again, ran it his wheel. So it’s more of a circle of a format. Ah, and you can have anywhere from two couples to a thousand couples. And you know, I’ve actually seen video’s on the internet where somebody’s Colombia had a stadium and the time to do a track around the stadium was still with dancers. One person in the middle had a microphone over this speaker, call it out and everybody was doing it.
Michael Whitmire (16m 8s):
So it really expanded. And so that’s one of the deals too. And so the other variation has also the person calling off the move is one of the dancers. And so typically a square dancing, somebody is standing outside the circle, telling them the dancers are standing outside the square, telling those who a couple of what to do. I am inside the circle, telling everybody what to do. I give every move has a name, some moves. The answer is I can do this. I can do that. Like you do that. And all that means something different are to somebody who’s dancing right up. And so yeah, so being in the circle with the answer, it makes it a little more dynamic as well. And, and, and again, because it kind of developed out of Cuba, it is very common to use Cuban style salsa, a when dancing it, although, you know, any type of salsa can be used on a dance, it was made a variation.
Michael Whitmire (16m 55s):
This also, I’ve also seen it. Dance, you know, the swing dancers I’ve see the dance with other types of just using that for Matt, what other types of music. But, but yeah, I guess I focus on Rita a little bit more of a Cuban style, but when I grew up, when I kind of my dad’s journey and my learning, like I said, developed with friends from different countries. And so really, I didn’t think of salsa as okay, Cuban style salsa or Puerto Rican style or a New York style or a LA style or a Colombian style, which has to be different things now to me it was all salsa. And so I didn’t try to focus on one thing. I just saw what I liked, you know, tried to learn that move and I heard some salsa music and I would do it.
Michael Whitmire (17m 39s):
So, so I try not to limit myself just to what’s considered Cuban style because to be, I enjoy all forms of salsa and I want to be in a situation where wants to Dance it, then I’m there to Dance and I’m there to kind of, we can have a good time on the dance floor or wherever type a sauce. It is. It is at this point, I’ve learned enough about the variations where I think I can adapt to any type of partner. And that’s what I want my students to be able to do. And especially, you know, I used to teach weekly group classes when I decided to create a salsa grind day, I switched to the focus on either of these write a workshops or a private lessons, but it, especially with my private lessons, I try to make sure that my students understand the slight variations they might hear and the music or that they might see from other dancers.
Michael Whitmire (18m 23s):
And to be able to adapt to that, that shouldn’t be just because I learned salsa from a Cuban instructor. I can’t dance with somebody who works also from a Columbia structural, a Puerto Rican to stop them. There’s more similarity than difference, you know, kind of like with people that really we can make it work if you’re interested in Dance and that person just recognizing where the differences are then going there, respecting your partner and trying to figure out how you can make that work for that three minutes or five minutes worth of social media.
Andrea Cody (18m 52s):
Would you please tell us more about that and their connection? Maybe like some of those words that you actually use when you teach your students,
Michael Whitmire (19m 1s):
You mean in terms of like the, the rate of calls or a description of salsa
Andrea Cody (19m 5s):
That let’s start with roadway to calls and then I want to know more about how to a vibe with your partner.
Michael Whitmire (19m 11s):
Okay. Okay. Well, so yeah, so right out there’s, you know, the w most of the calls are in Spanish. And so they’re going to be Spanish words again, like I said, it developed out of Cuba and we pretty much stick with a kind of the Spanish formulation, a basic call is dominance, which means to give me, and, and so that it just means, give me the next lady on the circle, where a one time we’ll switch the standing with this one partner, and then their call has made. And you’re seeing this on video on doing this as the hand signal and the hand signal for this to me, the next late, I might put two fingers and bring them together. That’s my dominate dose. I will move to the second lady in our circle. I can tap my head. And that means Subaru is a move.
Michael Whitmire (19m 53s):
And so at that point, once I tap my head, you know, to do the moves, so this is the Spanish word for, and so that’s why I’m doing that. And so part of the deal to, with having both a, a, a, a, an oral call it a hand signal is, you know, we can be in a club, we can be in a restaurant or at a festival where the music is so loud that I can shout as loud as I can shout in the person who’s next to me is still can’t hear it, but they could still see me across the circle. And so that’s where the hand signals come in. So that even if you can’t hear me, you can still see me. And we just still make the Dance work a same type of thing. Maybe I’m in the club and the lights are flashing a lot, and maybe it’s difficult to see my hands.
Michael Whitmire (20m 33s):
Well, then I’m going to shout out a little bit louder, so you could hear me. So they’re ways to try to deal with either one of those situations. And so, so again, those are some of the calls that there’s also some, some, this movie called Kentucky based off the Kentucky fried chicken. And, but it’s just, I think deal to somebody in Cuba, kinda heard about Kentucky for our chicken and the way the move works by my, if you can see my hand signal, it’s my elbow kind of flapping up and down like the chicken wing. And there are a couple of points in that move where one partner forms a chicken wing in the other part and folds a chicken way. And so Kentucky came out of that.
Andrea Cody (21m 8s):
And for our listeners, Michael is just got his hand up by his armpit and he’s flapping his elbow out there, like a wing, but we are only going to be recording or sharing this conversation via audio on our pocket.
Michael Whitmire (21m 22s):
Okay. Okay. Great. All right. Great. So I’ll try to be as to shift as like a flat flapping, my elbow up and down is a legitimate call, a veranda, a actually known around the world for flapping your upper arm up and down. And then everybody does, there’s a funder together. So it’s those types of things. So, and so part of the deal with the Dance is it’s very social. And so that’s part of the fun of Rita is yes, it’s great to dance with one partner and share the dance with our one person. But there’s an also, there’s a different level that happens when you’re dancing with a group of people. What’s a group of friends you want to get together and kind of share this particular, this, and so from their standpoint, it’s nice to have, but a different way of enjoying the Dance experiencing the music with a group of people, as opposed to just one person.
