It is 8:30 p.m. Thursday evening. The venue is Pasadena in Gikondo, one of Kigali’s densely populated suburbs. People of all walks of life begin to gather, many seem familiar with each other. There’s a sense of excitement and anticipation. It is ‘Salsa Night!’
Although salsa was recently introduced, it has already attracted hundreds of enthusiasts and adventurous people all eager to learn this dance style.
Salsa is a vibrant style of dance that has swept the world for years. In fact, it has become so popular that many people of all shapes, sizes, age, status and religion have shown interest in learning it.
This style of dancing is by nature the expression of emotions, feelings and options through the movement and manoeuvring of the body.
There is something amazing about seeing a skilled body moving with ease and grace through choreography. It is indeed a scene worth gazing at!
According to Wikipedia, the word “salsa” in Spanish means ‘sauce’.
Salsa dancing is also known as ‘slot dancing’ because couples don’t move around a large area of the dance floor. Instead they stay in a more fixed or smaller area of the floor.
Dance performances in Rwanda, like else where in most African societies, have been part of tradition for centuries, playing a big role in ceremonies, rituals and for entertainment.
Hence, whether adopting the Western dance styles, or maintaining our own traditional dances, like Intore, or Amaraba, this art will always be there. Indeed, new dance styles will always emerge, and of course nobody wishes to be left behind.
At 2 years old, Christian Higiro will always stand and shake his body vigorously, whenever he is listening to his favourite song. He is not alone.
Many children and teenagers love to dance. No wonder, a five-year old toddler will not shy away to prove his dance skills, accelerating with his rap, R&B, hip hop, salsa, Afrobeat, and zouk dance strokes, all at the same time.
Dancing is not only fun, but also keeps one fit, salsa is no exception. The twists and turns characteristic of this style will definitely keep your heart pumping the entire time. And of course there is the added benefit of interacting with other exciting and likeminded people.
Dance lessons usually begin with warm-up sessions that include several stretching exercises.
Dancers must strive to achieve full range of motion for all the major muscles can flex and extend.
Dancing salsa builds strength by forcing the muscles to resist against a dancer’s own body weight. Some of the other styles like ballet require jumping and leaping high into the air.
Regular dancing, especially the more vigorous kind is also great for improving endurance. When it comes to salsa dancing, strength and muscles can easily be built. Consider, for example the muscle mass a male salsa dancer develops by lifting his partner above and around his body.
As for those who want to lose some weight, dancing salsa is by itself a physical exercise that comes packaged as great fun too. That dancing is a social activity is not in doubt.
Ever wondered why Rwandans flock dance floors all over the country, especially on weekends? Studies indicate that strong social ties and socialising with friends contributes to high self-esteem and a positive outlook.
Dancing provides many opportunities to meet other people. Peter says besides meeting new people, dancing is also a physical activity which reduces stress and tension. Regular dancing, adds Peter, gives an overall sense of well-being.