What? Dance lessons with actual girls?!? (Dance life Q&A: How did you get started?)

Photo credit: Chris Bedlington, http://www.bedlingtonphotography.com/

In Toronto, I started to salsa after someone told me that I wasn’t a sexy dancer. Well, thank God for that.

In a new regular Friday feature, we talk to Baila Boogaloo’s dancers about the moves, the beats, the nerves and the fervor. Today, we ask the pro team how they got started:

I was in my mother’s womb when I heard the conga beat… Just kidding. The short version is I got into salsa when I moved to Canada and felt home sick. – Joaquin Martinez

I went to Cuba and fell in love with the movement and the music. After I came back, I was determined to learn. So I married the instructor to ensure success and my succession. – Darlene Wang de Martinez

My friend was teaching at a community centre and needed guys. Always wanted to learn so I filled the need for men. After going to a Latin club, I knew I had to get good and fell in love along the way. – Shawn Rippa

I always loved the sound and beats of Latin music and the way I wanted to move to it. At the end of my university career I decided to take lessons at Ryerson University even though I went to UTM. I made my way downtown to dance salsa with Joaquin, Doug, Darlene and the rest of the Baila Boogaloo team. It’s been nine years and I’m still in love! – Grace Galvez

Photo credit: Roberto Martinez

We were about 25 engineering guys who used to study together at Ryerson. One evening one of them bust in saying: “There are cheap dance lessons with girls”. So acting on a student’s mentality, hearing “cheap” and “girls”, I decided to tag along.

I took class, looked like a jackass and signed up for the semester. At the end of the semester, the pile of guys went from 20 to two. Eddie Pinto and myself. – Doug Pereira

I was thrilled when as a first-year student at Ryerson University the Latin American Students Association was offering salsa lessons. It was also the perfect chance to meet some new friends. Having done Ukrainian dancing and other partner dancing for several years already, I quickly caught on to salsa and latin dance and the rest, as they say, is history. – Joanna Lavoie

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