Michael Whitmire (22m 10s):
So this is great for that. That’s part of what I liked so much about. Yeah, very far, very far. And I like, I like being able to sharing that with other people, as I tell my students, usually when they come in to my first, the first ready to a workshop, I asked them, why did you come here today? Why, what made you come here? Maybe they saw an ad on Facebook, or maybe they new a former student who told them to show up, or maybe they just saw us out socially and figured out I’m the one who teaches it and decided to com. And I’d say, that’s great. And our tell them, well, that’s great. That’s why you’re here. And I teach it because I can’t do it by myself. And so I wanted to grow the community of read a dancer’s on Houston or wherever you happen to be. And so it takes instructor to do that, but our, it is fun.
Michael Whitmire (22m 52s):
I like sharing that fun without a people. And yeah, it’s, it’s been a great to be able to keep that for over a decade now.
Andrea Cody (23m 1s):
Yeah. All right. Well, you must know a lot about teaching connection, so lay it on us.
Michael Whitmire (23m 8s):
Well, a part of it is about this kind of respecting your partner, understanding your partner, understanding the possibilities of what the move might be, what your partner needs to feel, to be able to understand the move, but also just to relate to you as a person. I mean, Andy, you know, kind of a little bit of eye contact should be happening a year. The markets are gonna stare your partner down the hole Dance but, but just make, make sure you’re a, you’re acknowledging that it’s another person that’s there. Aren’t they? I think sometimes when people get into dance lessons, they think about it as, Oh, these are some steps of what I need to do with my feet, or what should I be styling my arms or, or whatever.
Michael Whitmire (23m 48s):
But at the most basic level, I think any Dance come on, any partner Dance comes down to, to people. It doesn’t always have to be a mating ritual. It doesn’t have to be that again. That’s again, part of what I learned when I was dancing with our friends, kind of through the nineties, even before I took formal lessons, again, it could be a wedding, the birthday party, it could be an, a mother dancer with the son of a father dancing with the cousins. It’s not about the pickups in the mail and nightclubs, you know, men and women like to get together and a, you know, you get together. And so, but, but it doesn’t always have to be that. And so if you could go to the, at this point, I couldn’t know what I go to a club.
Michael Whitmire (24m 28s):
Okay. These are the people over time. These are the ones who were here at the Dance. He’s a little, the ones that are here to feel that same connection with the music and the partner that I’m looking for them. It’s about us sharing this, these few minutes of music together. It may be, it could be romantic if you want it to be, it doesn’t have to be, to be your production with the music. And that can be the enjoyment you get out of it. Let’s whatever kind of joy I get out of hearing this music and wanting to express that with my body at that wants to express that too. Then I want us to be able to do that together. I want to recognize when there are moments that I should let Michael. And so from that standpoint, Our try to teach the leaders’.
Michael Whitmire (25m 9s):
You know, most of the cases, you know, female leaders as well, the lead follow Dance that I want to make sure that they’re respectful of the fact that these women wanted to express the music too. Your follower wants to express the music too. So just bribing them by both hands and twisted them through moves for four minutes in a row. Doesn’t let your partner enjoy the music. And so, and it’s so, you know, let her garden, or do something that allows your partner to enjoy the music, same type of thing. If I’m patient the women. Yeah. You don’t understand you’re styling and, you know, a stick to your arm at, or flipping your hair, you know, the swinging on your hip or whatever you might do, but still, you know, do that in a way that’s interactive with it, your partner, but that is still not about just showing off the list.
Michael Whitmire (25m 53s):
It’s nice to look good on the dance floor, but it starts off with joining the dance with your partner in our founder, just from my personal experience, if I’m watching two couples on the dance floor on is connected with each other, maybe to doing simpler the moon, but they’re connected with each other and connected with the music. I enjoy watching that a lot and versus a couple could be staying next to them, doing all kinds of fancy. The moves are, yes, they’re intricate and complicated, but if they’re not truly connecting with each other and their knowledge connected with the music, it’s less enjoyable to watch it at a certain point is yes, it’s great to see the athleticism. Maybe they’re doing the scans or whatever it might be, but, you know, I can only enjoy watching it for so long versus just, okay, I could enjoy this experience.
Michael Whitmire (26m 36s):
So this brings these to people on the dance floor. Maybe there a romantic couple, maybe they’re not, but I can feel that they’re connecting with each other, make with a music, whatever the complexity of moves are doing. And that’s the dribble to me. And that’s what I like to do on a whim dancing. That’s what I think is best for my students. So I think it gets students who would come to me and stay with me are probably the ones who lead that. Also, if you’re the type of students who only wants a fancy move and the patterns all the time, you know, you’re going to get that from me for a little while, but you might go on somewhere else, but the ones who you truly are seeking that connection. And I try to try to let them know how good that can feel if you’re doing it right. That, you know, maybe what you thought you knew about Dance of what you thought you owe on a date should be about, can be something different.
Michael Whitmire (27m 20s):
And ah, just to kind of expose them to that idea of, okay, there’s this other way of approaching it is that I think is good for your, the longterm in front of how you approaching it is
Andrea Cody (27m 32s):
Cool. Thank you. Where can people find you and connect with you online?
Michael Whitmire (27m 40s):
Well, I have a website called the salsa grind day, got net. And so that’s the word salsa and the word grind day, a GRA a D e.net. I also have a webpage salsa grow on a day. And so those are the two main places for that. The, the website as a number of our, you know, a performance videos on it, you know, we’ve been on TV several times. And so there’s several clips. I compiled our television performance’s as well as our performances, that different festivals, you know, we traveled to California a couple of times. And so kinda proud of your work, the work performance is out there. And so, yeah, just several. So you can kinda see what we do is you can see what great is about, even if you’d never heard about it.
