Do you like to dance? Do you like ‘Latin dance’? Are you interested in building friendships through dance? Then, Latino, the salsa dance club is the place suited for people who said ‘yes’ to all three questions. In this new Focus on UOS, I covered one of the unique central clubs of University of Seoul (UOS). Let us see what is so special about Latino. I interviewed the vice president of the Latino club, Cho Ye-seul (Department of International Relations, 11’).
What is salsa? Salsa started out at a street in South America. When it came to New York, Americans started to make standards of salsa dance. There are two styles of salsa; ‘on one’ and ‘on two.’ The difference between those two styles can be found in woman’s steps. When you dance ‘on one,’ woman take their steps backwards just like what we can see in standardized dancing sports. Dancing ‘on two,’ women move forward. Salsa is a very passionate dance and partnership is the most important part. When people see a man and a woman dancing salsa, they think the woman’s dance is more sophisticated and more exciting. However, it is the ‘man’ who is actually leading her. Men lead, women follow. Nevertheless, both partners need a lot of practice to make a good pair.
How did the club begin? The founder of the club, Lee Yeon-jin (Department of Environmental Horticulture, 96’), created Latino in 2000. Our club stepped ahead and became a Central Club in 2005 like you know it today. At first, salsa was his hobby and he had fun learning the steps. What made him captivated in salsa was its passion and freedom. To him, UOS was kind of a ‘tied-up’ place for students and totally lacked passion and freedom he could feel while dancing. Therefore he began to join Salsa Dance Academy (SDA) and tried to spread salsa dance to UOS students. The result of his efforts are now, Latino.
How is Latino managed? We gather new members by advertising during club PR days, the school festival and Inhyangjae (the festival only for clubs). Latino has no limitation for new members. Some Central Clubs gather only freshmen, but we welcome any students who are eager to dance salsa. Usually, students visit Latino via acquaintance. Some of our members join SDA as well and Old Boys (OB) teach freshmen. Salsa lessons are always scheduled on Wednesday evenings. And before actual performances, we start hard-trainings for about a month. Like me, some members who also joined SDA participate in annual salsa dance parties three or four times a year.
What is the charm of Latino? Meeting new people and learning how to cooperate with partners. For girls, salsa is an excellent way to exercise and shape your body. Boys can learn manners and how to lead a girl.
We build partnerships and friendships. Dance is another way to communicate with people. Salsa does that.
What is the motto of Latino? Enjoy it! I want everyone to freely enjoy Latin and salsa. Really, it is all about having fun. Completion is important when it comes to performing. However for the most part, it is necessary that dancers enjoy dancing. Why not come and enjoy salsa?