Embassy English Brighton always offers activities that help students to do things they would never have considered before, and also gives them the opportunity to have a fantastic time and meet other students. One of these activities is learning how to dance Latin dances, which include salsa, merengue and bachata. In this month of February we learned to salsa dance and they all loved it!
For the European and American students salsa is not a strange dance, most know about it and some have tried to dance it before. However, for many students from different continents, such as Asia or Africa, this was something completely new and challenging and many of them signed up.
On Tuesday February the 4th, at 2:25 pm, five minutes before the beginning of the class, most were anxious and already waiting at the door of the Exam Hall which is the place we use for the classes. Once inside, I connected the speakers and gave them a briefing of five minutes. After that, we split into groups of girls and boys and each was taught the basic steps.
We played some music to practise this and waited till everyone knew all of the steps, all seven of them. The boys lead the dance and the partner follows. Since they start, they have to show the girls what their movements are going to be. Boys always start with their left leg, normally forward. Consecutively girls start with their right leg backwards. Easy!
Once they reached that point, they were taught to do three different figures, very easy ones. The first one is moving forward and backwards. The second one is sideways, and the last one is moving all legs backwards. Afterwards was the moment to get the boys and girls together in couples, although the only contact was with the hands.
They trained together the three basic steps that they had learnt. To make it easier, a voice was leading their steps on the sound system (one, two, three, five, six, seven –skipping the four). This was in Spanish, the language used in salsa – uno, dos, tres, cinco, seis, siete, so it was amazing that they got to learn some Spanish language too!
Because some are better dancers that others, and also some couples have a height difference, they made a circle and every few seconds they had to change the partner and practise what they had learnt. The result was extraordinary and most of them were already dancing salsa after only forty-five minutes! The songs helped too. The one we used for learning the steps is one called “Uno, dos, Tres (Salsa Steps),” which is a song exclusively for salsa beginners.
Once the students had learnt the steps and they start to dance with their partners, we went with the popular salsa song: “No Le Pegue a La Negra”, “No Me Ames”, “Cali Pachanguero”, etc. The atmosphere was very good and they students were having a great time, but after one hour it was time to finish.
The final part of the class was the best one, or at least the one they liked the most. By that time, they had enough skills to dance and their confidence was high. At this point we played “La Vida es un Carnival”, by Celia Cruz and they loved it. You could see everyone smiling and feeling proud of what they had learnt. And most of all, they had a blast and did something completely new for many of them. After the song finished everyone clapped and asked me about the next class. It seems that some of them are going to become real dancers. Let’s see!
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