Salsa in Schools

Once again I apologise as its been a while since I have written a proper blog but I have been up to my neck in developing new and exciting things for you all and also for my new business.

So James I hear you cry what are these new things?! How can we find out about them? Well the biggest announcement you won’t find out about until the end of April… So put it down in the diary! One of the new things I can tell you that I’ve been working on is StreetSalsa in Schools. StreetSalsa in Schools is something close to my heart and something that I have been working hard on recently. Having spent my time at university studying to be a teacher I realised that there is a need for projects like StreetSalsa in our schools. It is from this knowledge and experience of working in schools as a teacher that has inspired me to really put this project into gear.

What is StreetSalsa in Schools?

StreetSalsa in Schools brings our fusion of Salsa and Street together in a fun, relaxed environment where the children are given a platform to express themselves and experiment with what they are being taught. StreetSalsa is fun and has been crafted to help the children develop and to achieve through enjoyment. It opens the door for the children to have new experiences and learn about different cultures. We go through the history of the people that impacted the music and the forms of dance and how this is relevant to them today. Throughout all of our work with StreetSalsa we promote the ideals of teamwork and respect. Finally we believe in giving the children a platform to express themselves and hopefully to inspire them to take up dance and to see it as an alternative form of exercise.

Our main aims as dancers and as Salseros is to broaden the catchment of Salsa and also to give more people the opportunity to see and take part in our StreetSalsa classes. It is my belief that with this venture the common stereotypes of partner dancing and salsa dancing between children and young adults will be eradicated whilst also advertising salsa and dance itself to a new generation who can take advantage of Leeds’ amazing dance and salsa scene!

Whats going on at the moment!

We have recently been approached by two secondary schools to teach StreetSalsa to their pupils. As well as this we are currently in talks with another secondary/sixthform in Leeds about the possibility of running an after school club with the potential to take it further if it really catches on. So as you can see it has been exciting times at SDLHq!

Teaching StreetSalsa at Mount St Mary’s

We recently taught for two whole days in Mount St Mary’s Catholic School in the centre of Leeds and all I can say is wow. What an amazingly talented bunch of kids!

At first as can be expected with dance they were all a bit nervous but by the end of the sessions they were teaching each other, having dance offs, asking me for information on classes for kids and even dancing in the hallways and playground at breaks and lunchtimes! It got around school and in no time children from other classes were coming and asking if we could come and teach for their class. It was such an amazing few days seeing such talented dancers, many who never thought they could dance before! The best example of this was a boy (13) who came in upset because he ‘couldn’t do dance’ and didn’t want to ‘touch a girl’ but by the end was running round dancing with everyone and showing off!

We can’t wait to go back. Anyway here’s a comments from the pupils and the teachers…

Few of the pupils responses – “I think everyone should do salsa!”, “Turning girls is better than I thought :)”, “Loved it can they come again please.”, “Where else can I dance Salsa?”.

Teachers view -
“Salsa Dance Leeds came into Mount St Mary’s over two days in March, and successfully tamed some 180 Year 8 pupils into not only dancing in front of each other, but learning a new style of dance, and even dancing with the opposite sex! The instructors were vibrant and passionate about StreetSalsa, and their energy rubbed off on the children (and staff!) who took part in their classes. Ranging from the children who had never danced before to those who thrived in the dance-offs with their slick moves, there was an up-beat buzz all over school throughout our Languages Days and after. It was a great way to see our pupils in a completely new light and displaying so much unforeseen talent. A massive thank you to Salsa Dance Leeds for their enthusiasm, energy, and contagious dance moves!” – Miss Conroy

**Future write ups will be added once we have been in to the schools.

*** If you know of a school or are a member of a school who would be interested in StreetSalsa in Schools then please email me at james@salsadanceleeds.co.uk or go to our contact page. ***

About James

James is one of the co-founders and teachers at Salsa Dance Leeds. He regularly writes for the SDL blog, across a selection of salsa topics. Find James on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

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