Salsa spices up life for instructor, students
July 11, 2011
STUTTGART, Germany -- As the business day winds down at the USO front desk, Laura Keadle is about to heat things up in the lounge.
Keadle, a volunteer club salsa instructor, is demonstrating what she calls “Latin motion,” the sensual rolling hip motion that is characteristic of the dance.
She then goes through the basic salsa dance steps, and soon, ten beginning students are maneuvering across the dance floor like old pros.
“You guys are looking good,” Keadle enthusiastically tells them.
Club salsa is a fusion of African, Cuban and Puerto Rican influences, and New York jazz. And it’s addictive, according to Keadle, who has taught for almost 15 years " the last three months through the Stuttgart United Service Organizations.
“I loved it from Day One,” she said. “The whole thing about club salsa is that it’s not about doing things exactly right; if you’re having fun, you’re doing it right.
And if smiles and laughter are indicators, the students in attendance on June 29 were definitely “doing it right.”
Keadle said salsa is the kind of dance that allows a student to bring his or her own style to it, and her job as an instructor is to “help people feel comfortable that whatever their expression is, it’s going to work.
“This is not ballet, where the precision of every movement matters. This is an art form that came from a fusion of many different influences, and if you’re a little funky, then you’re going to look great. And if you’re a little classical, again, you’re going to look great,” Keadle said.
While salsa is typically a partner dance, Keadle highly recommends students come as “singles.” “You can’t dance with someone else until you have your own feet in order,” she said.
In fact, in the intermediate class, where students partner up, Keadle makes the students rotate partners every few minutes. “When couples come back together again, they have a better understanding of their range,” she said.
After an hour of dancing with five partners, Mark Moore, in his first class with his wife, Marie, agreed. “You learn " everyone has different movements " you learn how to move with them.”
Marie felt a little different. “It’s weird,” she said, with a laugh.