Free salsa classes are offered at Saddleback on Tuesday nights

Michele Hardy

 

Have you ever wanted to learn how to dance but didn’t want to pay for the classes on campus?

No need to fear! Saddleback Salsa is here!

Every Tuesday night from 8 to 9:30 in room PE 301, the Saddleback Salsa Club gets together to work with dancers on their technique and rhythm. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned salsa dancer, this student run club will be able to help you get where you want to be.

Sarah Santoyo, one of the student instructors for the club, said, “Anybody who wants to come…we teach the basics every week and then we’ll teach you a move. So, for the more advanced people, we’ll teach them something else if they want to learn. But we welcome all beginners.”

Established almost 10 years ago by Saddleback instructor Carmenmara Hernandez-Bravo, the club was originally run by two instructors, Rachel Amara and Ishmael Mendoza. In 2011, it became an entirely student run organization with Hernandez-Bravo being the club advisor.

But the classroom isn’t the only place where dancing goes on.

Vanessa Klink, a 21-year-old massage therapy major, and also one of the instructors for the club, said, “We’re trying to be more applicable to social dancing…For me, that’s the main reason why I want to keep improving because when you go out and social dance, you can dance with anybody and feel comfortable with what you’re doing. So social dance is ultimately where the desire for dance comes from.”

So not only does the club meet up on Tuesday nights to work on steps, but they also gather off campus and go to dance clubs to really get into the salsa groove. Klink recommends going with a group for the first couple of times to clubs like Tapas in Newport or Atomic Ballroom in Anaheim because it can be intimidating for someone who is new to dancing.

Klink said, “Depending on where you go, like if you go to Tapas, it can be intimidating if you focus on the really good dancers. There are always beginners wherever you go, though. Whether they dance or not is unknown, unless they dance. I would say that if you’re a beginner, try to go to Atomic Ballroom or some sort of dance studio that actually has more of a variety of skill levels. Because if you go to Tapas, that’s generally a little more advanced.”

All of the proficient dancers and the instructors in the club had to start somewhere and remember their experiences as beginning dancers.

Alexander Bowers, a 25-year-old medical major, has been dancing with the club for almost three years. He said, “With the club, I learned so much just from the people are here because you have the people who are more experienced than you are and you have the people who are not as experienced as you are, so you get to train with them and you get to learn with the people who have more experience. Whereas in class, there’s only one teacher. Everyone else are noobs. It’s not really practical, per se.”

It is because of this that the club is very welcoming and friendly to all the newcomers who are curious about learning to dance.

Vickie Brown, who is not a Saddleback student, found out about the club from a Google search and figured she’d come and check it out. She said that she had always wanted to learn how to dance and was surprised how much she learned in one lesson.

“I loved it. They’re so cool. They’re so nice and friendly and sweet. They just grabbed me and were like, ‘Come on girl! You can do it! Start dancing!’ It was nice, I had a really great time,” Brown said. “I asked, ‘How do I get to be in the club?’ and they were like, ‘You’re here, girl! You’re in already.'”

For more information, Saddleback Salsa has their own page on Facebook where they post which nights classes will be and when the group will be meeting outside of class to go dancing. 

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