Michael Whitmire (28m 21s):
Umm, it is the type of dance where you should know salsa, a at least the basics of salsa partner dancing before you do the right format. So that that’s the level. I do want people to be at least, you know, early intermediate as his preferred for or hire is preferred for getting into Beretta. But for people who want to just learn what the Dance from scratch and my private lessons, I could do that for anybody. And so, but yeah, so salsa current data on that or this, the Facebook page results of earlier to, to lay places, to find what I do.
Andrea Cody (28m 57s):
Great. Are you giving online classes?
Michael Whitmire (29m 1s):
No, not now again, because of the nature of the group Dance for Rita is difficult to kind of simulate that I do not have a consistent partner who lives with me or that I would want to, to have to deal with all the social distancing issues and, and take her out of her comfort zone. So, so yeah, I would not teach a writer online in terms of just private lessons. I guess that’s a possibility I have not gotten into that. I think there are other instructors who do solo dancing just for my particular style of instruction. It is more helpful for me to be a little bit more hands on interactive with a couple of, or a person when I’m with them.
Michael Whitmire (29m 43s):
Yes. I can visually tell them what they’re doing right or wrong or explain it. And I think I’m pretty good at that, but it does help to actually feel how a person would be touching, feeling their partner. And so I’d be missing that from your online instruction. So, so no, I haven’t done that. I suppose again, if you have, if somebody wanted to contact me about at least explaining some moves to them, I could do that. But in terms of just trying to put myself out there, I don’t put myself out there because that’s not good. A wouldn’t be a comfortable, it’s a way for you to teach. I don’t think I’d be as effective at that. There are plenty of other instructors who are doing footwork classes and solo class and styling classes.
Michael Whitmire (30m 24s):
And I don’t know that I’m that much better than they are to try to force myself into that. You know, fortunately, you know, the salsa teaching dances, not the way that this sort of put food on the table is, you know, I have my other day job. And so I don’t feel compelled to do that either through online a classes a day to class and whatever, which is great for other people to do so, but I just haven’t felt compelled enough to do that. I think there’s there’s enough presence out there of other instructors as to where I don’t feel I have to force myself. And then
Andrea Cody (30m 56s):
I understand when did the way to develop
Michael Whitmire (31m 2s):
Well, ready to go. There are different theories on that, but again, I’ve tried to educate myself as much as possible. And so my best understanding it is, it basically started in the 1950s in Cuba. And, and again, back to maybe the swing dancing, Todd, what I, what I’ve been told and heard even my, my YouTube page with the contains the interview with kind of one of the earliest answers of Reda, because a woman from the Boston area who was very good at both Spanish and English interviewed him and a space about an hour long interview where she’s able to translate what he’s saying is very helpful.
Michael Whitmire (31m 45s):
Also our taking the seminar with her. I kind of know her personally now, but anyways, this discussion kind of folks’ on the fact that kind of in late 1950s, there was more interchange culturally between the United States and Cuba. And so some of the young Cubans, they, you know, like teenagers, see some movies and, you know, see American swing dancing in movies. And so that’s what they call, call a rock and roll dancing. So a lot of people in Spanish speaking countries kind of refer to what we call swing dancing, just kinda rock and roll dancing. And so, so they saw some of that. And so the fundamental movement of Rita is called
Michael Whitmire (32m 35s):
And so that was so I think so some of those Cuban teens saw that they’re trying to figure out a way that they could do that in a group. And, and so I guess, you know, some of the music of the time that was available was the old traditional Cuban rhythms, a salsa Mambo, a song is really kinda what the traditional Cuba sound is called. And so they could use some of that music to dance and they, and they just developed their own calls, the names. And so I don’t know how much they also got influenced by any square dancing. They may have see their movies, things like that. But I know there’s been a definite discussion of a square dancing was a little bit of that focused and the 1950s in Cuba, and then, you know, kind of early 1960s with the embargo and political relations becoming more straight in between U S and Cuba, there was less of a connection directly between Cuba, the United States.
Michael Whitmire (33m 28s):
But with some of those tubings going to Miami, then Miami became the focus, have a lot of Ritter development. And so, so then Miami became a source of kind of how burrito was built in spring. And so now it’s really spread all over the world. And of course there are other countries that did not have as much political trouble with Cuba. So cubes could go to France or Spain or Italy or wherever and spread the Dance. And also the people from Miami could spread around the United States. It’s a really, as a developer on the world, wherever there’s salsa, there’s somebody doing or teaching grit. And so, so yeah, so it really started kind of in the late 1950s developed a little bit more in the 1960s, you kind of faded away a little bit, I think there the eighties, but it was kind of coming back very strongly and the 21st century
Andrea Cody (34m 15s):
Oh yeah. Salt is just gotten so popular.
Michael Whitmire (34m 19s):
Yeah. Yeah. And so it was soft. What’s also becoming more popular than red. It became more because again, there are certain, obviously people like the partner, the dancing one-on-one and then, Oh, and there’s a certain subset of people who see, Oh, we can do this, then a group here. It does it. I can do this in a way that’s challenges myself, the skills have a slightly different way. And then they go off into the rate of directions. And so, so yeah. So with salsas development, ready to development, kind of follow it along with that.
Andrea Cody (34m 49s):
What do you think salsa and Rwanda collectively or separately say about our culture?
