Latin Dance Club makes its debut


Photo by Renaenia Pangan

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By Jessica Brite and Alyssa Nepomuceno, staff writers

Debuting this year is the new Latin Dance Club that can teach you how to dance like a pro with moves from dance styles such as Salsa, Bachata, and Merengue.

Club president sophomore Faye Shemper and advisor and physical education teacher Jamal Bermudez give us insight on why they began the club and what their hopes are for the future.

According to Bermudez, club participants will get to experience the different styles of Latin dance, learn basic steps so they can dance at parties, and take their talent beyond the club.

Bermudez has been dancing since he was young in his Cuban household. He took dancing classes beginning at the age of 5 and continued through adulthood. However, he started taking Latin dance seriously at the age of 22. Bermudez likes to bring his dance skills into the gym and teach basic steps to his physical education students as it is a fun way to exercise.

“Often times, people go to parties [such as] Sweet 16’s and proms, and when the Latin music comes on they kind of stand against the wall and they kind of want to dance but they don’t know how to. So I’m hoping that in this club you’ll get at least the basic steps of all the genres so that when you get to these events, you’ll be able to do a little something,” he explains.

Faye Shemper, founder and president of the club, is no stranger to Latin dance either. “I’m a passionate student and teacher of dance. I have been dancing from the age of 4, and have focused specifically on Latin dance for the past seven years. I have done traditional, Latin American Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata, as well as elements of Afro-Cuban samba.”

Although activities such as Hispanic FON are already available to the school, she says that “in this club, participants will get thorough dance lessons with specific attention to detail and improvement in grasping the various styles. They can apply what they learned to Hispanic FON if they join (which they are absolutely encouraged to do), and moreover, Latin Dance Club is year-round for all dance lovers. It would be exciting and rewarding for dancers to showcase their skills somehow as well, such as at the Winter and/or Spring Concerts!”

She added, “At first, there will definitely be introductory lessons taught by Mr. Bermudez and I, but in the future, choreographing and learning routines will allow for more freedom.”

Although the female population is especially dominant, partner work is not completely out of the question. “[To] my own surprise, I’ve already met 7-8 boys who are excited to give this club a shot, so there is no doubt that partner work will show up,” says Faye.

As for her reason for starting the club: “[I was] surprised that such a culturally rich and talented school still didn’t have one,” she remarks. “[I just wanted] to spread my love and appreciation for dance in all its many diverse forms.”

The Latin Dance Club had its first meeting last Tuesday but it is not too late to join. The club meets every Tuesday in room 411 until 4:10.