Salsa: The Social Spice

The Fresno State Salsa Club hosted its annual salsa night on campus Saturday

Pete Swingle, salsa instructor and participant Raquel Araya practice during the salsa lessons of  “Blast to the Past.”

Pete Swingle, salsa instructor and participant Raquel Araya practice during the salsa lessons of “Blast to the Past.” Katie Eleneke / The Collegian

Although there was plenty of salsa and chips on hand, the Fresno State Salsa Club showed its own flavor of spice by sharing its dance moves with students and the community on Saturday.

The salsa club hosted “Salsa Night: Blast to the Past” in the Satellite Student Union for students and the public.

The event was one of the club’s biggest of the year to present what the club is all about—having fun with friends through dancing.

Student Julia Spencer found out about the club through one of her friends who is an officer and enjoyed it right away.

“It’s a really great thing to know you can go out, dance with your friends and meet new people on a Friday night, which is not always easy to do,” Spencer said.

Salsa brings people together, and the club’s salsa night was a chance to get the word out, Spencer said.

“Hopefully events like this help promote it and get awareness out there because it’s a really fun activity to do, and you meet people by doing it,” Spencer said.

“Blast to the Past” featured a variety of ways for those new to salsa dancing to feel more comfortable about the Latin dance style. Performances from local groups, Mix Trix: Dance Club and Crew (MTDC) and Rumba Cruz Salsa Company showcased what the night entailed: a mixture of modern music with the classic salsa.

The night also included open floor dancing, free dance lessons, food and a raffle.

As one of the attendees new to the genre, Shayne Serrano appreciated being with friends and was open to learning during the night’s activities. Serrano, who is from the Philippines, said she’s open to trying different cultural events in Fresno.

“We wanted to do something different,” Serrano said. “I don’t know any salsa, but I’m up for anything and willing to try.”

Amy Williamson, Salsa Club treasurer, said the club has been around for 11 years, and Saturday was the eighth annual “Blast to the Past” night.

Williamson said the purpose of salsa night is to “incorporate modern mainstream music infused with salsa to have a fun night.”

The club’s goal is to provide people with a fun, educational environment to learn salsa in a safe place, Williamson said.

Salsa Club members meet every Friday at 7 p.m. in the Peters Business Building and have lessons for beginner and advanced dancers until 8 p.m. Social dancing is from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The cost is $5 for nonmembers.

The lessons are not only exclusive to salsa. Alternating from salsa to Dominican Republic-originated styles of dance like bachata, merengue and more, showcase the club’s openness of Latin dance lessons.

“After the lessons, they open the floor, and it’s more of a social event,” Spencer said. “You implement the moves you learned during the lesson and dance. They play all kinds of different music throughout the night, so it’s not just salsa or bachata.

“You just have a lot of fun that way.”



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