Eye on Hispanic Heritage Month: Latin dance community thrives in Columbus

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While Salsa originated in east Cuba, here in the Fountain City, a small group of dedicated dancers continue to sharpen their skills.

This is the C-Town Salsa Class, a free dance class that teaches the Latin dances of Salsa and Bachata.

There are plenty of reasons why they come to The Suite Lounge off Sidney Simons Blvd. for class.

“It’s a really diverse group. It’s so welcoming. I’ve made all my friends here. It’s so welcoming. It’s the culture that brings us together,” said Monica Whatley.

“It gives me an opportunity to meet new people, so I can always go out at a Salsa place and I will have a lot higher chance of meeting someone new,” said Alexis Rivera.

There can be a little stage fright when you first come to a class and see their moves, but don’t worry! They love bringing in new partners.

“I mean we do this at a bar. You can just come in and get a drink first, if you want to feel smoother, and just let loose,” said Darius Williams.

Fred Johnson has led this class for over a decade now. C-Town started as a way for dancers just to get more practice. But he’s found a new passion by teaching new steps to his class.

“It really helped me to come out of my shell, dancing. You’re forced to get out there and socialize. It’s just fun to share that passion with others,” said Fred Johnson, C-Town Salsa Instructor.

Some found an extended family in class.

For Natalie Bouette and her dance partner Williams, their bond on the floor is unbreakable, but they rekindled this friendships after a few twists and turns.

“I remember walking into the first dance class here in Columbus and seeing him. And although I had only seen him once, I recognized him immediately. I moved here by myself and seeing Darius and knowing that I found a great community of dancers and talented people to share my passion with Columbus immediately felt like home,” said Bouyett.

These dancers may learn the steps at home, but you use them to travel around the world.

“You can go pretty much anywhere in the world and dance Salsa. It’s a great way to meet people. If you can dance, you can go anywhere and instantly have friends,” said Johnson.

Remember, C-Town Salsa holds class every Tuesday night at the Suite Bar and Grill, 5300 Sidney Simons Blvd, in Columbus—and the class is free!

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