“When you get to a salsa class and you dance, all of that busy-ness in the mind disappears. It is a necessary release.”
To dance Salsa is to let you mind be still, your heart be open and your feet be alive. Incorporating elements of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean dances, Salsa is an art form. As all art forms and all conduits of creativity, this form of dance is ventilation for the soul. Now in its second year of operation, Windhoek has a Salsa club, Salsa Windhoek Social Club whose main driver is Rémy Ngamije. 99FM’s MYD Art sat down with Rémy to find out more about his dream to see a place in Windhoek where people can Salsa dance.
Rémy explains that when he returned to Namibia after studying in South Africa, he was disheartened to find no form of social salsa dance club here. Instead of bemoaning his fate, he took it upon himself to establish one. Now in its second year of operation Remy says that, “Its finally start to feel like this is what we always wanted it to be. After a year of having relied on other people, we finally have our own space. Our new permanent home will be at the Windhoek Show grounds, we are busy with renovations and when it’s done it will be a cool comfortable place for adult people to come and have good clean fun. ”
When asked about why Salsa in particular Rémy explains that, “Salsa dancing is an absolute release. For the last three years I have worked in very varied careers but all of them have been fiercely intellectual. They have include things like studying law, writing, design and more, all of these are very driven by your head. But when you get to a salsa class and you dance, all of that busy-ness in the mind disappears. It is a necessary release and I am not the only one who feels this way, other people who dance with us feel it too. If we have been closed for a week, people complained because they need the space where they can release. This is what Salsa dancing is; a feeling of release, where your body takes over and you are fully focused and present, for the duration of the song. Afterwards, you feel rejuvenated, like you can go back to whatever it is you need to do.”
An art form that soothes the soul, Rémy goes on to say that “That feeling of release is essential for us. Salsa is a release and you feel as though everything is out on the dance floor.”
Most of us have an underlying fear to try things we are not familiar with, however according to Rémy, “Salsa is an art form but anyone can get involved. It all depends on you as to how far you want to take it. We teach social salsa, which is the kind of salsa where you attend to learn Salsa and have some fun. There is also competitive salsa where you are graded and take part in international competitions and there is street salsa which is what you’ll find for example on the streets of Cuba and involves people coming together to dance to a song without any organisation. All of these types are features of Salsa; it is up to you to choose which one is for you or how far you want to go with Salsa but anyone can get involved. It’s like painting for example, you might want to paint at home for yourself or might want to try get into a prestigious art school or you might want to paint with the ambition of exhibiting at the Tate Modern, it all depends on how far you want to take it.”
The benefits of dancing Salsa according to Rémy include that, “It’s a good dance to start with because it is easy to get into.” Another Salsa advantage is that “it is energetic so you are getting exercise for your body. However it is not an intense work out that will leave you panting afterwards.” A third benefit is “the social aspect is a benefit because it is where people meet, interact and engage” says Rémy who adds that a fourth benefit of Salsa is that “it is fun” and the fifth benefits is that it is “a continuous learning curve so you can always learn something new. Even after you’ve been dancing for a long time, different people dance differently and you learn something new from everyone you dance with. Salsa is a conversation with someone without using words.”
“Salsa is social, you meet new people and its relaxing. This is important when you consider that Windhoek is starting to get the stress levels associated with living in a big city. We welcome anyone to come to our dance floor, in fact anyone from 21 to 84 years is welcome.” Rémy laughs as he explains that the oldest dancer they have had on their dance floor so far was an 84 year old woman who in his words “knew how to move, the woman moved.”
Rémy notes too that you don’t need to be a dancer to join them as they are not a dance studio but a Salsa collective. This means that even if you’ve not danced before, you can join in. “Even if you’ve never danced before, we guarantee after your first time with us, the first hour in your Salsa journey, and after learning the foundational steps in the fun way we do it, you will be able to Salsa. People have many times, commented on how easy it actually is after their first time with us.” says Remy
When asked if there is anything in particular he would like to share with Namibia about Salsa, Remy notes that “Anybody and everybody is welcome on our dance floor however I have a plea to the gentlemen out there to come and join us. We are short of gentlemen on our dance floor” considering how much a woman loves a man who can dance as Remy puts it “get out of the comfort zone gentlemen, and come and dance with us.”
The Salsa Windhoek Social Club is moving in to their new premises at the Presidents Lounge at the Windhoek Show grounds on the 1st of May 2016. If you want to get in touch with them you’ll find them on Facebook by clicking here : Salsa Windhoek Social Club or through their website here : Salsa Windhoek Social Club
Or you could send an email to : email@example.com
This Saturday the Club is holding a workshop, so if you want to learn to Salsa, join them and find the release and the freedom of dance for yourself.
Article by Kirsty Watermeyer