Kayli Hertel – Features Editor
“[It was] muy caliente,“ said Toria Young of the last salsa classes hosted by the Lasell Latin American Cultural Club (LLACC) in early November. The four classes were taught by Katalin Matyus and her partner Hector Huambo, both experienced dancers.
In October, the LLACC hosted the Latino Film Festival where everyone on campus was invited to watch movies geared toward Hispanic culture. Professor Jose Guzman, the advisor of the club, felt that having salsa lessons would be another great event.
“We wanted to share a part of Hispanic culture with Lasell College and, moreover, create a relaxing atmosphere where students and faculty can learn some salsa steps while having fun,” said Guzman of the original idea when the club started. Guzman contacted Matyus with the help of Sam Ramos, the president of the club and Professor Becky Kennedy, the chair of the humanities department.
Matyus, who is from Hungary, has been a competitive dancer as well as a dance teacher for several years. Huambo grew up with a love of dance, as it is a huge part of Peruvian culture. “We both live close by to the school. I was just passing by one of the buildings and I ended up walking in,” said Matyus of coming to Lasell.
The class consisted of Matyus and Huambo teaching basic salsa steps to attendees. Many students brought friends and even a few faculty members showed up. Melida Valera, who has previous experience as a dancer, enjoyed her time at the lessons. “As a natural salsa dancer, this class jogged my memory on the turns I previously learned. It was a great class – I had lots of fun,” said Valera.
Ramos felt that the event was an overall success given what students can take from the lessons. “I believe that learning salsa is not only something they can learn as a dance but something they can have fun with,” Ramos noted. The LLACC is currently planning more activities for the future including an event on Hispanic food.
There are plans for more salsa classes with Matyus and Huambo, given that this is just the first year. “We are so grateful we could teach here,” said Matyus, who believes it is important to note the benefits dance can have. “People don’t know that dance is not only fun, but also it can improve your health, posture, blood pressure, confidence.”