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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
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Students showcase salsa moves

By Carlos Mayorga

Ryan Dark had little time to be nervous to perform in front of the hometown crowd Saturday night.

Dark, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering and physics, started dancing salsa early last year with the U salsa club. Now, he teamed up with a skilled salsa dance group set to lead off a show featuring professional salsa dance teams from all over the country.

After more than a month of daily preparation, Dark and five other members of the Drugaya Forma professional salsa dance group put on their black and gold sequined uniforms to start off the show to the classical salsa ballad “Baila Que Baila.”

Drugaya Forma, which means “different/unique form” in Russian, is a local professional salsa dance group composed of current U students and alumni.

More than 800 people attended the event Saturday night at club Studio 600 in Salt Lake City. The show, which featured professional dance teams from Canada, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Utah, was the finale of the third annual Utah Salsa Congress. About 2,000 people saw the three-day event over the weekend.

Salsa congresses are held all over the nation, but having one in Salt Lake City was good for Utah’s image in the national salsa community, said Maria Ivanova, co-founder of Drugaya Forma and the U salsa club.

“If there is a congress in Utah, that’s the biggest expression of the interest people have for salsa music here,” she said.

Jessica Goodman, a first year medical student, also performed with Drugaya Forma on Saturday night. Goodman, who has been dancing with the U salsa club for more than two years, became passionate about salsa after taking a trip to Mexico.

“I was doing ballet before salsa, but ballet is really structured,” she said. “Salsa is all about establishing your own style. It’s sexy, free and fun.”

The U salsa club, members of which often team up with Drugaya Forma, was created two years ago and has taught a number of students about the art of salsa dancing.

Dark, who was previously on a ballroom dance team, joined the club early last year as an amateur.

“I wanted to get another perspective on dance,” Dark said. “Now, I get more out of salsa dancing.”

While other forms of dance are more regimented, salsa is all about doing “whatever feels and looks good,” he said.

The U salsa club teaches free salsa lessons to beginners every Monday night in the Heritage Center at 7 p.m.

“Go try it out,” Dark said. “You might feel you have two left feet, but everyone is there to help and you will have fun.”

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