Michael Whitmire (34m 59s):
Kind of a neat need to connect with another person again, to the extent that we’re talking about it, salsa as a partner, Dance just one to one. Does that need to connect just the need to express something when you’re hearing great energy on the music? So I think there’s that I think Rita particularly expresses that a need to connect with a lot of people. And so it’s not just about one person, but it’s like we enjoy being in a community of people who I’m like the same things that we do, their hair feeling, the same things that we’re doing at the same time. I’m also, I’m kind of a season ticket holder with the Astros Houston Astros baseball team, then a partial season ticket holder with the use of rockets.
Michael Whitmire (35m 44s):
And again, those are sports used to work as basketball. Those, the sports that I can watch on TV, there’s a certain level of excitement that comes from just being in the stadium with a lot of other sports fans, curing for the team at the same time, feeling the same energy. And so Rita trying to simulate that type of feeling or that energy, Oh, we’re all in this together. We’re all experiencing the music together. And so just that, that kind of basic human need to express the music, but also connect with other people. You know, again, whether it’s one on one through basic salsa, their traditional one-on-one salsa dancing or on the red, a group format where it’s, Hey, I’d like to do this. And I’d like to share it with other people around me at the site.
Andrea Cody (36m 27s):
If we can go back just a minute, who was in the video that you said, what was the woman from? Did you say Boston or Brooklyn?
Michael Whitmire (36m 35s):
Oh, Oh, a boss. Boss. Yeah. Yeah. Her name was Frank and yeah. And I think she may have been born in New York. I wouldn’t commit to that, but, but yeah, her name, but she lives with the Boston area now. And I feel like this started last year. I think it was when I went to the Boston area and she’s still living there, but yeah, she has a very big interest to trips between the United States and Cuba. And he was the guy, I can’t remember his name, but he was,
Andrea Cody (37m 8s):
But where’s the video again?
Michael Whitmire (37m 10s):
It’s on YouTube. It’s, let’s see. I’ll, I’ll have to send you the information, but basically you’d probably see something like the founders of rata, that type of thing of in it’ll get rid of four people who aren’t familiar with spelled R U E D. And so yeah, if you look up an R a Frank writer interview with one of the founders, something like that, I can’t remember all the words I put in the description, but that should help it pop up. And it’s basically a, by the hour long interview that talks about how it developed, what the young youngsters in Cuba at the time kind of spread across the Island of Cuba when some of them were moving around and drove from the airport in our Frank, I think she works. She, she teaches Dance she also kind of organizes, or at least she did before all this happened trips between the United States and Cuba.
Michael Whitmire (37m 56s):
And so she has a strong interest in kind of connecting people with Cuban Dance information about it, feeling more comfortable that yes. Okay. Yes. It’s in a different language then this is the main language English in the United States, but we can still feel, you know, even if aren’t fully wouldn’t in with understand the language, there’s still the element of feeling the energy feeling, the connection that you can get from the Dance regardless of the language, which you speak.
Andrea Cody (38m 23s):
Yeah. And you can learn what sombrero means.
Michael Whitmire (38m 26s):
Oh yeah, definitely. Definitely. Yeah. So there’s, there’s lots of stuff that can be learned and, and connected with. And I think that’s also, I took Spanish in high school, but I wouldn’t call myself and I’ve picked up a little bit more of a year, but still not fluent in the nineties, even when I wasn’t understanding the music in our area, but I could join our friends in this experience that, that we can all enjoy it and connect. And, you know, even, you know, some of the ticket as a compliment when sometimes I might be a Tropicana or some other club and somebody comes up to me and just start speaking to be in Spanish. Cause they just assume that I must have Spanish. If, if I, if I dance that way, I must be Cupid or Colombia, you know, somewhere else that there might be more dark skinned, the answers.
Michael Whitmire (39m 12s):
And then people were just listing, I am African American and you don’t look Latino or your traditional view of, of that. But, and so I don’t necessarily look like a salsa dancer if you just saw me standing up there. But, but once I started dancing and people see me Dance, and then I hope I connect in a way that’s authentic that somebody can feel, or if they’ve come from a Latin country and they’ve just known salsa dance and the country that they can connect with me here. And so, so I Our taking those as a compliment or when people do that, because they, at some level, they think I’m one of them, I’m one of the people who connects to the music the way they do or, or they’re, you know, or they say, okay, you know, where are you from?
Michael Whitmire (39m 54s):
And I’m like, Oh, Houston Oh, where are you really from, well, Michigan, I think they’re trying to get at me. Then I must have some level of Latin blood and me and no I don’t, but I do have that same, a connection to the music that you’d said. It didn’t matter that yes, I’m from Michigan and used to, but I feel to music as a human being and the, you know, we all can do that. And so that that’s, and that’s part of the reason why I teach as well. But I think some people might be intimidated about any type of Dance particularly something where there’s a Dance going on, their languages being spoken that they don’t know. And on here to say, yes, you can connect with it. I’ll help you bridge that gap with the best way I can do what I had to.
Michael Whitmire (40m 36s):
And I tried to help you along the lines to, to make it better. That’s really nice. Yeah. I, I think that that’s important. So, you know, to, to whatever kind of my personal viewpoint of people connecting, I think that can be translated to Dance. I am happy to have a wide variety of, of people who take my classes. I think when I started dancing, you know, again, with my friends back to the nineties, yes, I go to clubs and most of the people would be, you know, from Latin countries of Latin, Latin heritage. And I would try to stand out. I think these days I don’t stand out as much as a tall African-American again, if you’re even watching this on a video or hearing this on Podcasts and I’m 60 to over 200 lbs, you know, kinda the traditional thought and what you think it was a dancer in the summer, I kind of stand out and that way, but I can still relate.
