Dancing Benefits People in Cardiff

Video shot & edited by: Jiao Chen

Cardiff is going Salsa. That is if you believe The Latin American Society.  It says its traditions, such as food, dancing and music, are having a major influence on the city. 

Every Wednesday night, a salsa class is held in Old Havana, Cardiff. The class is divided into two groups, beginner and intermediate level, where students are allowed to choose whatever level they feel comfortable to be part of. This allows individuals to interact to a new culture and meet new people.

Beginners Salsa Class. Photo by CNP.

Mariano Hombre is an Italian national who was a DJ back in his country and didn’t know much about salsa dancing until he was inspired by a lady who asked him to dance at a club where he was playing music. He grew fond of this dance and decided to pursue it further and became a Salsa/Cuban instructor. He says his love and passion grew to the point where he came to Cardiff and started teaching Cuban dancing to people in the city.

“After my passion grew more for dancing, I found it really interesting because of the cultural aspects around it. So it’s not only about the dance but also the lifestyle. And this just made me really passionate and that’s why I’ve been doing it for 12 years”, he said.

Hombre’s partner, Rhian Elizabeth Saunders, who comes from Australia, is an experienced dancer with a background in ballroom dancing. She found her love for salsa when she came to Cardiff and starting attending classes that Mr. Hombre was teaching.

“After I started attending, it started to become an obsession. I started listening, dancing, practicing, thinking and watching all salsa and bachata”, she said.

Left: Mariano Hombre; Right: Rhian Elizabeth Saunders. Photo by CNP.

Salsa is not limited to any age group say organisers. Adults, teenagers and elderly people join in, because it allows them to meet new people and integrate themselves into different cultures. With many non-Latin American people joining salsa classes in Cardiff, it has started influencing residents in the city to go out with their friends and enjoy dancing, claim The Latin American Society.

Timothy O’Brian, a 78-years-old retired man said, “It keeps me fit and keeps me going in life. I am encouraging now my friends to come and join me, because it’s better than just sitting at home and doing nothing. I want to keep moving and keep myself active. Also, making friends isn’t that easy, so this is helping me meet new people and I enjoy it”.

Timothy O’Brian. Photo by CNP.

Moreover, dancing say the organisers is known to be a kind of exercise that people tend to turn too. This is because individuals are having fun, so they might not get easily tired and will dance longer. Organisers say that salsa has great health benefits: improvement of mood, posture, stress, and weight loss. This is done in a fun and therapeutic way, where people tend to do it in groups and gain support or motivation from one another.

“You can dance five to six hours and you’re having fun all the time. It creates a big social aspect by integrating cardio, flexibility and fun. We see people from different ages that come, and it’s great to see their dedication and interaction”, Saunders said.

Salsa Class. Photo by CNP.




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