Today was the opening of Carnaval at my school (the season runs until the first week of March), and therefore my first event as a Carnaval International Queen of the Teachers (it sounds cooler in Spanish.) Today was the Sirenato de Cumbia, which is basically a cumbia dance competition between the students.
Since the real queen had a sick child at home today, I had to open the event by reading the “Laws of Carnaval” out loud in Spanish, then performing a brief cumbia dance with the king, the chemistry professor! I guess I feel initiated into the club: I am now a dancing queen!
Here are the lessons I learned today:
1. These people are born with dance in their veins–I’m convinced that their bodies are designed with different hips. The kindergartners already know how to shake it!! I’m trying to become an honorary member of the species, though.
2. Lacquer is a real thing and it’s still in my hair.
3. Pretending to have confidence seems to work, even when it comes to folklore dancing!
4. Being a queen ain’t so bad: free refreshments, a man at the ready to fan my face with his hat, and the whole world telling me I’m pretty, even while I’m screwing up their traditional dance!
5. Costenos are the sweetest, most easy-going people (in many, many ways), which comes in handy when you need a last-minute hairspray run, help lacing up a complicated costume, a lesson on how to put on heavy makeup or a crowd to love you even though you have no idea what you’re doing!