Let’s have a conversation…
I had the pleasure of having a discussion with some friends of mine, and get their take on Latin dance.
Latin dance has been a big part of my life since my teenage years. It all started with my cousin, Alisa’s, sweet sixteen, where I first learned bachata, salsa, and merengue. Since then, I’ve been a part of three sweet sixteens, and joined a Latin dance team at my high school, West Catholic High School, now West Catholic Prep.
Michael and I go way back, working for the same nonprofit organization for many years. Michael has been part of Latin dance teams for years.
I met Segen just before I started high school. She and I met at my cousin’s sweet sixteen. We had dance practice every week, and sometimes multiple times a week.
And Ashley was actually my dance partner for our high school Latin dance team. We danced at events at the school and events for different venues throughout Philadelphia.
You can checkout our conversation here:
Rad: Can you tell us a little about yourself? Who you are, where you’re from, what you’re currently working on and/or doing for a living?
Ashley: My name is Ashley Thompson. I’m from the greater Philadelphia area. I currently work as a Children’s Therapist for a therapeutic after school program.
Michael: Hi my name is Michael and I am 33 yrs of age born and raised in Philly due to the pandemic I am not working at the moment but I work mostly in customer service.
Segen: I’m Segen Gebremariam (32). An Eritrean woman born and bred in Philadelphia. I currently live in Atlanta, GA working as an actress.
Rad: What are some of your favorite Latin dances?
Segen: My favorite Latin dance is Salsa. Bachata is a close second.
Ashley: My favorite Latin dances are salsa and bachata.
Rad: What’s your thoughts on Latin music? The beats? The rhythms? The instruments?
Ashley: I enjoy listening to Latin music. I like the rhythm and the way the instruments play off of each other.
Segen: Latin music evolves the same way hip hop does, but one thing I love about Latin music, is that it will always give you a rhythm you can dance to, slow or fast.
Michael: I love all things Latin: radio, music, etc. I grew up in the heart of the Latino community in Philly so I know firsthand what is to be Latin even though I’m not Latin lol but I consider myself a honorary Latino
Rad: What’s your experience with Latin music & dance? What did you enjoy about it?
Michael: I currently dance for Muevete Dance Company here in Philly. Been dancing salsa since 2007 when I took classes and fell in love. It’s all I want to do most days but just the music itself is so fun to listen to and bust a move.
Segen: My first experience dancing to latin music was back in high school when my friend asked me to join her in her Quinceañera celebration. I thought it would be easy for me since I used to pick up choreography fairly quickly but… I was wrong. It wasn’t the choreography that I had an issue with. It was getting into the right groove and submitting to my partner that I struggled with. It was a hard lesson but once I truly released that control, I was able to really get into and feel the music. In life, I find myself relinquishing a little control to make room for something more beautiful.
Rad: Is there a fondest memory you have?
Michael: My favorite memory will always be dancing in the parade every year because that is a time of celebration of all things Latin and it’s such a fun time
Ashley: My favorite memories with latin music and dance come from experiences on the latin dance team in high school. That was my first real exposure to latin music and dancing. I learned a lot and found a new form of dance that I would continue to enjoy.
It was great catching up with Ashley, Segen, and Michael.
Segen and I are forever bonded through the rigorous dance practices we endured for my cousin’s sweet sixteen.
The dance team Ashley and I were a part of was started by my cousin, Alisa. As one of the very few Latinos in the school, she had attempted to get the team started for two years before I started my freshman year. With a group of friends, we started the Latin dance team and had a great time.
Michael had taught Latin dances to a number of students we mentored through the nonprofit we worked at. Michael will forever be an advocate of Latin dance.
What’s your experience? What are your thoughts on Latin dance? Join the conversation with us here at Noire Life Media. Fill the comments with your thoughts on this subject. What’s your fondest memory dancing Latin dances?