Michael Whitmire (41m 31s):
But nowadays, like I said, there’s so many different types of people. I think I’m, you know, there was a wave of when Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez got people interested in Latin culture a different way. And over the years there’ve been other opportunities that people might start to feel like they want to see what this is about. Especially in a city, like Houston with our very, a diverse community of different ethnicities and the people who are countries of where people are from. And I think it’s very, yeah, if you find the people who are a little more open minded to trying something different and a, and I’m glad that there are people willing to try something different. And our charter, like I said, be the bridge between what they do before, what they can know now and, and go from there.
Andrea Cody (42m 13s):
Yeah. You’re just really bring me back to going to Tropicana and knowing that, like, I mean, it, as a compliment to you, to your culture, like, like all Latin history that this is so great. It’s so fun. You guys are awesome for keeping it up and for coming out tonight. And I I’ve just really enjoyed that experience. And like, I couldn’t, I couldn’t say that in Spanish, but I can go out in the dance floor and I moved just like everybody else. So there is that common heart that, you know, we all have that heartbeat and we all have the same, I guess, like just connection with the music. So I love the way that you verbalize that.
Andrea Cody (42m 55s):
And it just makes, it just makes me remember very, very fondly, those fun times that we had.
Michael Whitmire (43m 1s):
Yeah. And I think that that relates to her maybe a couple of points I’d like to it’s, you know what I talked about enjoying being with my friends, you know, and that’s part of the, in the nineties, as part of the deal about the biotin culture, then I started to becoming more, you know, the press with a, I guess I, you know, I honestly had the, you know, my parents love me, but it was not a very touchy, feely household of when I grew up. And, but then I’m hanging around my friends and this is kind of a Latin environment and everybody is, you know, kissing on the cheek and hugging and greeting. And, and so I think I, I liked that Wharf, that it came from Latin culture and that openness. And so just kind of being around that was, was, was very helpful to me and probably another incentive to kind of stick around, Hey, I like being in this environment, these people in this environment, like the Dance and I liked the Dance, what can I do to kind of stay here and enjoy it the same way that they do.
Michael Whitmire (43m 54s):
And so, yeah, that, that worked comes through their connection comes through. It also reminds me of a friend that he was living here. I think he’s from fuse for Columbia. I think for work, he was living in Houston for just a couple of years. And then a few years later he had to move away and we had a farewell party for them. And so one of the things that you said to me during the farewell party, we’ll se you know, I’m really glad I met you here. You know, when I came, I didn’t think there’d be anybody in the United States who would feel this music the way I do, who relates to the way I do, but, but there was somebody and there are more people now, but kind of, I was a connection to him that back to what he felt at home and the He and it made him feel better that somebody else respected that and that, and that’s what it ultimately try to do it again.
Michael Whitmire (44m 44s):
I wanted to teach it, but I don’t, you know, there’s, there’s a term culture of our culture vulture where somebody comes in, they’re not necessarily from that culture of to try to appropriate it and do things with it. And, and I, and I, I don’t want to be seen that way. I want to be seeing it as though I’m not Hispanic, that’s it don’t have any of that in my background, but I respect it. And I want to treat it with respect. I want to share it in a way disrespectful, without trying to claim that I have any other connection. There, there, there is, you know, there, there is a route in, in, in salsa, that’s a really a mix of African culture, African music, drums, percussion, Congress, Broncos, and our type of thing.
Michael Whitmire (45m 27s):
And it’s mixed with some of the European or Spanish influences in tuber. And so, so at some level, yes, there’s kind of, so my Afro American heritage so much answer to heritage, if you can come through, but at some level I’m not Hispanic. I’m not lying. I’m not trying to say I am, but I do respect it. And I think we can feel this together the same way it is. And it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s very heartwarming to me when people connect to be in that way, who are from Latin heritage and backgrounds, and they feel the music the same way I do. We can share a tribal with the S four enjoy ourselves. And yeah, it feels good when things like that happen. People say things like that to me,
3 (46m 10s):
Have you danced in Cuba?
Michael Whitmire (46m 13s):
No, I haven’t. And that’s one of the things I’d really like to do. I mean, there, there was a Cuban trip. It got postponed last year, partly because of political reasons. I think the Trump administration kind of cut off some of the abilities of, of, of American citizen, us citizens to travel as really, to Cuba. So you know that, but that’s one of the things I like to do. I have not Dance in Cuba. I have been lucky again, there, there are a number of Cubans live in Houston and so, and again, that a lot to them, and that’s where, so my Dance development has happened from dancing with them, from talking with them, interacting with them. I’m also taking classes from tubing instructors. Who’ve been through the Houston area, also Inn.
Michael Whitmire (46m 56s):
It wouldn’t stop most people, but they’re is actually a good size community of people in the San Francisco, Oakland area who love Cuban music. And again, I’ve been out to several festivals out there and taking instruction from Cuban instructors out there. And so I did some slightly in some direct in the sense that it’s from Cuba instructors, but not necessarily being into you, but at the time. But again, I feel like I’m getting a little more exposure to it, obviously on a wait watch, a lot of videos and YouTube and things like that, or whatever my popple on Facebook of Dance used to work in Cuba, we’re from Cuba. And that helps by our ability to kind of connect with it and learn it, share it with other people as the destructor, that type of thing.
Michael Whitmire (47m 38s):
So, so you know those, so the short answer is no, I haven’t been to Cuba, but yes, I’ve had a lot of kind of contacts with ways that I think it gives me a good opportunity to understand what the means is. We’re about to, to share it in that, in that way. Oh yeah. I have been to Miami and ah, this could probably swatch a long story, but I actually, one of my kind of formative salsa experiences was winning at a dance salsa dance contest in Miami back in 2002, right then there. And there’s a little conference and a and M well, basically, what am I good friends, again, part of the circle of friends, I had Hispanic friends, these Cuban American, and this year, the company was going, had a, sponsored him to go to a conference in Miami.
