The Daily Aztec

Salsa club adds spice to dancing

by Olivia Litsey, Senior Staff Writer

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FEATURES_salsaclub4_photocourtesySan Diego State’s Salsa Club is a group that was formed last year by two SDSU students with a hunger for salsa. Lessons began on Sept. 7 and will continue to be held every Sunday at 3:00 p.m. in Peterson Gym. They are open to SDSU students, faculty and community members. A professional instructor leads them from San Diego salsa dance company Majesty in Motion, and the membership fee is $10 per semester.

After being involved with a ballroom club on campus for more than a year, current SDSU Salsa Club President and English senior Robert Thoreau and now-graduate Jesse Castaneda formed the SDSU Salsa Club in fall 2013. Their hope was to create and introduce a community of salsa dancers to the university. The club has been growing ever since, and now has reached about 70 paying members.

Coming into their second year as a club, the Salsa Club board of officers was expanded for the purpose of increasing efficiency and alleviating the president and vice-president of task list too lengthy for two.

“We’ve gotten to know people who are really excited about Salsa Club, so I picked them to be on the board,” Thoreau said.

New officers will continue to be chosen on a regular basis.

Officers were selected for social positions who are in charge of arranging club outings such as bonfires and trips to local salsa bars. Psychology junior Maria Guerrero is the Salsa Club Treasurer.

“I check people in, keep track of membership, answer questions, control the budget and collect fees,” Guerrero said.

Every Sunday, there is a beginner lesson as well as an intermediate lesson offered. These consist of learning footwork and partner patterns.  Both are followed by a comparatively shorter period of social dancing, which is a segment without structure that is reminiscent of a real salsa club. Thoreau described it as way for members to implement their skills while simultaneously meeting their peers.

“Usually within a semester, they can move on to the intermediate class,” Thoreau said of new members.

He encourages anyone interested to join.

“If they have some hesitations, I would encourage them to give it a shot.  It’s a lot of fun, you meet a lot of people, you make good friends, and you learn to dance,” he said.

Business major Veronika Erhardt is an international student from the University of Hamburg spending a semester abroad at SDSU.

“I liked the end of class the best because I could use what I learned,”  Erhardt said of her first lesson.

Business junior Julio Zambrano has been attending for a few weeks.  He joined the club with a purpose in mind.

“I wanted to be able to go out dancing with my friends,” Zambrano said.

While there are no advanced level lessons offered, experienced salsa dancers are encouraged to become members as well.

“That’s where they would get more advanced training, start choreography, and hopefully compete,” Thoreau said.

They eventually hope to participate in the College Salsa Congress, an annual spring salsa dance competition that has previously included college teams from all around California.

The SDSU Salsa Club is heating up and ready for more members.  If the average helping of salsa on chips has become insufficient, perhaps a combination of jazz walks, hair combs, and Suzie Q’s can spice up one’s Sunday afternoon.

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