In the basement of Tupper Hall, the culture of Brazil comes to life every Tuesday night. People can learn to dance the Salsa, Samba, Forro and Bachata with those who know it best. 

Heber da Silva, a graduate student studying Latin-American studies, started the Samba and Salsa Club last year after coming to Ohio University from Fortaleza, Brazil. Because of his constant studying, Silva felt he needed a place to have fun and meet other people. 

“We thought we could meet people, we can listen to music, we can have a place where we can smile all the time and have fun and move,” Silva said. 

If you go:

What:  Samba and Salsa Club

When: 7 p.m., Tuesdays

Where: Tupper Hall 004

Admission: Free

Salsa is an absolute passion of Silva’s. While studying in Brazil, he began taking dance lessons at his university. After mastering the lessons, he became a dance teacher for seven years. Through teaching he was able to save up the money to come to the U.S. 

Silva created the club with the help of Irina Lifszyc, a graduate student studying Spanish and salsa expert. Lifszyc, an Argentina native, studied salsa for four years. 

Together they hope to bring cultural exposure to OU and prove that Salsa is different than something students see in Hollywood. 

“Cultural exposure is always beneficial. You learn about countries you wouldn't learn otherwise. You can also see the world through different eyes, and that opens your mind a lot,” Lifszyc said. 

It’s a great opportunity to learn something new, Silva said. He finds Salsa to be the best activity. The fast-paced dancing provides a workout while being able to meet knew people. 

“I don't see anything unhealthy in dancing. You move, you meet people, you smile, and that's it. You sweat and everybody has fun.” Silva said. 

Rafael Garcia, a first year graduate student studying Latin-American studies, put it simply as to why people should participate in Silva’s lessons: “It’s salsa.” 

Silva finds that most people who consider taking Salsa lessons are intimidated by learning the moves. 

“It's not difficult and it's not easy,” Silva said.

The hardest part of the dance is the kicks, Silva said. But once mastered, people can dance with any partner in the world.

“I can dance the salsa in Brazil or in Uruguay, in Holland, in Germany, in Paris,” Silva said. “You know the techniques, you know the style, and you can dance with anybody in the world.”

Though the dance can be difficult, Zoe Zawadski knows there’s no shame in messing up. 

“It’s a really fun, relaxed atmosphere,” Zawadski, a graduate student studying linguistics, said.  “If you mess up, you laugh it off.” 


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