taste of Salsa

Shawntaye Hopkins

Two friends. Two cultures. One dance.


Lexington junior Bethany McGuffey recognized there are fewer resident assistants from other countries this semester. She wanted to make certain students could still attend dorm programs that focused on different cultures.

Salsa dancing is common for Ines Salvador, a graduate student from Ecuador.

The two women met and became friends over the summer.

They ended up on the same beat during salsa dancing with about 40 other students last night on the 27th floor of Pearce-Ford Tower.

McGuffey, an RA in PFT, said her goal at the beginning of the semester to have a program every month focusing on a different culture.

“The classroom is not just behind four walls,” she said.

Because there are so many students from Latino countries, McGuffey decided to have a program that involved the one thing all the countries had in common.


McGuffey asked Salvador to help instruct.

Salvador said she was 8 years old when her father turned on some salsa music in their living room and tried to teach her how to dance.

“You grew up learning salsa,” she said.

Like many children her age, Salvador huffed and puffed.

As she got older, the music grew with her.

At last night’s dance party, Salvador became the teacher.

“Everything is four steps,” she said to a student struggling to get the steps. “You have to feel it, and you have to shake your hips.”

Most of the students who attended the party were beginning salsa dancers. Salvador, who is a member of the Latin American Student Association, had several of her friends in the group help her.

One of them was Nadia De Leon, a freshman from Argentina.

“For some people it’s very easy,” she said. “For some people it’s very hard. We grew up listening to the music all the time, and we grew up watching our parents.”

The instructors started slow. Showing every student the basic steps.

Then the pace started to get faster.

McGuffey and Salvador found something else they enjoyed to build their friendship.


Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]