There is a joy in dancing that lifts the spirit. It brings benefits to the mind and body as well as the chance to meet new friends. The Informer is exploring opportunities around the Coromandel for dance – ranging from ballroom to hip-hop, belly dance to rock ‘n roll – They invite you to have a go. Liz Simms wrote previously about Ball Room dancing and now Pam Ferla brings you the action on Salsa.
By Pam Ferla
If you want to do something sexy and exciting without getting in to trouble, try dancing the Salsa! This is one of the Latin te shaded box. Related to the article but set apart a little American dances enjoyed in classes around the Coromandel Peninsula, including Monday nights at Whitianga’s Monkey House.
Check out a room full of Salsa dancers and they look like they’re having so much fun moving their hips to irresistible music and there’s so much energy on the dance floor. Leading lessons at this great venue in Coghill Street is Argentinian Nayla Lucero. The styles she teaches include Salsa, Bachata and Merengue.
“But I’m always keen to share more than that, including Chacha, Reggaeton and Cumbia as well as Cuarteto - the traditional style from my city of Córdoba,” says Nayla. “Really, it’s more than learning how to dance. It’s about being yourself and enjoying it.”
So why do people enjoy Latino dancing? “This is a tricky question,” says Nayla. “It may be because when you dance you are expressing yourself and can interact with more people or meet new cultures. You can connect your feelings, your thoughts and your body. I imagine the same could happen with the music. If you are sad, happy or even angry, you may choose something depending on your mood. I guess this is exactly what I feel when I dance.”
Nayla would like to see more men at her classes, but says it’s not a big deal if they don’t turn up. Those attending enjoy each other’s company and when the music stops they like to stay a while and chat. She says this is because the Monkey House venue is a nice atmosphere to be in, thanks to Kaspur and Molly Franke , who run the popular venue.
There are many benefits to dancing. You can improve mental and physical health, stronger muscles, better balance and coordination, stronger bones, better memory, less stress, more energy and go home in a happy mood. And being around other people while you dance is good for your social and emotional health.
Nayla arrived in New Zealand three years ago and works at Hot Water Beach Top Ten Holiday Park, a place she loves. “The energy here I’ve not found elsewhere - the warmth, humility and welcome I’ve found in New Zealand is the most wonderful thing I could get.”
Although it’s impossible to make plans for her future, she hopes to get residency and bring her ten-year-old son, Camilo, to New Zealand. She says he is the reason she doesn’t give up. Nayla ran her own gym in Argentina, where she taught Yoga, Pilates, Belly Dance, Latin Dance and Fit Dance. She believes movement of the body helps with her mental health and can do the same for others.
Modern Salsa was born in Cuba near the turn of the 20th century. Salsa's basic components were influenced by immigrants who came into Latin America from Europe as well as slaves from Africa.
The classes are on during the summer. For more information, contact Molly on 022 0330720.
Caption: Some of the dancers enjoying lessons at The Monkey House in Whitianga. Teacher Nayla Lucero is fourth from left.