Dancers chase away frigid temps by learning Latin rhythms

By Kitty LeShay - ReminderNews
Ashford - posted Wed., Jan. 29, 2014
Dance instructor Joe Moses demonstrates steps with Jen Recchia at the Babcock Library dance program. Photos by Kitty LeShay.
Dance instructor Joe Moses demonstrates steps with Jen Recchia at the Babcock Library dance program. Photos by Kitty LeShay.

Ashford’s Knowlton Hall was as close as the dancers would get to Havana or Buenos Aires, but things were heating up as they let Joe Moses lead them through the dance steps of the Rumba, Salsa and Tango during a Jan. 24 program sponsored by the Babcock Library.

Moses teaches dancing at the Waterford Ballroom and has been an instructor with Arthur Murray since 2008, when he was 19 years old. “I signed up for three lessons in ballroom dancing and the owner of the studio asked if I would like to teach. I went through a training class and have been teaching since,” Moses said. The Rumba, Fox Trot, Waltz, Tango, Salsa and Meringue are all part of his repertoire. “The Meringue is a party dance, a Carnival dance. It’s upbeat and something most people can enjoy without too much effort,” he said.

At Knowlton Hall, Moses introduced the basic steps and movements by encouraging repetition. First he started with the movement of the feet in the dance, then to the rhythm and finally to the movement of the hips. He had his dancers switch partners, giving the participants an opportunity to meet new people and to experience a new dance partner.

The Rumba, Salsa and Tango all originated in Latin America, but have been adopted, modified and enjoyed by people in countries all over the world. In the United States, most of these dances are enjoyed in a ballroom environment.

Stephen Donnell was learning dances completely new to him. “I like to dance, and it is in an unstructured way. These dances are very structured. I’m learning something new,” he said.

Maggie Almquist comes to library programs frequently. “We saw the sign outside and decided to try it. I usually take advantage of the kids’ programs,” she said.

Coming up on Feb. 14 is a program presented by Craig Hotchkiss, the education program director of the Mark Twain House, called “Baseball as Mark Twain Knew It.” His presentation will explore the best and worst traits of our national character through an exploration of our national pastime.

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