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TECOM Training & Education Command

United States Marine Corps

Spice up your night with some Salsa

By Lance Cpl. Brian Kester | | September 17, 2004

They move to the rhythm, repeating a pattern of six steps danced over eight counts of music. The couples exhaust themselves with a fiery embrace, twisting in small movements accompanied by the sounds of Latin beats.

The dance is Salsa, and one distinct advantage of knowing how is that you can be as suave as Don Juan himself.

Staff Sgt. Jon Lee, Combat Visual Information Center photo chief, and Sgt. Antonio Soto, installation chief for Depot Telephone, have begun giving free Salsa lessons at the Depots Brig & Brew to spread the understanding and knowledge of the Latin Culture as well as enhance the Don Juan in you.

"We were stationed together in Okinawa, Japan," said Lee. "We did it in Okinawa and we are trying to bring the same concept back here. Trying to teach the Latin culture to the American populous is our main goal."
The two have invited just about everyone they know to come out to the Brig & Brew and experience a little Latin culture.
In Japan, Salsa is the biggest craze and they are trying to bring that excitement here, said Patsy Lee, Installation Personnel Administrative Center administrative clerk at the MCAS Beaufort.

"There is nothing around here for the Latin community to do as far as dancing or being able to hear Latin music," said Soto.

They see this as a positive alternative to driving an hour to Savannah or Charleston dancing all night and then driving back, said Lee, a 10-year amateur and professional dancer.

"Our main effort is to concentrate on Salsa [dancing], because Salsa is the most difficult," said Lee. "Once you have grasped the concept it is pretty much the foundation for every other style of dancing that there is."

We want to introduce some Latin culture to the populous, not only for Hispanic Heritage Month, which kicked off Sept. 15 and ends October 15, but we plan on it being a continuous thing, said Lee.

"At the same time we are just out to have fun and to spread the knowledge we know," he said. "We start classes at 8:00 p.m., and the party goes until it ends. We normally stop at 12 a.m., but we will go until the crowd dies down."

"I am trying to make them [the dancers] understand the basic steps," said Soto. "I want them to grasp the knowledge of why they move this way and why they move that way. Some people dance and sometimes they look good, but they don't know why they do what they are doing."

Soto said that learning the basics will make it easier for people to understand the complicated turns that come later.

"When you get to the advanced levels it will be easier for you to pick it up if you understand the basics," he said.

Soto has been seriously involved with the dance, knowing the turns and getting a little bit more advanced for about four years. He knew how to dance before, but it took him that long to actually get interested in Salsa, he said.
While Soto has been a serious student of Salsa, Lee has a little bit steeper of a background in dance.

With a vast amount of experience in dancing the amateur and professional ranks, Lee is also well qualified in the art and is able to disperse his knowledge to others.

His 10 years of experience does not just pertain to Salsa, but he has been involved with another Latin dance called Bachata.

"Latin Night consists of not only Salsa, but also Meringue and also Bachata, and also Reggaeton," he said. "This is all popular Hispanic music."
The club is open to people ages 18 and up and the lessons are open to all who wish to learn to Salsa. 

"It is all about having fun, it doesn't matter how you look," he said. "Not everybody is the perfect dancer."