SO YOU THINK YOU CAN SALSA

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By Alex Hamlyn

No matter what anyone tries to tell you, no one understands why people dance. People dance for all sorts of reasons: enjoyment, sex, fame (I’m looking at you, “So you think you can dance”), and sometimes for no reason at all (we’ve all seen drunk people before).

Ryerson offers a handful of dance classes through the Ryerson Athletic Centre (RAC). I’ve never been to a real dance class but I enjoy dancing ­— so long as I am in a crowd and it is dark. I decided on trying out the salsa class.

Finding the dance studio is easy enough thanks to some handy coloured signs taped to the walls, but once inside I freeze. There’s nothing like floor to ceiling mirrors covering an entire wall to help you feel self-conscious.

Due to apparent traffic difficulties our teacher, Joanna Lavoie is a little late. I take the opportunity to introduce myself and maybe try to learn some of the basics. Low expectations equal little disappointment.

After a few minutes of warm-up we’re on to the new steps for the week. Since this is a progressive class these new moves are a little more complex than what I’ve become accustomed to in the past 15 minutes. I am quickly becoming the ultimate stereotype of a white guy dancing. Stiff limbs? Check. Awkward pauses? Check.

Looking at my feet instead of at my partner? Check. Counting in my head to stay in sync? Check. I manage to slowly piece together what I’m supposed to be doing, and as the class progresses I start to feel a little more comfortable, but before I know it the class is done.

Though this semester’s class is about halfway finished at this point, Lavoie hopes to have both a beginner and intermediate class running once the winter semester begins. You may have to swallow your pride a bit, but I would certainly recommend giving the class a shot if you have any interest. For a minimal fee, you’ll be dancing away those winter blues in no time.

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