Michael Whitmire (48m 27s):
I said, I go, it the same time goes to his conference during the day. And then, you know, we could get together a nice to hang out. It’s all the clubs or whatever Miami it turned out is the conference, which is basically for Hispanics professionals around the United States, what’s available. Does this contest each day? I don’t think it was two or three day contest. And they had two to three day conference and they would have a dance contest each day. And so, so he told me about it that they’d had a one day and I said, OK, I’ll, I’ll show it the next day and see what it’s about. Not necessarily intending to join the contest, but just kind of see in what was happening. And, but then they invited people to participate.
Michael Whitmire (49m 9s):
And I said, okay, I went up there. And so I like to dance. I don’t necessarily have a partner. Some of the person came out of the crowd, I would say woman, but to me, this is one of these 16. It, I discovered at a later she was so at the time was probably probably about twice their age, but she was an extra day. And so as it turned out and it was a contest where they, ah, you know, they kinda weeded us out. The were a couple of years, I think maybe to start out with 10 to 12 couples. And then what ended up being too, and their audience was the winner was a piggyback on the audience vote and they chew for us. And so that was, again, that’s kind of one of really the most important experience in my life.
Michael Whitmire (49m 51s):
Not just my salsa life, but, but it was, it was great to be in that environment, many Hispanic, Latin people around me, they don’t know me at all. You’re a Miami for Houston and this find a way as a partner and this dance contest, and you cheer for us that you thought we should win this contest. And you thought we were reflecting the dance in a way that a respected the way that you would understand the dance. And so, so just kind of hearing that cheer from random people, winning the contest, not necessarily about the winning, but about the approval from that particular audience made it very meaningful to. And so, so yeah. So when you say Miami dancing, that’s really one of the best experiences of my life.
Andrea Cody (50m 36s):
Michael Whitmire (50m 40s):
Thanks. Thanks. Yeah. 18 years later, but it was, it was, it was great. And it really was formative for a lot of things that had happened afterwards. It gave me the confidence. Yes, I’m doing this right. I’m doing this in a way that people can respect and understand that, okay, this big crowd thought that I was the type of person who could this this day is the way it should be data. So that it gave me a certain boost of confidence to be able to say, okay, yeah, maybe I could teach this to somebody else. Maybe you have to do have skill too. Put this on a stage in other people, watch me or put myself on television and not think I’m going to embarrass myself because I had the confidence. Yes. I can do this in a way.
Michael Whitmire (51m 22s):
That’s, you know, pleasurable to watch
Andrea Cody (51m 27s):
Yeah. You to S a stamp of approval.
Michael Whitmire (51m 31s):
Yeah, yeah, no, it’s definitely good to have that. It gets them not necessarily, you know, always out there dancing just to have somebody validate it. It really is. To me, it all still always goes back to I’m enjoying this music. I wanted to express it. And I think maybe early on the interview at, then you talked about maybe on a particular style. And I guess if I’d say anything about my dances, I try to be musical with it, or tried to have musicality. I try to reflect the ups and downs to change the tempo and the accents that are going on the music. So I do try to dance in a way that’s expressing the, whatever the promotion of the music was thinking and expressing as opposed to stepping one to three, five, six, seven, you know, okay.
Michael Whitmire (52m 16s):
The music has a Metrodome for me to step two. I want to express the, the, the, the changes, the, the ebbs and flows, the different emotions that are conveyed in different parts of the solver, different types of songs in different ways. And so that’s what it really comes back down to be. You know, like I said, yeah, it’s definitely a nice to have the validation. I can say somebody comes up to me to speak some Spanish and feels that I’m expressing or winning a contest or getting invited to perform somewhere because, okay. Somebody saw me dancing and they want me to bring them, you know, a partner or to bring my group to Dance somewhere and share that with other people. But they can also find the same joy that we find.
Andrea Cody (52m 55s):
And, you know, you stepped up out of the blue and into the limelight and you brought her with you and she got to win. And she was 16. What is a huge thing for her? You know, I’m assuming she wasn’t like a, you know, champion dancer by that point, maybe she was, but I mean, good for you to bring her to that and give her that experience too. You get a lead.
Michael Whitmire (53m 19s):
Oh yeah. Yeah. It was, it definitely was great for both of us. Yeah. I got the impression. She probably had had some Dance training, but not she was teaching other people or anything like that. She was Cuban, she was a Cuban Frank round. And a, and so again, she was there, I think with her mother and her sister in the they’d been a pushed her out there. I don’t know exactly how she got up there with me, but, you know, I could tell from the first couple of moves that she was a good dancer. And I think I kind of connected with her through Facebook. I know she’s out there still dancing, not necessarily performing, but yeah, she was an ex with the answer. I was lucky to have her. And, and it goes back to the point about, you know, I, if I have this great deal of, to, with me, I wanted to allow her to express herself too.
Michael Whitmire (53m 59s):
And so I think part of what health as when was, you know, to just be still a few years into my training, I might, I probably would not have won, but I think I knew enough when to step out of the way and let this other grade dance or Sean. And I think that the way that we played off of each other was something that the thought has picked up more. So, you know, they could, they could feel, you know, yes. On a certain level of skill, but they also could feel that connection. They also could feel, okay, yes, there’s another grade, you know what? I’m dancing with it. And all that played together in, in winning that particular contest. But I’m glad whenever, when you played any role in her life as well,
Andrea Cody (54m 40s):
It’s fun to watch perfect strangers get out there and try to figure out how to dance to that song together. You know? So spontaneous, it’s a surprise. You don’t know what they’re doing and they don’t even know what they’re doing.
