MTSU hosts Salsa Under the Stars to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Photos and Story by Sergio Pacheco/Contributing Writer

On Tuesday, September 24, the Intercultural and Diversity Affairs department and  Recreation Center co-hosted the third annual Salsa Under the Stars event. It was held in front of the Health Wellness and Recreation Center building, where a crowd of students joined Professors Paco and Angela Ramos to learn how to dance salsa. 

The event welcomed experienced and inexperienced students, faculty and community members. The first lesson taught was the forward and back basic. Both individuals start in a neutral position with both feet together. One of the partners takes a step forward with their left foot, slightly lifting their right heel off of the floor, then places complete weight back on right heel and returns their left foot back to the neutral starting position. Next, from the starting position the individual takes a step back with their right foot, slightly lifts weight off of their left heel, places complete weight back on the right heel, and returns their right foot back to the neutral starting position. The lesson was repeated multiple times among students without music until they managed to get the hang of it.

Paco cued Daniel Green, director of the Intercultural and Diversity Affairs department, to play some salsa music and challenged everyone to try to dance to the beat of the song. Everyone was able to try out the basic lesson, but those who were more experienced swayed their hips when taking steps front and back.

Another lesson was the side to side basic. It starts off with one of the partner’s right hands on the mid-back of the other person, while the left hand is interlocked with the other person’s hand. Both feet start side by side then they both take a step to the side with their left foot, bring it back to the starting position, and the same is done with the right foot. This was yet another easy move for everyone to learn with or without music.

Paco and Angela later taught students some salsa spins and turns.

“I don’t dance a lot, but it’s always good to learn something new, which I am,” said Roger Martinez, a mechatronics student at MTSU. When it came to spins and turns, there were many students who had trouble, so both instructors went around demonstrating to each student step by step.

“I managed to learn a cool spin move and now I can’t wait to go try it out when I go dancing with my friends,” said Estefany Quezada, also a mechatronics student at MTSU.

This was the second event held during Hispanic Heritage Month at MTSU.  The event mainly focused on learning the basic steps to dancing salsa, but toward the end – and with some time left –  both instructors showed everyone some basic merengue dance moves to wrap up the event.

The weather was perfect to learn how to dance salsa. Crowd of students from different ethnic backgrounds and majors gathered in front of the health Wellness and Recreation Center in hopes of learning something new and meeting new people in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 (MTSU Sidelines / Sergio Pacheco)
Roger Martinez came with a group of friends, but before he could go look for a partner, he was pulled to the side to dance with a new friend in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 (MTSU Sidelines / Sergio Pacheco)
Paco and Angela Ramos, both professors at MTSU, have been teaching students, faculty, and community members how to dance salsa, and other dances, since the first Salsa Under the Stars event in 2017. They take their time to explain every movement in each dance lessons they teach in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019 (MTSU Sidelines / Sergio Pacheco)


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