Rudahungwa Jimmy Kalisi is the resident Salsa instructor at Pasadena Murugo Bar and Restaurant in Gikondo, a Kigali city suburb. He describes salsa as more than just a dance, but a culture and a sport in which all body parts participate. Moses Opobo put a few questions to him this dance of Cuban origin.
What is salsa?
Salsa is a mixture of Afro Cuban and Latin rhythms popular across Latin America and lately the whole world.
Can anyone dance salsa?
Anyone can dance to the Salsa beat, regardless of gender, age or dancing experience.
Does one need a partner to partake in the Salsa dance?
Most people find the dance more fulfilling as a couple, but no, you can go it alone.
Can someone who has never been to a dance learn Salsa?
Yes, all you need is the desire to learn and we can teach you.
What is the best way to learn salsa?
The best way to learn is to attend a couple of classes, learn the basics and then book in a couple of private classes. Give it your all for the first few weeks and go to as many classes as you can.
What should one wear to a Salsa session?
Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. For most this means jeans and a top, although some folk like to dress up a bit as it’s their only night out in the week! With regard to footwear, very high heels or sticky soled trainers are not ideal as you will be on your feet for at least an hour. It’s important that you can slide and turn your feet easily on the dance floor, so choose something comfortable with a non-grip sole.
What is Freestyle Salsa?
During classes students are shown moves and routines and are led through these by the teacher. Freestyle salsa is when there is no teacher involved and people simply dance with each other to music.
When dancing freestyle, the Leader (usually the man) will guide or “lead” the follower (usually the woman) through whatever moves he wishes in whatever order he wishes, communicating these moves through subtle movements of his hands and body.
To be able to freestyle comfortably should be the aim of everyone learning to dance salsa, otherwise it’s a little like spending years learning to speak French and never visiting France.