Shall we dance?

Shall we dance?

By Ryan Durkin

The Latino/a Student Cultural Center (LSCC) turned up the heat with the first of four free salsa lessons at the John D. O’Bryant Institute’s Cabral Center last Wednesday.

“Everyone who does it says they become addicted,” said Sandra Hussey, a sophomore political science major who participated.

The event, part of the LSCC’s annual “Sociocultural Series,” was taught by dance instructor Edwin Pabon.

Pabon burst into the room, along with dance partner Ana Tinajero Massicot, laughing at the disproportion of five men to 25 women.

He quickly found female volunteers to be “leaders” to replace the men and had the giggling participants form two lines on opposite edges of the dance floor.

Pabon and Massicot began by exhibiting a simple three-step move the majority of the class picked up with ease. Smiles spread as the participants of a variety of skill levels found their groove, while Pabon enthusiastically counted “and five, six, seven; and one, two three.”

Pabon then added salsa music into the mix.

“Move your shoulders a little bit,” he said as he gracefully danced down the lines of salsa students with Massicot, correcting mistakes and congratulating those who were “really cooking.”

As the complexity of the moves increased, the students stayed in high spirits, laughing at the difficulties.

The group worked on mastering left and right spins as well as couple dancing while Pabon playfully chanted instructions as the upbeat music poured out of the speakers.

The climax of the salsa class was a dance contest, during which Pabon and Massicot inspected each couple’s technique while the pairs showed off their best moves.

Three couples emerged victorious, each winning a salsa CD.

The class ended with a performance by Pabon and Massicot.

Pabon has danced all his life and currently instructs dancing for “Spontaneous Celebrations,” a studio in Jamaica Plain. He is also the lead vocalist for his own orchestra. Massicot has been dancing for eight years and works with Pabon “off and on.”

Sushruta Kunnekeri, a sophomore biology major said she was happy with the lessons and plans to return next time.

“It felt like working out,” she said.

Kunnekeri’s dance partner, sophomore pharmacy major Neha Katyal said he was glad the free salsa class was offered because it was a change of pace.

“A lot of times students around here can’t go out and take lessons because they’re too expensive,” he said.

Middler biology major Jessica Valentin, said she was pleased with the diversity of the crowd.

“It was nice to share [salsa dancing] with people,” she said.

Although past “Sociocultural Series” events included a number of different guest lecturers, evaluations of these events revealed an interest in salsa dancing, said Sara Rivera, administrative assistant at the LSCC and coordinator of the salsa event.

For the first class, turnout was less than the expected 50 people.

However, Rivera and Pabon said they were both happy with the event. For those who missed the first lesson, they can catch up on Thursday, Feb. 8. Students don’t need to worry about being behind, either.

“If they come, I’ll teach them,” Pabon said.

The LSCC will host three more classes after that to finish off the series Feb. 8, Feb. 22 and March 15. Call 617-373-5845 for more information and to register.

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