New SAB dance series spices up campus tonight with salsa lessons

By Megan Buchanan

If life is getting too bland, UK’s student activities board has just the right spice to make life a little saucier.

Tonight and for the next two Tuesdays, students can wrap their legs around their favorite or most enthusiastic comrade while taking free salsa lessons at Barker Hall dance studio between 8:30 and 9:30.

“I was just trying to think of something different for students to be involved in,” said Callie Hanks, a sophomore arts administration major who is the director of the cultural arts committee for SAB.

The salsa lessons are the first of many different styles of ballroom dancing that will be provided this fall by SAB.

“It’s just something fun to do on campus that’s free and short term,” Hanks said.

Because the class has no stipulations, students are free to come and go as they want and may attend as many or as few classes as they choose.

SAB will be borrowing HepKats’ instructors, Mike and Mary Richardson, to teach the salsa lessons.

Mike Richardson, a UK pharmacy faculty member, and his wife, Mary, have been dancing for five years and started the HepKats Swing Dance Club.

For their salsa lessons the Richardsons will be fusing informal dances rooted in the Caribbean with strong African influences to give students an outlet to learn both the music and dance.

“Salsa is vibrant and energetic because the music is good,” Mike Richardson said.

Salsa is typically a dance involving partners, but some solo steps can be learned.

“It’s not as much about learning the steps as it is learning to lead and follow,” Mike Richardson said.

Mike Richardson and Hanks agreed that bringing a partner, whether it’s a friend or significant other, is ideal but not necessary. To ensure there would be enough partners, Hanks asked other SAB members to attend.

“If I have to dance backwards like a guy, I will because we won’t want to turn anyone away,” Hanks said.

Mike Richardson hopes that students will attend the lessons so he can share his passion for the dance with others.

“The classes are designed to give a taste for the dance,” Mike Richardson said.

SAB will continue this series of dancing in October with swing dance lessons. The swing will also be done in a three-week session on campus on Tuesdays.

Hanks hopes for a large student turnout for these fall activities.

“Just having these lessons on campus is making it more accessible to students,” said Hanks.