The Wichitan

Some 30 learn to salsa

Stephen Gomez

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Partners! Music! One-Two-Three, Salsa!

Salsa sign welcoming everyone to dance.

Salsa sign welcoming everyone to dance. Photo by Stephen Gomez

Music and eager dancers filled the Legacy Hall Multipurpose Room as part of the Salsa Dance class sponsored by the Spanish Club Oct. 12. Starting with basic steps of the salsa, bachata, merengue, there were smiles and laughter all around as newcomers learned their new moves. The dance class began at 6 p.m. and ended well past the planned 7 p.m. with students still dancing away.

“Just so much fun, I love dancing,” Rachel Roberts, dental hygiene freshman, said. “It was publicized really good. I feel there was a big turn out.”

Ruby Arriaga, activity coordinator, said this free event was one of the last activities on campus for Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Everyone knows salsa and she [Dr. Montoya] knows salsa but she also knows these other dances,” Arriaga said. “They’re similar but also different as well.”

Marcus Vaughan, business management senior, practices salsa steps with Juje Leano, nursing junior. Photo by Stephen Gomez

Marcus Vaughan, business management senior, practices salsa steps with Juje Leano, nursing junior. Photo by Stephen Gomez

Claudia Montoya, associate professor of Spanish, helped teach the group of around 30 by being the dancing partner of Carlo Santos, mechanical engineer senior. Together, they taught the basics of salsa, merengue, bachata spaced out evenly in an hour. Montoya spoke highly of Carlo saying that he actuality studied how to dance.

“I wanted to learn something new,” Santos said. “I feel graceful to share what I learned and spread the passion.”

Montoya said the rhythms of salsa are the most important in the Hispanic culture. Originating with Afro-Latin Americans in places like Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, they then spread all over the world.

“It’s not limited to one culture, race, or borders,” she said. “They have schools all over the world that teach salsa, like Italy, France and Ghana.”

Students of all backgrounds, races, and cultures took the lesson well, seemingly enjoying themselves with chips and sauce when tired with a drink to re-hydrate themselves. After that, they went straight back to dancing whether with partners or alone with others.

“It’s a great way for people to pass the time,” Carlo said. “People don’t know what it is so it turns people away.”

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Some 30 learn to salsa