When the professional ballroom dancers come en masse to the Pfister,
expect to find several crystals strewn across the bathroom floor,
shed from their glistening, parrot colored ensembles
that induce the ordinary citizens in the café around them to exclaim,
and experience a crescendo
starting from the cobblers
moving to the bangle vendors,
the woman with two attendants lacing a thin string of diamonds across her back,
and climaxing to when I step into the ballroom
and watch three male dancers dragging a flashing blue pod onto the floor.
The pod unfurls revealing a woman wrapped in a blanket of LED lights.
They lift the woman high in the air,
and she raises the diode blinking blanket above her head.
After seeing that I stay, watching for hours.
Most of what I witness are eight to twelve couples
simultaneously dancing and competing
in fox trot, Viennese waltz, samba, cha cha, tango and swing categories
for one minute to randomly selected music,
sneaky, unpredictable music
ranging from Eurythmics hits, Country, Sinatra,
Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets,
Lady Gaga, Enya and metallic rock.
The dancers do not know what they are going to get song-wise,
and sometime it takes them several seconds of standing still
before they make their first timid move to the difficult tune.
A companion joins me and points out the various doctors
that she knows on the floor,
“You see the woman in the nude shag dress?
She was my fertility doctor years ago.
She usually wins too.”
My companion points to the dancer in a black and yellow dress,
“She’s a highly regarded dermatologist.”
I admit, the tango seems the most exciting.
My companion corrects me,
“No, it’s Argentine tango,
Dancers cross the aisle in front of us,
obscuring our view of the dance floor
which gives us excuse to oogle their satin
dragon embroidered Japanese robes
that encase pastel petticoats.
A few of the women pin their ponytails
to their shoulder straps so that they do not budge
when they are flipped upside-down.
Another has a handkerchief attached via elastic
to her wrist, so that when she raises it,
it hangs whimsically, mournfully, pretentiously
so magnificently that I think to myself,
‘I am going to start wearing a handkerchief on my wrist like that.’
I stay until they announce the winners at midnight
My companion tells me that some of the dancers
I just watched have been performing since 7a.m.
In the elevator
a woman with red rhinestones
glued between each of her
speaks to me in a Russian accent
saying, “Maybe next year you will be competing,”
and the way she emphasizes “maybe” sounds prophetic.