Have your salsa and dance with it too

Salsa class teaches students endurance, self-esteem, social confidence and motor skills.

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Andrea MendozaReporter

Beginners Salsa is a class that teaches the basic dance moves of Latin music and is designed to improve endurance, self-esteem, social confidence and motor skills.

“What we do in here is take the latin sound of Salsa and we listen to it,” Salsa instructor Amy Edmunds said. “We learn the timing of it and then we go over the basic steps of salsa while at the same time dancing to different genres of the latin style of dance.”

Beginners Salsa offers a variety of dance moves, exercise, a family atmosphere and a good time. Edmunds, a former Zumba instructor, has been dancing for more than 10 years. Students can expect basic knowledge of what’s being taught, patience, a breakdown of dance moves to facilitate better understanding of them and a way to make this course fun for everyone from their instructor. Edmunds wants to ensure all her students apply these skills outside of the classroom and be confident in their dance moves. She understands that learning something new doesn’t happen overnight and takes time to learn, so she doesn’t expect perfection right away.

“I’m a student as well, learning dance in general it can’t all be done in a class it has to be repetitive movement over and over,” Edmunds said. “We’re all different creatures and the expectation for everyone to learn on the same continuum isn’t expected here.”

In Beginners Salsa students will hear music from all over the world, especially from the Caribbean and South and Central America. Music from famous artist such as Marc Anthony, Daddy Yankee, Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias are heard in this class as well.

“Bailando by Enrique Iglesias is a big hit here, the students love that song,” Edmunds said.

Although the class is named Beginners Salsa, the class participates in dancing many other Latin genres like reggaeton, merengue and bachata to name a few.

“This is a really fun class and we learn all kinds of dancing so we’re constantly learning new moves,” student Riley Reiber said.

Salsa can be danced individually or with partners. There are 22 females and three  males attending the class, making a total of 25 students, but the numbers have increased throughout the year. When Edmund first started teaching, she had no males in the class, but many female students  bring their boyfriends, Edmunds said. Although there’s a low amount of male students, the class is still able to participate in partner dancing by having a lead and following role.

“We have two (couples). They really like to go out and dance in clubs,” Edmunds said. “They’re always asking me where they can go dance Salsa.”

Edmund’s goals for Beginners Salsa is to implement more dance classes of this type to both the Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup campuses. She hopes her class will be able to take a trip to a Latin country that shows the Latin dancing culture.

“It would be a great experience for them to learn dancing all around the world,” Edmunds said. “They’ll be surprised that in a lot of different countries they all have their own way of dancing Salsa.”

According to healthfitnessrevoltion.com, salsa dancing has many health and social benefits. Weight loss, bone and joint health, balance improvement, social strengthening and lower cholesterol are a few.

“What we do is 20 minutes of stretching to get flexible,” Edmunds said. “Then we go into an hour of nonstop dancing and by the end, all of us are sweating but really hyped up about continuing. Coordination is a big thing here and we’re slowly improving on that.”

There are many opportunities for dance in the Seattle-Tacoma area that students can attend. She hopes that her students get the chance to experience salsa everywhere.

“It’s (salsa dancing) breaking out more and more,” Edmunds said. “A lot of the clubs are starting to mix it up a little bit more which I’m glad about, that way students can go and experience it out in the real world.”

Beginners Salsa is a one-credit physical education course taught by Edmunds in the Health Education Center on Tuesdays from 4-5:40 pm. The class is set up for 20 minutes of stretching, one hour of non-stop dancing, and 20 minutes of varied exercise. This class is open to any students willing to learn, participate and give 100 percent of their effort [/responsivevoice]

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Andrea Mendoza
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Have your salsa and dance with it too

by Andrea Mendoza time to read: 3 min