Cha-cha into spring with Latin dance

No experience is needed for UAA Student Activities and Commuter Programs’ upcoming Latin dance lessons, which will be held once a month until April in the Student Union cafeteria.

Dance Lessons
Seth Venhaus and Michelle Holland demonstrating some salsa steps for the Latin Dance Night hosted by Student Activities Photo credit: Christian Cielo

Teresa Perez, an event planner for Student Activities, wanted an event that got students moving and learning something new. She was inspired by the Latino Student Union to start the Latin dance lessons since LSU often goes out dancing.

“[The classes] are all beginner, nothing too complicated. It’s all learning the basic steps and having fun with it,” Perez said.

The classes occur every third Tuesday once a month, taught by instructors at Alaska Dance Promotions. The first class was held Jan. 23, where participants learned the salsa. Perez said it went “really well” and that there were around 30 students who participated in the salsa lessons.

The remaining classes are Feb. 20 where they will learn the bachata, March 20 is the merengue and April 17 is the cha-cha. All lessons start at 7 p.m. and will run for one hour.

UAA junior Svetlana Suvorova, finance major, is looking forward to possibly attending some of the lessons if they work with her schedule.

Suvorova as some experience in choreography but said she has not practiced in a while, making these lessons a good way to learn something new and get back into dancing.

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“My first thought was ‘why not?’ I think [dancing] can be a good sport activity, if you make an effort to try. Also, dancing is always fun, while Latin dance is one of the most emotional ones. I always liked watching this kind of energy happening between two people on the dance floor,” Suvorova said.

Michael Stevenson, UAA public health graduate student, said these lessons are not only a way for him to have fun with dancing but to also encourage and build a dancing community in Anchorage. Stevenson has nearly three years in dance experience in multiple genres of dance including tango, swing, salsa and ballroom-type dances. He said that dancing was a way to relieve stress from working toward his degree and his job at the time and has since become “obsessed” with it.

“It is an indoor activity that promotes health and wellness. It is a real skill that you can use well into your elderly years,” Stevenson said.

The lessons are free to all UAA students taking six or more credits with valid student ID.