Salsa craze hits Carbondale

By Gus Bode

Local venues offer classes, more may follow lead

Factoid:For more information on the Salsa and Merengue class, contact Kathy Guilfoyle at the Recreation Center at 453-1272.

Salsa is not the normal booty-shakin’ dance style often seen in local clubs.

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It requires skill, rhythm and a good time, according to D.J. Struckman, manager of Carboz, 760 E. Grand Ave.

“It is a different style of dance that students can get into,” he said.

Often characterized by Cuban big-band melodies with elements of jazz and rock, salsa dancing, which originated in Latin America, has gained increasing popularity throughout the Carbondale area.

“The music is becoming more and more popular, the styles are fusing, and Latin everything is in style, so naturally, people are drawn to it,” said Georgia Eden, who teaches a Wednesday night salsa and merengue class in the Recreation Center.

Eden said she has noticed the dance style’s increasing popularity among community members, not just students. Her class averages between 30 and 40 people each week, and she expects more in upcoming semesters.

“It seems like more people in the town are getting into alternative stuff,” she said. “Salsa provides a great opportunity for people who just want to dance.”

Stix, 517 S. Illinois Ave., has offered a salsa night every Tuesday for the past three years. Manager Beth Ward said Stix draws a large crowd Tuesdays for the Latin dance featuring music completely in Spanish.

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“It provides a change of atmosphere for both the bar and its patrons,” she said.

Carboz has offered a salsa night in the past, but a general decline in interest last year caused it to close down.

Struckman said salsa night was becoming increasingly popular when attendance dropped off. However, he said Carboz is trying to bring back salsa night.

“A lot of kids want to get into it,” he said. “We want to give them a place to do it on a real dance floor with the lights and everything.”

Eden said the only thing students need to salsa dance is a place to dance.

“There’s no alcohol involved,” she said. “It’s for people who just want to dance.”

Reporter Katie A. Davis can be reached at [email protected]

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