Students experience culture through salsa dancing

Student instructors taught the participants each move during salsa night. - Kelsey Bemus/TRUMPET
Student instructors taught the participants each move during salsa night. – Kelsey Bemus/TRUMPET

Students were given the chance to learn about the Latin culture in an interesting way last week when the Spanish club hosted a Salsa dancing night, said club member Anne Epley-Birtwistle.

The dance class took place in the Sandra Rada Orchestra Hall Friday night, and in addition to salsa, participants also learned dances like the Merengue and the Bachata.

Epley-Birtwistle said most participants come to the dance nights because they want to experience something new.

“I know when I was a freshman I came to Salsa night just because I wanted to see what it was like,” Epley-Birtwistle said. “I think they like it because it’s something unique. I know a lot of students will go because they get extra credit, but I think primarily because Salsa night is not something you hear of happening in Iowa.”

Epley-Birtwistle said this is the third year Salsa nights have been put on. This is the first this year, but she said there will most likely be more.

Five students instructed the class. One of the instructors, Angelo DeNubbila, said he has been dancing since he was a child in Colombia, which is where he is from.

“I think it was just part of the culture. Salsa is huge back there,” DeNubbila said. “It’s very different than what you find here in the bar.”

Participant Kelsey Brown said she has come to the event many times before and said she enjoys coming for a variety of reasons.

“I think it’s a really good way to meet new people and learn new skills such as dancing,” Brown said. “It’s such a vital part of many different cultures and I think it’s really important to learn.”

Part of the class was spent learning the dances, then participants were given free time to do whichever of the dances they wanted.

DeNubbila said he enjoys the interaction with those he teaches.

“I just like seeing everyone trying,” DeNubbila said. “It’s a lot of fun because you feel like you are actually teaching them and it’s fun because sometimes they don’t get it right and it’s fun to watch.”

Epley-Birtwistle said that if students are wishing to learn more about the Spanish culture, the Spanish club is looking to become more active next semester.

She said they have had movie nights before, hope to have more Salsa nights and are looking into things like traveling to a theatre in Minneapolis to see a Spanish play.

However, DeNubbila said that whether or not people want to learn more about the culture, anyone looking to have a good time is welcome at the Salsa nights.

“If you are that type of outgoing that doesn’t really care about making fun of yourself or just dancing even if you don’t have any rhythm, its fine,” DeNubbila said. “We just encourage people to come here, have fun and learn something new.”



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