Of late, Salsa dancing is taking over as the leading leisure activity among the youth and middle-aged folks in the society.
In Kenyan universities and colleges, Salsa clubs are being formed, and seemingly, Salsa competitions are set to become a national sport that will attract competitors from all walks of life.
Many entertainment sports in major towns also offer Salsa dancing. Nairobi’s Intercontinental Hotel is one of the leading places one can go for Salsa dancing.
Just like body fitness instructors, Salsa instructors are also emerging, and earning big from the trainees who do not wish to be left behind on the current trends.
Salsa is a ballroom dance representing a mix of Latin musical genres, but its primary component is Cuban dance music. The roots of salsa originated in Eastern Cuba (Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo) from the Cuban Son (about 1920) and Afro-Cuban dance (like Afro-Cuban rumba).
It is a highly intimate dance that is defined by two parties of opposite sex exhibiting body movements, and heavy body contacts. It might make the best leisure activity for couples that love it, and a relationship-breaking activity for couples that only one of them enjoys it.
In a past interview with The Standard, Joshua Ochieng, a salsa instructor, said keeping distance between him and his trainees is a professional practice. However, it might not work always as it is a contact dance and close body contacts is inevitable sometimes.
“I ensure there is enough space to fit a Bible between us.” said Ochieng. “ You have to ensure that the lady feels comfortable without being in her face. Sometimes contact is inevitable, the reason you should be clean. You do not want the girls referring to you as the guy who stinks like a skunk.”
Different types of Salsa include Colombian Style Salsa (Cumbia), Cuban Style Salsa, Miami Style Salsa (Classico Cubano, Casino), Casino Rueda Style Salsa (Rueda de Casino, Salsa Rueda), L.A. Style Salsa (Dancing “On 1”), New York Style Salsa (Dancing “On 2”, Mambo Salsa, Eddie Torres Style, Puerto Rican Style Salsa and Salsa Shines. The most common in Kenya is Cuban style, with an African touch.
According to The Standard, the first salsa class comprises the basic steps of Mambo, Cumbia and side steps. The next level, intermediate, involves left and right turns and cross-body leads. The advanced level entails handwork and footwork.
According to Ochieng, salsa dance is good for socialising, stress relieve and exercising.