BOB

I have been dancing Salsa since 1999, but had no previous experience of any form of Dance at all. It took me a long time to get comfortable with Salsa but, having done so, I became totally addicted. Now, if I visit a different town, I always look up Salsa venues before I travel!

My interest in teaching began by chance, assisting other teachers on occasions. Then, I found myself in Granada , Spain on a Salsa holiday. As the regular teacher was unavailable, I was asked to teach Beginners for a week. I found it a very rewarding experience, and since then, I have tried to learn as much as possible about the music, the culture, as well as the dance, from the very best teachers around. This has taken me to Spain many times, and to Cuba , to Congresses, workshops and to many clubs.

Eventually, with Julia, we decided to start our own club, Salsa- Asi! We have grown, and now we have regular weekly Club nights, plus various other events. Also, we are proud to be invited to guest-teach at other venues from time to time.We have also been involved in a number of projects within the community (schools; cultural activities; etc) and which, as we are both local to the Canterbury/Whitstable/Herne Bay area, is very satisfying.

I have found something truly wonderful in Salsa, with the dance, the excitement and complexity of the music, the fantastic friends and characters from all over the world, and the sheer enjoyment of the whole scene. I have been very fortunate to have had the benefit of some superb teaching and inspiration. There are too far too many to mention all, but I would like to acknowledge my particular indebtedness to the following:- that most lovely person and dancer Susana Montero; to Supermario (MillionMovesMan); (Mambo) Marchant Birch; Julian ‘The Duke' ; and to our local inspirations Leon Williams, and Simon Green, having taken my first steps with the Cuban Maestro Nelson Batista'

Also, musically, to Julian ‘The Duke' and Luis Libres (Mr Bongo Salsa), for their patience in introducing me to and educating me in this very special music. I owe a huge debt to them all.

I take enormous pride in my teaching, I aim to teach basic technique as thoroughly as possible at all levels, to make routines ‘leadable and danceable', and to make lessons fun. I get great pleasure in seeing nervous beginners become confident dancers.

The word ‘Salsa' means ‘Sauce' in Spanish. Add your own ingredients on the dance floor. Don't be shy, be yourself, you are unique. My attitude to salsa is very simple :- Be fun to dance with, maybe a little cheeky, but always respectful; make sure it is a pleasure for your partner; dance to your partner's level (i.e. do not try clever moves with someone less practised); always encourage those you meet and/or dance with and never criticise ; be patient (remember we are all beginners once); lose your inhibitions and express yourself, in your own way, to the music; listen to the music and be ‘on beat'; learn moves by all means, but ‘feel' the music and dance in time and rhythm with it; RELAX; HAVE FUN; AND KEEP SMILING! (people will wonder what you have been up to!)

JULIA

I began Ballroom dancing in 1997, and having attained Bronze, Silver and Gold medals, found myself in need of a fresh challenge. In 2001, I first discovered the Salsa experience, and I was hooked! I said goodbye to Ballroom and my faithful Ballroom dance partner, and went it alone into the Salsa scene.

Having had years of experience as a ballroom dancer, I found I could quickly pick up the steps of Salsa. I also found that it did not matter what life threw at me that week or even that day, the sound of the Salsa music is an instant fix for me – I am on a ‘high' as soon as I start dancing.

For me, nothing beats dancing Salsa. You can go alone or with friends, it doesn't matter. It is the most sociable life I have known. Being quite a shy and quiet person by nature (people laugh when I say this!), Salsa brings me, and everyone who enjoys dance, to life.

I get the most enormous satisfaction from teaching Salsa and helping people understand and progress through levels. Bob and I set up our first Salsa club in 2003 with a weekly class for the community in Herne Bay .

Now, Salsa-Asi, has grown, we teach weekly, and we are often invited to teach at other clubs, and events. I now try to convert everyone I meet to become a Salsero(a), because I want everyone to share the most fantastic form of leisure activity – ‘SALSA'!

KEITH

I started to dance Salsa at the end of 2002. I very soon began to dance 2 or 3 times a week, as I enjoyed it so much. I have made many new friends since I started. I attend several weekend events a year, and I would recommend weekenders to anyone who loves Salsa, as the classes are usually fantastic, and they are always very social events.

In 2005, I began teaching for Salsa-Asi ! I really enjoy teaching, and get great pleasure from seeing people improving. I still try to do other classes every week, however, as you never stop learning, the more you do the better you get, and the more fun there is!

MARIA

I began dancing Salsa in late 2002, and started after seeing a class advertised at a local school. From my very first lesson I really enjoyed Salsa, and in fact when I am dancing, I am always smiling or laughing.

