November 17, 2012
My friend is a very talented salsa dancer, probably due to the fact that both of her parents are dance instructors, and that she is Dominican. There are actually a surprising number of salsa clubs in Beijing, so this past Friday night I went with her and another friend to check one out. She assured me that it would be fun, despite my knowing only the most basic steps.
We got there early, around nine pm, and I was so surprised by the number of Chinese people that knew how to salsa! I started off just watching, mesmerized by the good dancers and amused by ones that thought they were good. The music alternated between a live Venezuelan band and a DJ, but as the night went on, the DJ played less and less salsa, and more other music. Or else some very interesting combinations! To begin with, we were the only foreigners in the place, but more foreigners started showing up as the night went on. The place went from being a rather serious salsa club to a salsa-hip hop club mix.
What's more, we met professional dancers from Cuba! My friend introduced herself to these two girls because she had hoped that they were Dominican. She found out that they were in China to perform, but weren't hired to come to this particular club, they had just heard about it and showed up. One of these girls and her partner had a crowd of people applauding them by the time they finished one dance.
At one point, there was even a dance competition onstage. The five girls that ended up onstage were the two Cubans, a Russian, a German, and a Chinese girl. It wasn't a very fair competition, because obviously the Cuban dancers won. But it represents what I love about Beijing. This city is such an exciting place to be right now, not only because one can experience Chinese culture, but you also get to meet people from all over the world. In one night I met people from Cuba, Ghana, Ethiopia, Russia, and then some born and raised in Beijing!
End result: My new life goal is to learn salsa!
Major / Minor: Chinese / Studio Art
Activities: Model UN, Student Assembly
Favorite pastimes: Glen runs (especially in the fall!), Diner B, splurging on way too many Cafe Opus cookies and chai tea lattes and intramural basketball, usually found at the gym or the art studio
Hometown: Prospect, Ky.
High School: Kentucky Country Day High School