Queen’s Spanish and Latin American Students’ Association (QSALSA) has danced its way back to campus for another year.
Returning from summer break, QSALSA held their first beginner’s salsa and Bachata class on Sept. 20 in Ellis Hall. The club teaches students Latin dances such as salsa and Bachata, but also provides a space that allows students to broaden their perspectives on cultural practices, all while staying active and having fun.
“We’ve been mostly focused on teaching Latin dances, as the name suggests. salsa is one of the staple Latin dances but so is Bachata. Those are the primary things the club offers,” QSALSA Events Coordinator and Cuban Salsa Instructor Braulio Antonio, third-year PhD candidate in physics, said in an interview with The Journal.
According to Antonio, before the onset of the pandemic the club had tango classes, Spanish conversation circles, and movie screenings in partnership with the Queen’s Film Club. Día de los Muertos [Day of the Dead] gave QSALSA the opportunity to have a social media campaign where they shared facts about the Mexican celebration in Canada.
Through their Instagram page, Antonio said the club worked to bring awareness to Latin culture, and the different countries forming Latin America. He believes the cultural importance of QSALSA is to maintain these practices in Canada.
“I think it’s important to keep these practices alive because at the end of the day there are a lot of musicians, a lot of dancers that are building this genre,” he said.
“If it’s not practiced, if it’s not danced, then it just dies. When you have something that comes from just one place—Bachata is 100 per cent Dominican—you really want to cherish it and to make sure it thrives.”
He encourages students to join because it’s simply fun.
“I think if you’re a dancer, you enjoy listening to the music. But there’s always something more to it when you can do it within a context. In this case, it’s the Latin social scene, the Latin music, and to know you’re doing it [dancing] right is an extra part that makes it more special, makes it more fun, [and] opens your perspective to other activities and other cultures.”
The club meets twice weekly on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and on Thursdays from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in Ellis Hall room 319, with members of the Kingston community showing their support by volunteering as co-instructors.
While everyone is welcome, there’s a waitlist for people to join the club due to limited capacity in Ellis Hall. Antonio recommends tracking the club’s social media before the winter term begins.
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