BY Karen Yu

The second society for the Week 7 theme of Dance is the Latin Dance Society. 

If you’ve never heard of Latin Dance before, this is the time to learn about them! I sat down with Isabella, Qasim, Tia and Tanisha to find out what they’re all about.

Hailing from South America, Isabella was immediately drawn to the vibrant music and was amazed at how welcoming the people in the society were. Qasim on the other hand was walking after one of his classes when he spotted a group of people having fun and went up to them and joined.

“It was really fun to get drawn into Latin dance.”

Tia and Tanisha were both pushed into joining the society by a friend. Once they started taking lessons, they were really drawn in by all the different aspects of Latin Dance, spurring them to do more.

Tanisha has had experience with classical Indian dancing back home and was drawn to the beats of Latin dance music. What spurred her interest in the society was wanting to learn a new and different dance style.

“The variety of salsa and Latin dancing is very interesting.”

Isabella grew up with dancing. At family gatherings they liked to dance salsa and other Latin styles of dance. She felt that the society allowed her to bring this aspect of her warm family to new friendship groups. Tia was also amazed at the variety of different dance styles, attracting her to the society and dancing.

Latin Dance Society wants to spread the joy of dancing, Latin dance and the culture that comes within it. They aim to cultivate a warm familial atmosphere within their society.

Each week the society has classes with three different levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced, so they have a class for everyone. They also teach a variety of different dancing styles, although their main ones are salsa and bachata. If you’re like me and have no experience in dancing, salsa is a groovy social partner dance and bachata is a beautiful social partner dance.

I asked what dance was to them and Isabella answered that it was a way to de-stress. Qasim similarly said it was a way to get rid of stress and also that it was so embedded into this lifestyle that he would feel empty if he didn’t dance for a few days. Tia said that dance was a bubble and a world where when she did it, she wouldn’t have to worry about anything else, which made her feel good. Tanisha also described how when her body moved to the beats of the music she would feel a sense of satisfaction.

“We all start from the same footing and then we all go up together.”

When asked about misconceptions, they believe people think that they had to dance well to be able to join. That, as most of you may have guessed, is not true. The society is open to anyone and they exist to show that anyone and everyone can learn how to dance.

Another misunderstanding mentioned arose from the style of dancing taught. Salsa and bachata are both couple dances which led to some people thinking that you needed a partner to be able to join. The society is open to anyone with the goal of helping people socialise, so there’s no need for that.

“Seeing everyone have fun and them feeling included and comfortable.”

All four execs said that they loved their society for the sense of inclusion and community it facilitated.

One thing that Qasim wanted to say to UNSW students was to join societies and whatever you were interested in. Isabella said to get out of your comfort zone to try different things when you can. Tia and Tanisha similarly said to just join one class that they teach and you’ll be able to sense the pure joy and happiness it can give.

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