I chose instead to express myself on the ‘dance-floor’ – a vague front-room space dangerously compromised by the minefield of tangled feet stretching out from the sofa. I danced Western-style; a solitary rebel among the tightly-clamped pairs.
Suddenly, the swirling couples parted. In their place stood a fearful vision of Colombian beauty, arms crossed, head shaking in disbelief, finger wagging in admonishment. As I slowed obediently to a halt, her demeanour softened somewhat. She beckoned me over with a dainty finger, her eyes mischievously narrowing. Abundantly curved, full-lipped and jutting of cheekbone, she was tightly and elegantly enveloped in no more clothing than was practically needed at a hot little party on a cool Bogotá night.
I explained I couldn’t dance salsa, but generally meant well. She explained that she could. And she could.
For the next hour or so, Marta led me a merry dance, the Kind leading the Blind, the Beauty and the Beastly. She spun me out and reeled me in so that I had no idea of where I was going or how I would get there. I experienced what it was to dance salsa well without knowing how. She danced with her friends, she danced with other guys, but each time I returned to the fray, she adapted her trained and fluent form to the music, sweeping my left feet along with her.
When, for the umpteenth time, she leant her face towards me, eye to eye, parted lips hovering a sixteenth of an inch from mine, I eased instinctively forward to kiss her. She pulled back gently, but no alarm clouded the radiance of her smile. ‘I have a boyfriend’ she told me with a huge winning smile, before sweeping me around once more with a delighted flick of her hand. It was the most charming and stylish brush off I’ve ever experienced.