Heels click, arms twirl and hips swing.
Every Thursday night, Salsa Chocolate, a lively latin dance club located on Provo’s Center St., offers students a chance to let loose, relax and take a break from their busy schedules.
Miriam Housley, a BYU student from Pleasant Grove, has been dancing at Salsa Chocolate regularly for almost two years and has a new experience every time she goes.
“The first time I went there, I fell in love with it,” Housley said. “You dance with new people every time and it’s good practice. Everybody has moves that they do more than others, so you find out new things every time you dance. You get to hang out with other people who become your family; you become super close.”
Housley, who is majoring in pre-illustration, also takes dance classes at BYU and loves the opportunity she gets at Salsa Chocolate to improve and learn new skills.
“Salsa is my favorite because it’s fast and you can create your own flair,” she said. “It’s a very expressive dance.”
Alfonso Nuñez, a dance instructor at Salsa, is enthusiastic about teaching dances like salsa and bachata to newcomers.
“We want to see more faces coming in,” Nuñez said. “We try to encourage as many people as possible to either come from 9 to 10 (p.m.) if they just want to have a little exposure to it, or come and take lessons before. That way, we can build the salsa community here in Provo.”
Nuñez said he is glad that people keep coming back to Salsa Chocolate each week.
“Usually, if they come once, they’re going to come next time and then after that they become regular customers,” he said. “They really like it. They think it’s real social.”
Every eight weeks, the instructors switch off between teaching salsa and the bachata, so students and community members have a chance to develop basic dance skills of one Latin dance before learning another.
Kenny Adams, a native of Spokane, Wash., majoring in Russian, went salsa dancing for the first time this semester.
“It was good to have a consistent type of music where you could focus on one dance,” Adams said. “It was just a good, comfortable environment to go dancing at and not feel like everyone’s watching you, and you can just have a lot of fun.”