We caught up with Naomi-Maria, a BA Music student and President of the Salsa Society to find out what it’s all about…
What exactly is salsa and how does it differ from other styles of dance?
Salsa is a Latin dance with Cuban and Puerto Rican influences. It’s a fast contact dance, always done with a partner, and it got started in New York City in the sixties. As a society we go out to venues in London to dance as much as possible, which is important, as people originally danced salsa in clubs and ballrooms.
Has it helped with your confidence and body positivity?
Yes, it has. I’ve definitely become more confident as a result. It’s a contact dance, so unlike a lot of other styles like ballet, for example, you have to be in contact with your partner - I’m used to it now, but I found that awkward at first. It’s also a sensual dance... you need to move your hips and arms and have that kind of flair. I’m much more comfortable with it now than when I started.
How many members do you have in the Salsa society and is there a fee?
It’s £90 for the whole academic year and that gives you access to all the classes - we run a different class with a different teacher and style of dance every night. But you can pay less if you want and just go to the ones you’re interested in. You can also just pay a small fee for a trial session to find out what styles of dance you enjoy.
It’s really cheap compared to dance classes outside the university, which can be so expensive because of the price of having qualified dance teachers but SU funding helps to partially cover the costs. The fees might change a little because we’re planning to introduce some new styles of dance like hip-hop next academic year, when Covid-19 restrictions lift enough so that dancing is possible again.
Have you had anyone who really couldn't dance who now is a whizz on the dancefloor?
Absolutely! We’ve had people start from scratch with no dance experience and be good enough to take part in events after a couple of months, it’s just a matter of dedication. If you’ve never danced before but want to join, don’t let that put you off!
What would you say to new students who were considering joining salsa?
Go for it! It’s a lot of fun and such a brilliant community. And if salsa isn’t the style of dance for you, there are lots to choose from so you can try them all and decide on your favourite, and do more than one if it suits you!
To find out more about our clubs, societies and communities, click here.