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Island dance party: Cuban salsa hits the shores of Seychelles

Victoria, Seychelles | January 2, 2017, Monday @ 11:59 in Entertainment » ARTS & CULTURE | By: Daniel Laurence and Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 2905
Island dance party: Cuban salsa hits the shores of Seychelles

Salsa, which is described as a dance style combining different Latin American rhythms is being taught in Seychelles. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - The Cuban salsa has reached the Seychelles’ shores, and dance classes are now being organised for enthusiasts. 

A local group – SeyCuba La Gozadera -- is teaching residents how to dance the salsa, which is described as a dance style combining different Latin American rhythms.

The leader of the group, Sophia Chetty, told SNA that she stumbled across salsa while travelling to Cuba and from there on was hooked by the fascinating leg work and body movement of the dance.

“Similar to some of our traditional dances, salsa is very romantic and energising in style and involved a great deal of foot patterns and body rolls. I knew that it would be an ideal thing to introduce it into the Seychelles,” said Chetty.

Students learn a range of fundamental skills such as basic footwork and hip articulation. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Classes are available during the week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Tropical Heat Gym next to the La Promenade indoor gymnasium in the capital city of Seychelles, Victoria. A session costs around 60 rupees ($4.40).

The instructor at  SeyCuba La Gozadera, Alexander Rodriquez, who is of Cuban decent, told SNA he learnt salsa while growing up as it forms part of the Cuban culture.

“With the strong Seychelles-Cuban relations that we share, as a side interest activity to my profession (athletic coach) I thought it will be ideal to share what we hold dear to the island nations, ” said Rodriquez.

Salsa events are also organised every two weeks on Friday at the Coral Strand Hotel in the northern part of the main island Mahe, with a complementary beginner’s class from 7 pm to 8 pm.

Instructor at  SeyCuba La Gozadera, Alexander Rodriquez, who is of Cuban decent, learnt salsa while growing up as it forms part of the Cuban culture. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Chetty told SNA that Salsa is not only for experts -- with its basic routine, anyone can learn how to dance.

For classes, participants can choose their own outfit, and these have to be comfortable clothes and shoes which allow pivoting freely.

“When starting most of our members wear gym clothes. For beginners, I suggest wearing a small heal, approximately 3 inches; otherwise, indoors sports shoes are fine too,” said Chetty.

As the dance also involves partnering, Chetty says, “Whenever there is a necessity to partner, we constantly rotate in every class, as this practice builds better leads and followers.”

Although widely known internationally, salsa is yet to pick in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

“We are still trying to promote and incorporate it in our culture,” Chetty said.

The way you expose yourself to the dance and music will determine how fast you grab the concept of dancing the salsa. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

SNA spoke to a member of the local salsa class, Nyla Mallow, who gave an insight on the dance.  

“This staple long-standing Latin traditional dance is not only a show of rhythmic flair, but it’s a graceful performance,” said Mallow, adding that “students can learn a range of fundamental skills such as basic footwork and hip articulation.”

As for advice for beginners, Rodriquez said, “It will take a while to be confident and to hone your skills. You are bound to make mistakes. Remember it is a learning process. The way you expose yourself to the dance and music will determine how fast you grab the concept of salsa dancing.”

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Tags: salsa, SeyCuba La Gozadera, Tropical Heat gym, Alexander Rodriquez

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