Michael Whitmire (54m 50s):
Oh yeah. Yeah. And that happens a lot, of course in is a social dance or a night club setting. Now you can just, a few months ago, then I was back at that same festival in San Francisco where they focus on Cuban music. And I remember I dance a song with the, with a woman, I didn’t know. And then are you okay? It came off the dance floor. And a couple of minutes later, a woman walked up to me and said, Oh, how long have you guys been dancing together? As I said, I just met her. And again, I think she was kinda new to that setting. I don’t know if she kinda came there with a friend or whatever, but she was shocked that we could Dance them all together, spontaneously improvised. We just heard this random song we met for that minute.
Michael Whitmire (55m 31s):
We walked away from each other. And, but, you know, somebody else could recognize there was a connection even from strangers. And it felt like a real connection between people, even though they happen to be strangers, but they’re connected because the music had a certain skill level. My partner had a certain skill level and somebody outside recognize that. So, so I do like when somebody can, could see that and pick up on that from afar, even if they don’t know as much about the Dance that we can still make this happen. As far as dancers,
Andrea Cody (56m 3s):
It sounds like you went from being a little boy in front of the TV to dancing across the country and out on the town all the time and on stages and TV. And, and now you’re back in front of the screen again, here we are.
Michael Whitmire (56m 21s):
Yeah. How are you? Like, are you, are
Andrea Cody (56m 24s):
You seeing your friends or y’all guys y’all doing a little solo Dance hymn or what
Michael Whitmire (56m 33s):
You said? Yeah. I don’t really do much in terms of structure wise. I have actually taken a couple of arms on the dance classes, the classes on Saturdays during this whole academic parties. So yeah, I have, I have taken a couple of those classes. It still not quite the same by a daily tuned to the kind of foot work classes. It’s, there’s not quite the same connection, but you still get that feeling of the movement that comes from expressing the Dance and that emotion that comes from this loop of your body, where there’s music going on. So there’s that, but then otherwise it’s more along the lines of, you know, exchanged some emails, messages, Hey, how are you doing? You know, let me know what you’ve been up to because, because part, yes, I want to the lucky that over the span of teaching, and I think maybe the method with the way I teach it’s conducive to actually making friends with the people who you are to learn from me are dance teams that I’ve choreographed.
Michael Whitmire (57m 30s):
And so I’ve developed friendships. So a part also a part of going out to the nightclub, the dancing was about just seeing my friends. It was not just only about the Dance, but it stopped seeing, connecting with my friends. And so, so from that level, I still try to connect. And so, so any friends and having gotten an email from me yet, you probably will get one. So I’m just going to try to touch base with different people at different times saying, Hey, how are you doing? And a, you know, what are you going to have to have you the dealer with this, this is art and dealing with it, you know, just because to let them know it, wasn’t just a superficial Dance connection. I thought we were friends. I think we, our friends, we, we, we should stay connected through this.
Michael Whitmire (58m 13s):
Let’s get together after this is all over their, there should be some kind of continuation through the process. Even if we can’t physically be the same room to answer to each other, let’s still stay connected. And so I’m grateful for the friends I’ve met through their eyes over the years. That’s be great for me, as I mentioned, I’m a lawyer and my day job, and yes, it’s nice to hang out with some lawyers, but not all the time. And so I’ve really been glad that the Dance is introduced me to teachers and engineers and, you know, maintenance workers and other, just the wide variety of professions, whoever designed this, the main, like the Dance we could share the experience together to meet so many people that I know I would not have met in my typical lawyer, that it has been, that’s a great part of my life as well.
Michael Whitmire (59m 3s):
And I’ve been able to March to share that’s the Dance, but make friends in a wide variety of backgrounds. So, and that’s what I like as well as I lightened to let people who didn’t grow up the same way I did. I liked understanding things and learning things about different cultures, different experiences. And so that’s important. It’s good to know people who can expose me to things were not a bit exposed to before, basically because, or a mutual love for Dance
Andrea Cody (59m 30s):
Michael Whitmire (59m 32s):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s been great for me.
Andrea Cody (59m 35s):
Well, what’s on your horizon.
Michael Whitmire (59m 38s):
Well, I want to keep dancing. I wanted to keep, you know, choreographing. I wanted to keep teaching really. I had four because of, because of business reasons and other stuff going on, I had not taught as many of the workshops that I normally would have taught during 2090. And I had made a personal commitment that 2020 was going to be the year that I would teach more workshops. And I had done that through January and February. I taught workshops that I had in January, February last year. And, and that was my personal commitment to myself. I’m going to try to ramp this up again. Umm, in a way that I kind of let slide by a little bit last year. And so I wanted to keep a, keep that up and that, you know, still watching the videos, seeing things like that is tip my interest in.
Michael Whitmire (1h 0m 25s):
Dance a lot about being at that festival by contemporary, that always rejuvenate to me. And so, ah, you know, and thinking about different choreographies things of that nature, it actually, I guess it’s two years ago I had, we had done a routine performed on San Francisco that was shortly after kind of hurricane Harvey had happened. And so part of the theme of a routine was about, you know, coming through hardships and then coming out of it, Dance it still, you know, okay. We made it through now. Let’s enjoy a lot to do. And so, and so I kinda liked to take that same approach. I probably wouldn’t do a similar type of choreography at this time. I’m just going to done it before, but I do want to have it is joyful choreography.
Michael Whitmire (1h 1m 7s):
And when we come out of this to just reflect, Hey, we made it, let’s enjoy our corporate day to go to let’s let’s let’s live let’s let’s continue.
Andrea Cody (1h 1m 18s):
Awesome. Well, in the meantime, you know, being at home and I’m watching out for your safety, I guess, you know, we don’t really know like when it would be umm, when it will happen that you’re going to want to go back to Tropicana. So, you know, like in an imaginary world, if you didn’t think that was going to happen again, what would you start doing?
