I'm a writer/creative person living in Brisbane. Visit my work at: www.emilynuhn.com
Published May 21st 2013
Need a bit of spice in your life? Try Cuban Salsa
(Image courtesy of riorhythmics.com.au)
Let's face it, there are normally two types of people in the world when it comes to dancing; those that got rhythm and those that don't. I'd say I, and the majority of the population, are the latter. But this doesn't mean we shouldn't dance. In fact I would be bold enough to say dancing could be more beneficial for us non-dancers of the world. And one place you can start to get your rhythm flowing (whether you got it or you don't) is at Rio Rhythmics Latin Dance Academy located at 126 Boundary Street, West End.
West End is a busy place but luckily Rio Rhythmics is nicely hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the street out front. If you're worried about getting lost don't stress, as there is a big yellow sign out front. It is then you get to walk down a very long corridor where at the end you will find the big red desk, accommodated with the Rio Rhythmics friendly and helpful admin staff. Once checked in the first thing you will notice about this Latin Dance Academy is its vintage flavour. Picture an open spaced room, set with timber flooring, lined with quirky coloured chairs and many an old school fan to keep its hot dancers nice and cool. Not to mention the large and raring to blast some Latin music sound system lining the academy's walls.
Rio Rhythmics teaches many different dance classes with a focus on style and technique, so you can pick and choose whatever dance style your heart desires. They teach authentic Latin dance, maintaining links with Brazilian, Argentinean, Cuban and Colombian artists who ensure the cultural authenticity of the dance styles. They offer beginner, intermediate and advanced classes, with classes being comprised of people from all different backgrounds and age groups. I opted for a Cuban Salsa Dancing class for beginners. In the beginner's session everyone was dressed in comfortable clothing, such as light dresses, jeans, and comfortable shoes (there was no formal dress code). But if in doubt the friendly staff are always contactable to answer any questions.
Before class everyone, including the teacher, sat in the seated area in front of the dance floor for a friendly chat, which made everyone feel at ease. And once you've hit the dance floor you will realise it is this friendliness that makes Rio Rhythmics approach to teaching dance definitely 'a step above the rest'. Our teacher was the real deal, being Cuban born and raised. After a brief re-iteration of the basics, we split into two lines and began practising. The beginner's class had a strong focus on mastering the basics, in order to build up solid dance foundations. Later on during class we did split off into pairs to practice dance communication with a partner, namely how to lead, follow and interpret the music when paired with another dancer.
And the interpretation of music through dance is what Cuban salsa is really all about. It is about switching off the mind and learning how to move your body to the music with your heart not your mind. And this is very reason why we were all having so fun much fun, because for the first time all week we were finally getting out of our minds and into our bodies, which is liberating to say the least. Additionally, not only will your mental well being improve, but so too will your overall fitness. There is also a huge social component, as being in a dance class and dancing with others will allow you to make many new friends or to create an even stronger bond with your partner.
And if you're worried about being a beginner never fear because with the right instructor and curriculum everyone can learn to dance. Plus you'll get fitter, become happier, probably make some new friends and, most importantly, you will have a whole lot of fun. Not bad for an hour of your time, if you ask me. So put your dancing shoes on and give it a go. What have you got to loose?