Grooving to the likes of Camila Cabello, Luis Fonsi, and Cardi B, salsa is a Latin dance that we have been exposed to since the rise of Spanglish hit songs in pop culture. We have seen this latin dance in music videos and movies, but how many of us have watched it live? Singapore’s very own salsa school, JJSalsaRengue, brought this Afro-Cuban dance closer to Singaporeans at their performances on Saturday, 23 March at The Pavilion at Far East Square.
These sultry Salsa dancers wore the brightest smiles, their beauty accentuated by bold makeup and heels. All of them donned their flashiest costumes — bright splashes of blue, red and black created a vibrancy that heavily contrasted with the typical Singaporean crowd— dull ordinary attire worn by students and parents alike. The subdued atmosphere in the auditorium transformed into loud cheers and applause as the emcee spurred the audience to give their biggest encouragement for the dancers. And with that, the show began.
With their heartfelt wishes from the emcee, performers from JJSalsa, SMU Caderas Latinas and NTU’s very own Salsa En Sync were introduced to the audience and took turns to own the stage with their dazzling performances. While teams were separated by seniority and experience, their passion for this artform was a unifying force for all. “Don’t try this at home” was definitely an apt warning as the dancers thrilled with flips, turns and lifts, leaving the audience gasping audibly in awe.
All the performances left us on the edge of our seats as their moves instantly captivated all of us. Sure, salsa is a dance that physically only involves a couple, the lead and a follower. But do not be fooled; the couples’ chemistry is magnetising, and you, a third-party, will be equally entranced by their stunts. You will soon find yourself clapping and cheering alongside, so engrossed in the performance that your heart will start thumping like the pulsating tempo.
Salsa was not the only name of the game, as two high-energy Bachata performances by JJ Salsa brought the house down. Bachata, another social dance, originated from the Caribbean. It differs from salsa in that it does not typically involve complex turn patterns. The men’s and ladies’ teams presented strikingly fun and lively performances, replete with whoops of excitement which had all the performers cheering from the sides.
The show ended with a finale that welcomed all the salsa dancers back on stage again, with The Greatest Showman soundtrack blasting with cheers and applause from the audience.
Salsa may not be a mainstream form of dance in Singapore just yet, but it will definitely dance its way into our hearts sooner than we think. And JJSalsaRengue is here to pave the way.
Written by Amirah Yunos and Delia Chew