Salsa is very sociable, and I have made many friends. In fact, it is like one big family at times – everyone is so friendly. And you never know – you may meet that right person….! I am now teaching, which I really enjoy, and it is just so lovely to see peoples' enjoyment as they learn to dance. Salsa is now a BIG part of my life: from the fun I get dancing and from all the friends I have gained – many for life, I hope!!

SIMON FRANKS

Hiya! I'm Simon. I was dragged along, kicking and screaming, to a Salsa class in March 2003. I was a firm believer that ‘Real men don't dance', and was hoping to sneak away after a week, or two at the most! But I amazed myself by starting to really enjoy it, although it took me quite a while to master the basics, as some ladies bruised toes will testify!

Not being someone to give in easily, I persevered and became firmly smitten by the Salsa bug.

Now, it has totally taken over my social calendar, I go to loads of wicked events, and meet many great people, some becoming close friends, along the way. Classes are always friendly and fun, and with learning more all the time, my interest never dies.

I really enjoy seeing other new faces starting down the same path I took not so long ago, and helping them to improve and enjoy themselves, in the hope that they get as much from Salsa as I do.

SIMON GREEN

I’m the 2nd Simon on Bob and Julia’s team.

I first encountered Salsa at Ronnie Scott’s in 1994. As an athlete and lover of Latin Jazz, the combination of raw energy and elegance made me feel as if I had ‘come home’.

I set off in pursuit of tutelage-not easy in those days o as Salsa was danced almost exclusively by Latinos at that time in England.

I finally discovered a wonderful Columbian dancer who was teaching under the Salsa Fusion banner at the London School of Contemporary Dance in Euston. I was a ballroom Latin student at the time, and twice a week, on Saturday afternoons and Thursday evenings for 3 years I would travel up to ‘sit at the feet of the Master’, and learn learn learn. In 1997 I began to attend Elder Sanchez’s classes, and rather like Bob, was railroaded into taking a beginners class for him when a teacher fell ill.

In 1998 I began teaching weekly for Salsa Republic at High rocks in Tunbridge Wells which I still do to this day. From 2001-2006 I taught for Salsa South East, and guested for Salsamagic. More recently I have taught for Sarah Davis in Sidcup, and Bob and Julia’s Salsa-Asi, and a course for the Adult Education.

My greatest inspirations in Salsa Dance are Julio Martinez, and Luiz Vazquez of Salsa Brava, from whom I first learned the cross body concept in 2000. He demonstrated that it is possible to be a quite outstanding dancer and to treat those you teach as respected human beings as well.

My aim is twofold: to pass on a technical precision to the students in my care that will allow them to express themselves freely in dance as a result of disciplined coaching and practise. And to instil a sense of authenticity between the music heard by the student and the resultant movement expressed by the dancer.

I consider working with the Salsa-Asi team to be a true privilege and honour, because of their essential decency and friendliness as people, their enthusiasm for dance as a form of human communication, and their love of the music of their art.

COLLEEN

Several years ago a friend asked me to come to a salsa class in Canterbury. I had never heard of salsa before, and didn’t know what it was, but agreed to go anyway. Once I was there, that was it! I enjoyed myself so much that I just couldn’t keep away.

Over time, my dancing improved and I met the most wonderful people whom I consider to be some of the best friends I have ever had or will ever have. I find dancing to be good for both the body and mind, because as well as keeping me fit, it also relaxes and "washes away" the stresses of the day.

When Bob asked me to teach for Salsa-Asi!, I felt truly honoured and I absolutely love doing it. It feels so great to teach a class and then see people walk away with big smiles from having such a good time, and then practice what they have learned. I have found that teaching not only instructs others how to dance, but it also improves my own dancing, as it really makes me think about what I am doing.

I dance whenever I can, and with my husband Matt, (whom I met at Salsa-Asi! ) I also teach La Rueda classes on a regular basis, which is somewhat different from the Crossbody style the Club specialises in.

I have since learnt other types of Latin and Ballroom dancing, but for me nothing beats the fun and excitement of dancing salsa, and of course the music is wonderful. I wouldn’t be without it, and I thank Julia and Bob for having brought it into my life.

MATT

I started dancing in the summer of 2007 when persuaded by a friend to give it a go, and loved dancing from day one.

Everybody was really friendly and helpful, so much so that I was soon dancing 3 or 4 times a week!

Now, I am teaching salsa, and still loving it as much as on the day I started.

If you are thinking of trying salsa, don’t hesitate! Just do it, because otherwise you don’t know what you are missing out on!