While I have never been a dancer I was a gymnast for a good portion of my life. In competitive gymnastics it is required to have a floor routine where dancing, leaping, turning and tumbling are all combined and structured into a smooth exhibition of creativity and strength. To the non-‐gymnast, the dancing is usually upstaged by the complicated acrobatic skills and impressive tumbling that makes up the majority of the routine, however the dance is just as important. With it you can create the mood and attitude of the routine. Do you want to be cute with hand waves and exaggerated movements? Or do you want to be hardcore with sharp precise movements and a stern face? Whatever route a gymnast takes it is the dance that pulls everything together and expresses the overall meaning of the performance.
My first Optional Competitive floor routine went to the song “Cuban Pete,” most notable from the movie The Mask with Jim Carey. I was nine years old when I comically shook my non-‐existent hips and shimmed my broad athletic shoulders to the corner of the mat in preparation for a diagonal cross tumbling pass. With a big finish I would chick-‐chicky-‐boom into a classic “one and two, three and four” forward and back step of the salsa. During this of course pretending to be partnered by some young Latin man. By throwing my butt out and putting one hand over my mouth while pretending to slap something away from my rear I would imply that he tried grabbed my small little tushy and myself being so shocked would push him away and sashay into a switch-‐leap series. Once finished leaping I would fan my face in a wide legged stance, slightly bent at the hips with my head cocked to the side. At this point the music would switch into a rumba of sorts and I would run with my heels kicking wildly and my arms waving into a high-‐flying flared dive roll. This would bring me onto my knees where I would provoke much laughter by shaking my shoulders and then bending to drum the ground with the beat (all the parents in the stands and my teammates would drum the ground where they were sitting watching as well to incorporate some audience involvement). This awkwardly humorous routine continued until it ended with a cherrio roll to the stomach with hands under chin and legs bent and crossed. Summing this routine to a laughter
2 provoking parody of a woman being the lust of all men but never giving into any of them.
I learned this routine from one of my coaches who was actually a dance instructor and came to the gym only part