Loud counts of “1, 2, 3,” direct a group of students learning steps to a new routine in room W102. Minutes later, they partner up and get into a big circle and start practicing the new routine with salsa music in the background.

Anthony Galindo/ Courier Chris Abril, Computer Science (left) and Celeste Benitez dancing for her birthday inside W-102 on Tuesday october 20, 2015
Anthony Galindo/ Courier
Chris Abril, Computer Science (left) and Celeste Benitez dancing for her birthday inside W-102 on Tuesday october 20, 2015

PCC’s Candela Salsa Club teaches salsa to students of all levels. What started as a small club has grown significantly over the years.

The club’s main purpose is to dance salsa, but instructors also teach other styles of dance such as bachata.

“Our primary concern was salsa but then with the growing number of people that we have and the different interests, we started branching out,” said Jonathan Hernandez, the treasurer of the club.

They also do another type of dance called “Rueda,” which is salsa inspired. It is a form of social dancing and a shout and command dance. Whatever the leader shouts at some point in the dance, the people in the circle will follow while doing a special hand signal at the same time.

What makes the salsa club more intriguing is the fact that the club brings in professional instructors from all over Southern California to teach a class.

The “house instructor” is Arlene Santos, who teaches salsa and is the main instructor for the club. Crystal Duran and Demetrio Rosario are both bachata instructors.

Because the club brings in professional instructors to teach each class, the club charges a fee after the first four weeks of the semester. Because the club does not get their ICC money automatically, they charge a fee to pay the instructors. For the first four weeks, everyone is welcome to go and dance for free and after that, anyone is still welcome to join the club for $10.

“Whatever we have in our petty cash is how we pay our instructors. And that petty cash comes from member fees,” Hernandez said. “Once we get the ICC funding, then that’s when we start paying them that way.”

As the room is filled up with students learning a new routine, people are surrounded in a circle and are partnered up ready to rehearse the steps together. After practicing with each other with a song in the background for a few minutes, each couple gives each other high fives and switches partners. They go in a rotation so eventually everyone gets to dance with one another. Because of this, it’s a great way to meet new people and have fun dancing at the same time.

“It’s a really good way to make friends,” said Jasmine Trinidad, the club’s vice president.

The salsa club attracts all types of students, some with experience in dancing in salsa and others that have no experience at all.

“I saw them salsa dancing out there in the quad and I was like ‘Hey is that salsa?,’” said student Kendall Howard. “And they were like ‘yeah,’ and I decided to join and from then on they have taught me and I’m like ‘wow! This is really fun,’ and I just got really into it and now I really like it.”

About two years ago the club started “Noche de Fuego,” an event that started off as a social in the spring and then was converted to a social in the spring and the winter called “Noche de Fuego: Frio Edition.” This year it is scheduled for the first week of December.

The club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at W102 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.


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