Bookmark and Share

Let’s Dance presents salsa dance workshop, dinner and dance

Let’s Dance will sponsor a beginning salsa dance workshop taught by Deb Aspen, and a potluck dinner and dance Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Pagosa lakes Clubhouse.

 The workshop will be held from 2:45-6 p.m. The potluck dinner with BYOB cocktails (water, coffee, tea and punch provided) will be at 6:30 — bring one: main or side dish, salad or dessert). Dance exhibitions — Viennese Waltz: with Charles and Deb Aspen, Rumba/Salsa with Rudy Romero and Deb Aspen — is at 7:30. The dance will be held from 8-10:30.

Anyone from 16 to 96 is welcome — no experience necessary; couples or singles welcome.

Cost is $20 per person

Wear clean and comfortable for the workshop. You can bring dressier wear to change into for later in the evening.  Please wear shoes that do not leave black marks or mud.  Rubber soles or lugs are not appropriate or easy to dance in. 

History of Salsa

Salsa is the direct descendant of mambo, a dance that had evolved from the blending of European and African music in the Caribbean. The African roots of mambo lie with ritual performances, which became secular after they reached the Caribbean with the slave ships. Its European roots are unexpectedly found in England, the country dance of which became the contradanse of the French court and the contadanza when it moved from there to Spain. The contradanza became popular in the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean, where it was known simply as danza and absorbed some of the rhythm of the slaves’ music.

In the second half of the 19th century, danza became much livelier. When the U. S. declared war on Spain & took over the Spanish colonies in 1898, granting independence to Cuba only, Latin music was being brought to the mainland by its servicemen. In 1900, W. C. Handy visited Cuba and on his return started what became Latin jazz.

A style called “son” evolved out of the changui music of the Cuban province Oriente. Mambo was developed out of son, and in the 1930s both son and mambo found their way from Cuba to the U.S. Finally, Latin band leaders in New York City amalgamated son and mambo to form salsa. It has become one of the most popular club-style or social dances in the USA, but is also danced competitively, worldwide. 

Salsa is danced to 4/4 rhythm starting on the first beat, unlike mambo, which starts on the second. The phrases are danced in the rhythm: quick-quick-slow/quick-quick-slow, with one sequence corresponding to one measure (or four beats) of music. The speed of the music ranges at about 150 bpm, which is pretty fast. For this reason, steps are kept small, with feet and legs kept close to each other. Also, the weight is transferred fully with each step on the ball of the foot.

The instructor

Deb Aspen started dancing in February 2000. In 2003 she organized In Step Dance Associates; and started teaching beginning classes in the major ballroom dances, adding some country western.

Since 2003, Aspen has studied at Arthur Murray in Albuquerque, under some of the nation’s best teachers. In January 2008, she was certified by the World Professional Dance Teacher’s Association.

Aspen and her husband, Charles, compete as a Gold Level Amateur Couple in Albuquerque and Denver Showcases, and have danced in International Dance-O-Ramas in Costa Mesa, Calif., Banff, Canada and Miami, Fla., and plan to attend the Superama in Las Vegas, Nev.

Aspen also dances in the Professional/Amateur Categories, with Bob Long and other Arthur Murray instructors from Albuquerque and Denver. Aspen and Long have won three Top Solo Awards, and three out of four of the Scholarship Divisions in International competitions.

As of November 2009, Aspen will have graduated Arthur Murray’s full Bronze syllabi in 20 dances — full Silver in 12, and full Gold in 8 — and will be entering the Master’s Program next year, as well as studying more in the International Style dances.

For more information, call Deb at 731-3338 or Mary at 903-5500.