SalsaCraze brings Miami culture to life for its members as they practice a variety of Latin dance moves. Founded 14 years ago, SalsaCraze a meets Wednesday and Friday nights on campus and brings instructors together with a diverse group of students and community members together to learn practice and enjoy salsa.
“A friend dragged me,” said sophomore Morgan Mavis, a marine science and mathematics major. “That was October of my freshman year. The first time I went to class, I fell in love.”
Mavis is now the secretary of the club and attends classes almost every week.
SalsaCraze was started by a group of students originally from a club called The Dancing Ibis, which involved ballroom-style Latin dancing. This group of students added a syllabus to the regimen and formed what is today known as SalsaCraze.
There are five classes at each level: beginner, intermediate, advanced and master. Members can test into higher levels at their own pace.
“We teach our entire syllabus every day of class, so people can start at any point in the year and still learn something brand-new, even if it’s the last week of finals,” said SalsaCraze president Daniel Borges, a junior majoring in marketing and management.
Borges began coming to SalsaCraze his freshman year rather spontaneously.
“I saw two people dancing to music on a Friday afternoon in the Breezeway, and they said they were part of SalsaCraze. I was intrigued, so I said, ‘What’s that? What’s going on?’,” he said. “I went to my first lesson – it was free. I had a blast and I’ve been hooked ever since.”
The first lesson with SalsaCraze is free, and membership for the semester is $25, which averages to less than $1 per class. It is open to both students and non-students.
Since Borges joined three years ago, the club has grown exponentially, partly because of great interest in learning more about Miami culture and the fun, easy-going atmosphere of the members and instructors.
“Since I began, our average class size has increased from 50 people to up to 150,” Borges said. “We get regular attendance, and the parties have expanded from around 50 people to up to 300 attendees.”
“I started in August,” said freshman Emma Purcell, who studies global business studies and marketing. “I love SalsaCraze. This is easily my favorite thing that I’ve done here so far. It’s just really, really good energy and good people.”
Along with classes, SalsaCraze hosts monthly parties, usually in the Shalala Student Center. Last month, it had a Valentine’s Day party, and on March 10 it will host a St. Patrick’s Day party. They usually go from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Whether you have been dancing your entire life or have two left feet, SalsaCraze provides a great atmosphere full of people who share a goal of learning salsa.
“No matter what, coming to SalsaCraze makes you feel great. We really developed a family here,” Borges said.
Friday practices are in the Storm Surge room in the UC at 6 p.m., and Wednesday practices occur at varying locations at 7 p.m. For more information about the classes, contact Borges at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow SalsaCraze on Facebook.