Last Thursday evening, Erasmus Dance Society held a Salsa Try-Out session in the sports building on Campus Woudestein. This was attended by dozens of enthusiasts who got the chance to really move their hips for a whole hour during a swinging introductory lesson.

Dance coach Marciano Raiman calls out: “Mambo, rumba, cumbia!” as if his new students have been doing salsa dancing for years. He enthusiastically demonstrates those familiar first steps for the students. “Salsa means enjoyment and passion, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to get across to them,” Marciano tells us in the dance hall, which is a bit overcrowded.

Salsa dansen Erasmus Dancing Society groep
Marciano Raiman geeft tekst en uitleg. Image credit: Jack Parker


Some students look around them a bit doubtfully and start moving out of step after only a few seconds. “Look at your partner, not at your feet!” Marciano advises them. But other people obviously have a better sense of rhythm and effortlessly pick up the new dance steps.

It soon becomes clear why salsa is famous for being a sensual dance. The new dance students show off their paces in pairs. “Ladies, let the gentlemen take the lead!” Marciano calls out. But not everyone follows this advice and a lot of couples tramp clumsily across the dance floor as a result.

Salsa dansen Erasmus Dancing Society groep
De blijdschap bij de deelnemers spat er vanaf. Image credit: Jack Parker

Happy smiles

The vibrant, dynamic music soon gets rid of the rather awkward atmosphere. Students start smiling happily through the beads of sweat as their self-confidence increases. “It was a bit difficult for me to keep looking my dance partner in the eyes at first,” confides Sarah Fu (19, Fiscal Economics student), “but I soon got used to it!”

But it definitely wasn’t an easy lesson, says Steffi Montfrooij (19, student at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences). “It was pretty hard dancing with a partner. We often had to change partners too, and everyone dances differently.” Leo Sizaret (RSM student) agrees with Steffi. “You have to know and understand each other if you want to coordinate your steps,” he says. “And that’s the difficult part.”


If you’d like to learn salsa dancing, you can enrol at EDS till Friday 3 February. Besides salsa dancing, EDS also arranges lessons in ballroom dancing, kizomba and hip hop.