With the new year comes New Year’s resolutions. Many resolutions have to do with getting out of their comfort zone and trying something adventurous, instead of just staying in on a Saturday night and binge watching Netflix. It turns out that salsa dancing may just be the perfect activity to accomplish this.
Los Salseros de Stanford is a student organization at Stanford University which offers various salsa dancing workshops, lessons and events throughout the year. Los Salseros de Stanford host social events open to everyone about once a month at Stanford University. The price for students with any student ID card is $5 and $10 for general admission. If one wants to join the salsa lesson, there is an extra $2 fee.
A typical night begins with a salsa dancing lesson taught by a member of the Salseros de Stanford organization. After about half an hour of learning the basic steps such as the turn and the crossbody leap, the whole class is split into two groups. A circle is formed and one is required to partner up with a person, preferably of the opposite sex.
The instructors stand in the middle and give a demonstration with the steps the rest of the class can follow. Every few minutes one person from each pair rotates around the circle so people can have the opportunity to dance with others. Though the lesson is not required, it is very helpful, especially for beginners.
Once it is 9 p.m., it is time for social dancing. The lights turn off and salsa music begins playing. If one does not have a partner to dance with, there are plenty of single people towards the back, waiting to ask or to be asked to dance. At first, it can be awkward to dance with a stranger because salsa dancing requires a lot of communication. However, after dancing with this person for the duration of a three minute song, one will begin to feel more comfortable. The dancing usually continues late into the night, until 2 a.m. Even if one has no sense of rhythm when it comes to music and dancing, it is acceptable because there are dancers of all skill and talent levels, ranging from beginners to advanced and everyone is encouraged to attend.
These social events also have many different special performances from various groups around the Bay Area. If one decides to give these events a try, not only will one learn to dance salsa, but also a variety of other interesting dances such as bachata and merengue.
According to Henry M. Gunn High School senior Maya Ghai, the skills she learned from salsa dancing also helped her in many other aspects of her everyday life.
“I love the salsa social events at Stanford because [they’re] a different way to be brought out of your comfort zone and just have the time of your life with your friends,” Ghai said. “I would not really recommend going single but with a group of friends because everyone is willing to learn to dance with people they’ve just met. It’s a great way to meet people and try something new.”
One does not necessarily have to attend these events by his or herself; it is also fun to bring some friends along. There are many health benefits associated to salsa dancing such as improved balance and memory. There is also correlation between dancing and emotional health. Dancing can help improve one’s mood because it releases many endorphins, which diminish pain and trigger positive feelings.
If one is interested in attending the social events hosted by Los Salseros de Stanford, one can check out their Facebook page or their website for more information on more upcoming events.
The next salsa social will held on Friday, Feb. 5 at the Black Community Services Center in Stanford University at 8 p.m.