MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
The depot Field House is known to host countless friendly competitions between depot personnel throughout the week; filling the building with the smell of ferocity and the sound of man attempting to impose his will over others.
However, it is a little-known secret that on those same floor boards where basketball shoes constantly grip for traction every day, dancing shoes attempt to cut a non-existent rug on Wednesday evenings.
Petty Officer 1st class Joshua Hilliard and Alma Mercado instructed 14 depot personnel on beginner’s salsa dancing in the Field House, April 14.
The classes are offered for free every Wednesday from 1900 to 2000
“Salsa dancing is a fusion of jazz and Caribbean Afro-Cuban (and originated in) New York, although it can be found in clubs all around the world,” said Hilliard, a sailor with 4th Medical Battalion, Miramar, Calif. “The style of salsa I teach here is L.A. style, which is used more at clubs and tends to be the style used in other countries like Japan, India and South Africa.”
Los Angeles-style salsa dancing is a combination of salsa and swing dancing, so it can become pretty acrobatic at the more advanced levels, Hilliard pointed out.
“We currently are teaching only beginners of salsa and because it is done in a group setting, there is less pressure for the dancers to get called out,” said Hilliard, who has six years of dancing experience. “We have a year-long contract and are getting more people interested which might allow us to start an intermediate class as well.”
Attendees say they have noticed improvements in their dancing skills since they began attending in March.
“We are more flexible now and can coordinate with the music much better than before when neither of us could really get it,” said Terresita and Peter Diaz. “We both really enjoy it; it’s our sixth time here and we plan on coming back next week."
Hilliard said there are plenty of reasons people should try out this class.
“It is a very popular dance that people can use in clubs almost anywhere they go,” said Hilliard. “Really, all I am trying to do is promote salsa and help people have fun; so I say they should come on in with an open mind, because it’s free so there isn’t anything to lose.”
For more information on the classes provided by the fitness center, visit www.mccsmcrd.com or call (619) 524-4427.