[vc_row enable_arrows_animation=”no” css=”.vc_custom_1489420851924{padding-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]By: Francisco E. DeLaCalleja

It all began quite innocently. Fun loving Canadians vacationing in the Mexico and the Caribbean came back infected with a strange array of tropical viruses. No, not Malaria or Zika but something more insidious: Merengue, Bachataand Salsa. These happy-go-lucky tourist types soon served as pathogenous agents and soon they had spread their affliction even to those who had never travelled down south and today it is everywhere.

It is a cold, dangerous world out there but as citizens of Canada we are used to having the competent authorities keep us safe, or at the very least, informed about potential threats to our way of living. I am not the kind to adhere to conspiracy theories but there are disturbing facts all around us about phenomena. It is called Latin dancing. Its effects are daunting.

Take the case of Clifford. He is, in his own words, a successful man. Young, in shape and good looking. Comes from a good bilingual family. He has several degrees from all the right universities. A flourishing career and a six-figure salary to go with it. Drives a German-engineered car of the year. Yet, Clifford does not feel as great as his facebook page may make his life look like.

“My last girlfriend left me because I don’t dance. She said I was boring. Me!! Boring!!! I can dance with the best of them. All it takes me is half a dozen Tequila shooters.” He said, sadness dripping from his every word.

Mental health professionals are being broadsided by this trend. “Pretty much every client I was treating for depression or anxiety re-oriented their therapy when they began Latin dancing,” we were told by Rosie, a psychologist who also requested anonymity. “It is a reality I have to deal with every day.”

“I have to work very hard these days to make ends meet,” says Rocky, a professional trainer at a downtown Gym. “People just don’t come to work out as often as they used to. Even my own friends prefer this Latin dancing craze, claiming that they are losing the pounds and having fun! Having fun!! Whatever happened to just working hard and paying your dues?”

Fiona, an executive with a well-known movie and TV streaming company appeared defiant in the face of diminishing subscriptions: “People cannot Latin dance twenty-four hours a day. At some point they will have to sit down in front of their high definition flat screens. But we are looking into producing more dance related content, especially Latin dance” she added, before requesting anonymity.

Suzy, a travel agent has taken whatever possible steps to survive: “I don’t sell sunshine destinations anymore,” she says. “People still book holidays in Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Colombia. But I sell dance destinations now. Consumers demand that the resorts be situated close to dance clubs, and I mean Latin dance clubs. They do not want to get stuck in resorts with Boom-Boom type of music. So I sell a lot of trips to resorts situated near the local clubs as well as Latin dance themed cruises.”

It all makes you wonder. Relationship break-ups, diminishing incomes in the exercise and mental health industries, worries in our telecommunications sector and tectonic shifts in our travel industry. All this as a consequence of Latin dancing.

Panic-button-time may not be here yet, but concerned citizens may rightly ask what the authorities have to say. Yet, a quick search of the websites of Health Canada and the Quebec Public Security Ministry yielded no mention whatsoever about this disturbing trend. Not one solitary word about Latin dancing can be found there. Mysterious indeed!

True, the practice of Latin dancing remains legal in this country and in the recent past was even looked upon favourably by most, especially parents trying to get their teen progeny to drop the phones and tablets and exercise and learn how to socialize. It remains to be seen if as a society we are willing to endure its secondary effects in exchange for its benefits.

Lastly, on a personal level, a word of advice: If you indulge it is your business, but please get informed, do not complain latter that you were not warned.

In order to protect the privacy of those concerned, all names have been changed.