Michael Whitmire (1h 1m 51s):
Well, that’s, that’s a, that’s a deep question and well, because I guess it kind of goes away from what are my philosophies about this, which is there’s always going to be another Dance, you know, if I couldn’t do everything and, and use up every move I learned and all that, I don’t have to do that for the sake of this one song and to try to show off, I can do whatever I wanted to do another time. This is going to be another night. You can do that if there was no other night, well, I probably would try to make greater efforts to connect through zoom or through whatever video platforms there are. And I guess part may be part of the reason are kind of held back a little bit, like I said, is that there have been other people occupying that space, but there will be a point where maybe I need to occupy the space.
Michael Whitmire (1h 2m 39s):
It’s I haven’t felt the need to do that so far. Maybe it will be there. We’ll become a time where, Hey, we need to connect in a way where we’re sharing this Dance together to whatever technology allows to be that. Yeah, I don’t envision the rest of my life without dancing. And so there has to be some way for me to, to make that happen, but I remain hopeful, optimistic. I’m expecting us to dance together in the future. So, so he has, as it has a last resort, I guess we have to resort to technology or the memories of how we danced before, but I’m hoping it’s not just about memories is about to what we can do in future what we can create and the future together in person.
Michael Whitmire (1h 3m 23s):
So, but that’s what I’m still expecting for them. So optimistic.
Andrea Cody (1h 3m 31s):
Yeah. So you’re just kinda taking a break for now.
Michael Whitmire (1h 3m 35s):
Let’s say your connection broke up to me a little bit. Say that again.
Andrea Cody (1h 3m 39s):
Oh well it’s interesting to me that you were always going out dancing, just, you know, with your friends and with whoever showed up. So in this sense, like you always had a partner, but you somehow still lost your part.
Michael Whitmire (1h 3m 56s):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, that’s, that’s the correct way of looking at it is it’s like, yeah there’s yeah. There’s like I said, they’re the only be another day. Is there a way to get another person asked the dance and art over time, especially, you know, the Houston area. I get to know who all the other people would like to dance. And so then I can just show up by myself and expect there’s going to be somebody there I’ll know at the very base line. And I could ask today this, or even if I have to a stranger as I can do that, but yeah, with no partner at all, it is it that that takes away a big element of, of what I do in what I teach them. Like I said, red is a bow connecting with other people physically and the same space, you know, now this hole the way that the COVID-19 is being understood, it comes from being in the same space with them touching all the people, you know, on a space of a, write a song and it may be touching four, five, eight other women I’m, you know, were a couple of seconds through a one move or a switch to the next part or a few more seconds, which to the next part.
Michael Whitmire (1h 4m 52s):
And I typed that it really is about connecting with somebody, touching another person during the pixel, executing this move together. And we just can’t do that now. And in some ways that might make it one of the last forms of data set, it comes about this because we can’t connect in the same way that a solo a dancer could or even a one on one product is good, but it a group, you know, the way viruses, transmit, whatever. And that just makes it more dangerous at some level. So until we have a handle on it and it makes her right up one of the last things that might come back. So that’s another reason to be optimistic and hopeful for whenever ways we can connect as a community together that many people could be in the same space, touching each other and dancing with each other.
Michael Whitmire (1h 5m 41s):
So yeah, I could see myself again. I like deathly went to one, a salsa with a partner, but I definitely would be losing one of the main things that salsa going to take does this, which is so you had to dance with a group of people and have fun doing that. So I guess you can watch our videos and enjoy some of that, but, but I really would prefer to do that in person. And that’s what I tell people too, when they come to classes, you know, some glad you enjoyed watching it, but now I’m hoping to show you a way to do it is maybe not as complicated as you thought it might be when he saw it visually, but now you can be in the middle of the circle with this, do the same moves let’s let’s, let’s do it. And so I wanted to be in a position where I can teach that again, but also put other people in that environment again, where they can share this Dance with other people in the same space.
Michael Whitmire (1h 6m 40s):
Well, it’s difficult. I can get into long discussion about that. And I have gotten into a few Facebook discussions about frat to it’s difficult because of the fact that some people are even we’re going to be interacting with non dancers. And so too, the, to the extent that, okay, well maybe I pick up the virus from somebody and I’m healthy enough to overcome it. Well, you know, my mother lived in the same household. She is in the age race, that’s more vulnerable. And so, so I have to be extra careful about that in other people are coming into it from their situations. I don’t know who they live with, who they interact with.
Michael Whitmire (1h 7m 20s):
And so I don’t want to be the person, even if I’m healthy enough, even if a group of us are healthy enough to put that other person in danger. So herd immunity involves a certain amount of sacrifice that some people are going to get sicker than other people, just for the sake of other, the rest of us. And it’s difficult for me to be in that position. I understand their arguments for it, but again, I’m not a medical health professional, so I can’t get fully into it, but, but that’s what I become this. And so, again, as an instructor of raita, as an instructor of a group, Dance I do feel a certain amount of responsibility for the safety, the health of the people in my class that people are dancing with.
Michael Whitmire (1h 8m 6s):
So a going to be a little bit more cautious about putting them into that situation, even if I felt like, Oh, myself, I could survive that I can get through it, but I’m very conscious of putting on other people into that situation. The lady that’s the lawyer and the also, but, but yeah, I’m conscious about that.
Andrea Cody (1h 8m 27s):
My guest today is Michael Whitmire Michael thank you for being a part of Dance talk.
Michael Whitmire (1h 8m 32s):
Oh, thank you very much. I’ve done have a joint answer the questions and hopefully somebody gets something out of this interview.