John-James displaying the moves
Dance Salsa in 'Sin'
By Susanna Byers, Blast Arts Reporter
Latin dancing style Salsa comes to Worcestershire every week. I've watched it, but never actually done it: so I decided to give it a go!
Latin America took over Worcester nightclub 'Sin' on Wednesday 10 September, as the New Salsa Salsa company endeavoured to teach locals the moves that have grabbed the interest of Britain in recent years.
Like most of the general public I'm sure, I have only ever experienced Salsa dancing by watching the popular TV series Strictly Come Dancing. It is a dance style that originated in Latin America and has exploded onto the British dance scene.
I decided to see why everyone loves it so much. So, with my slightly begrudging man in tow, I made my way to 'Sin' to have my very first Salsa lesson!
Tim helping a dancer
My first "saucy" Salsa lesson
We were both quite nervous: wondering if we would be the only ones to turn up, whether we would enjoy it, and more to the point, would we be making complete fools of ourselves, given that we had never done it before?
As it turns out, we definitely needn't have worried. We arrived at the beginners class and were greeted by our friendly and charismatic teacher Tim, and were immediately put at ease by the smiles of the others in our class, also experiencing Salsa dance for the first time.
Tim has been learning Salsa dancing for seven years now, and has lived in Paraguay, displaying his Latino input by his swinging hips and his ability to speak a bit of Spanish: "Salsa means sauce".
Call me stupid, but it was at that point that is only just dawned on me that Salsa dancing uses the same word as that sauce I dip my crisps into!
It is clear that Tim absolutely loves Salsa, and he says that once you start 'you become hooked'. His energy got us beginners to grips with the Mambo Step, the Salsa Back Step, and the Cross Body Turn (I may sound knowledgeable, but God knows if I could re-create the steps...!).
John-James under mystical lighting!
New Salsa Salsa
Tim is one of the 15 Salsa teachers who are part of New Salsa Salsa, and one of the ten who actually teach for the company.
As our class came to an end, we downed a much needed drink (just water you understand...), and headed over to the main dance floor of 'Sin' where company leader John-James was teaching a large group of slightly more advanced Salsa dancers.
John-James is also what one would call a Salsa addict! He has been learning for years, starting out in Birmingham, and regularly goes back to Cuba for dance competitions, and to teach there!
With his dancing history it is clear we are in capable hands if wanting to learn the art of Salsa.
His company is for people of ALL ages and he tells me the youngest person he has taught is 13; recently he has taught a 16 year old, and (although they didn't tell me their exact ages) I would say the oldest person in the advanced class that night was late forties. (No offence intended!)
John-James tells me after "many of the organisations around nowadays appeal to just the retirement age, which is 'money in the bank' ".
With New Salsa Salsa he is trying to appeal to everyone, and especially the slightly younger age demographic, given that his moves are quite sensual and flirtatious.
He makes up new moves every week; so for those of you who may get bored easily (and I would say you would have to get bored REALLY easily), there is a new challenge every time you go!
Dancers enjoying themselves
I've become hooked!
Personally, I am very much considering going again. Although I only met John-James and Tim, I'm sure that if the other teachers and as animated, friendly, lively and passionate about dance as these two I will enjoy the lesson just as much.
This will sound so incredibly cheesy, and for that I apologise, but I literally started the lesson with a smile on my face, and it never left.
As I looked around, this seemed to be the case for everyone (except those concentrating hard on perfecting the steps!).
Even if you don't think you can dance, go along for a social night; you don't need a partner and you will be welcomed whatever your dance ability - you might even enjoy it!
There are classes available every week in Worcester, Bromsgrove and Redditch from beginner to more advanced levels.
For more information visit: www.newsalsa-salsa.co.uk or call or text John-James on 0777 968 6679.
last updated: 01/10/2008 at 14:16