Some of our students had danced salsa in their families in gatherings, some did it all the time, others had never been exposed to it and were really excited to learn. For a lot of students it had something to do with their family and their family history and their culture so it was really exciting to hear the students stories and watch them actually bring that significance to their movement. We would start dancing and I would show the moves and right away you could tell the students who were really engaged and really excited about dancing and moving that loved dance, and then there were students who kind of stood in the back because they were a little more embarrassed, whether they were embarrassed to dance in front of their peers or embarrassed to move at all. Over the course of the class, the hour that I was there, you could see students start to open up a little bit more. I would try and go over there and help them and dance with them and it was so exciting to see them start to feel a little bit more comfortable with their movement with their classmates. We had a really good time.
It was great because occasionally you would see one student go over to another student and hold their hand very nicely and say 'here do it like this, do it with me!' and so one thing I did was asked the students to switch partners every couple minutes. So I'd change the song and say, 'alright switch your partner!' and they'd try with a new student and so the students were learning from each other and the ones who were more comfortable with it were helping out the students who were a little bit more shy. Then towards the end it wasn't separated by social group or anything, people were all dancing with each other and it looked like the students were all having fun.
-Alejandra Vasquez Baur, EDN! Pomona Cultural Dance Instructor