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Shall we dance?

by Jimmi Hemmenbach, staff writer


Under the spell of Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez in Shall We Dance, you might have considered taking dance lessons. No need to spend big bucks at Arthur Murray’s. You can learn at YMCA Atherton which arranges once-a-month Latin dance nights.

The Latin dance night has become a tradition at the YMCA since they were started in November 2002.


“ It is a fun event for people all ages, says Nicole Smith, Latin Night general manager. “It is a nonsmoking and nondrinking event, so all people can come and learn and practice their dancing skills”.

The dance nights are three-and-a-half-hour sessions that allow you to learn basic steps of salsa, merengue, and tango. The introduction to each dance is short, but enough to get you started. The teacher starts off with the salsa. You learn four or five different steps on a basic level, getting enough introductions to take advantage of the last two hours of practice.

The teacher moves on to the merengue. It is similar to salsa, somewhat faster and truly entertaining if you like energetic dances.

The last dance you learn is the diva of dances: the Argentine tango. Anyone who thought that tango would be easy should think again. This is a dance that demands a lot of practice. You might learn the steps, but you also have to make it look good, since a high-quality tango requires grace more than anything.

When all these introductions are over, you are given two hours of practice, shifting between all three dances. The diversity on the dance floor is evident. You see people of all ages and many nationalities, and a good mix of males and females.

If you’re lucky, during a break you can watch “Hot Salsa” – Greg and Angel Henry – perform. Craig is usually the instructor. The married couple competes in salsa competitions all over America. They are proof of how it is supposed to look, once you begin to find your feet.

“ We welcome everyone who wants to come and dance and socialize,” Smith added.

If you are interested in dancing, bring your friends and have a great time on a Saturday night at YMCA Atherton.



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