As part of our Latin America issue, Travel Editor Nick Bloom talks salsa with co-President Naomi Myerson.
First off, what got you interested in Latin Dance?
Spending half a year in the salsa capital of the world! I had so much fun teaching in Bogotá on my year abroad, and decided to do some dance classes in the evenings. I thought to myself that it would do us Brits a lot of good, and hoped to meet Colombians and make new friends. It was difficult at times – I kept going to parties and everyone was unbelievable at dancing – but I had a great time.
So you came back to Bristol and decided to set up a society?
Pretty much! I got together with a group of Latin America enthusiasts and we were all keen. There are quite a few dance societies at Bristol, but we wanted something that was a bit more laid back, less competitive, and especially targeted at beginners. Latin Dance Soc offers a distraction from uni stresses, a sociable atmosphere and a great opportunity to learn about Latin American culture.
(Epigram / Nick Bloom)
Have there been any challenges getting the society up and running?
So far, the response from students has been great! People seem to like the fact the classes are open to beginners and no one feels embarrassed. We’re trying to work on getting a fixed dance class schedule – timetabling and room availability has been tricky – but we’re getting there. It may not be perfect by the end of the year, but we hope to build as strong of as base as we can for next year.
*Talking of timetabling, what have you guys got planned over the next few weeks? *
There’s a weekly Tuesday class from 5-6pm at the SU, led by Alain, our wonderful Cuban salsa teacher. We’ve learnt a lot in the last few weeks, but people can join whenever. We’re planning on starting rotating Thursday classes focusing on other styles, such as bachata and kizomba, to give people as much choice as possible. We’re also thinking of taking Society members to dance classes at the Cuban or Hamilton House so we can meet the local community and get involved with something outside of the university. If we go as a pack we’ll be fine! Finally, we are aiming for two nights out a month at some of Bristol’s best Latin bars… fun nights drowned in mojitos and caipirinhas!
(Epigram / Nick Bloom)
What would you say to Latin American students at Bristol?
Come along! We would be over the moon to see you and learn a thing or two about your culture!
I’m proud to say I have two left feet, and six months in Colombia didn’t change that. Have you got any words of wisdom for students who can’t bear the thought of salsa classes, especially sober?
“Fake it til you make it”! You just have to get into the spirit – smile and you look like you’re having a good time!
Featured image: Epigram / Nick Bloom