Students join hands to learn the basics

Allegheny College Spanish house hosts salsa dancing event


Breanna Bowden

Gabrielle Ramos, ’20, leads students in learning the salsa.

Students were stepping, dipping and turning throughout the David V. Wise Center.

On Feb. 16, the Spanish house hosted a salsa dancing event in the David V. Wise Center dance studio. Instructor Gabrielle Ramos, ’20, taught a room full of Allegheny students and community members the basics of the dance and difficult techniques.

Salsa revolves around the ideas of Cuban folk dancing, and is a mixture of old dances and songs which originate from different parts of Cuba. There are multiple forms of salsa dancing, each having developed in different parts of the world. Countries have different interpretations on classic rhythms, and add their own special moves to it. In the United States, the style of dance changes largely based on the coast because of concentrations of immigrant populations.

Within this course, various moves taught were how to step, dip and even turn. The participants were able to work with friends or meet someone new while there, which meant some were able to make new friends and have a bonding experience with the ones they brought by being partners when practicing these said moves.

Students also learned a series of stretches they can do in their dorm rooms, since stretching is key to not getting injured while dancing. Stretching is used to prepare one to move freely and reduce fear of injury.

The members of the Spanish house were enthusiastic for the event. Each month, the Spanish house holds a different event spearheaded by a different house member. These events are typically open to the entire campus. While a majority of those in attendance are Spanish majors and minors, the house members are hopeful that they can inspire more students to participate.

The Spanish house keeps the events informal in order to make them accessible to all.

Ian Manning, ’22  discussed how insightful a course like this was and hopes to attend more within the near future.

“It seems like a really fun opportunity to learn about a different type of dancing than what is deemed as usual,” Manning said. “I think I learned quite a bit too.”

The Spanish house event was both informative and entertaining for attendees.

“I think it’s fun to dance with other people, and the drop we learned was crazy,” said Yadira Sanchez, ’21.

During this event people received the chance to learn up to three special moves, including a drop which was seen as quite difficult.

“I was dancing salsa some years ago, but I had completely forgot how to, so I was able to learn again,” said Celia Ibanez. Ibanez is the teaching assistant for the Spanish house.

The course was not geared towards a certain level of dancers. Both new and advanced salsa dancers were welcome.

A handful of the Spanish house members already knew the dance prior to the course but still attended to offer positive feedback to participants.

This event like other dance courses are hosted on weekends so that it is accessible for all students. The group hopes the number of participants and their enjoyment continues to increase as it always has.