“Any questions?” FGCU Salseros president Destiny Disla asks students gathered on a Thursday evening for their weekly meeting in a classroom. Disla has just demonstrated the merengue.
“Basically, you’re just marching in place, and you can add as much or as little hip as you want,” Disla continues. “How do we feel? Sexy?” the West Palm Beach native and communication major prompts, to laughter from the group.
Everyone here knows the FGCU Salseros club motto: “If it ain’t sexy, it ain’t Salseros!”
This meeting is not about future dances, the flash mob they’re planning with another student organization, or the dance instructions they occasionally give in Assistant Professor Marta Ramos’ Spanish classes. This meeting is pure, unadulterated fun, and FGCU Salseros members are singing along with the music and dancing until it stops.
Next, Disla and club vice president Isabel Fernandez Cardenas, an accounting major from Key West, demonstrate footwork for the bachata. Disla instructs the warmed-up crowd, “Two steps left, touch; two steps right, touch.”
“You’re getting so much better!” Lady Gonzalez Perez, a biochemistry major, whispers to communication major David Vasquez. “I’ve been practicing,” the Fort Myers native replies proudly.
“You know, humans are one of the few animals without a mating call,” says Nabil Benjelloun, a Morocco native, Naples resident and theatre major.
“No,” Perez, a native Cuban also living in Naples, disputes earnestly. “We have the bachata!”
The final dance demonstration is the salsa, and everyone seems comfortable. “Left side, bring it back to home; right side, bring it back to home; then do it fast,” Disla says, again demonstrating with Benjelloun and club treasurer Austen Colon, a legal studies major from Port St. Lucie.
Veteran dancers encourage newer ones as Disla calls out, “If you feel comfortable, add a turn.” Three different replies of “Nope!” again fill the room with laughter. This particular Thursday, it was announced early that the meeting would end with a conga line, and Disla starts it (“One, two, three, step!”). The line heads out onto the balcony outside the Ben Hill Griffin classroom, then congas back in, everyone cheerful and laughing. When the song ends, so does the dance.
“It’s official!” Benjelloun shouts as everyone high-fives one another. “Best club on campus!”
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