841 views | Zeenat Sambo | May 5, 2021
The sight of Siam City Garden every Friday night makes it feels like the city of Abuja is awake till dawn. Rows of cars, luxuriant lightning and happy folks of all ages in their salsa shoes step in to dance in their happy spot once again. Be it Salsa, Kizomba, Bachata, sensual bachta or Merengue you never can believe the healing effect of Salsa dance till you make a move. I observe with amazement as this dance seems to own people of all ages and works of life, and that’s impressive to me.
Salsa is a Cuban dance, believed to have originated from some traditional African dances which are Yoruba, Kongo-Angolan, Arara and Carabali. It is interesting that salsadance also evolved from the Yoruba people of western Nigeria during slave-trade upon their arrival in Cuba between 1820-1860. The drum beats of the Bata and other local drums of the Yorubas, entertained their slave masters so much, that their melodious songs and dances were culturally appropriated for entertainment purposes. Ironically, their rich cultural dances have become celebrated worldwide without due credit give to its original sources.
Salsa dance has numerous dance styles but all are separate in identity and practice. kizomba, bachata, cha cha, merengue or Salsa are best known by Salsa dancers but are all regarded as Salsa. It is an aesthetic art that is graceful, captivating, fast, with swift smooth movements yet gentle and a dance style that is indescribable. What makes Salsa different from other dance is its appealing style and sultry moves that can be performed solo or with a partner. Not only does it make both parties happy but dancing itself helps the body to release happy hormonesto lift a person’s morale and gives a good reason to smile.
People dance for various reasons, one important aspect is to exercise and burn calories. There is the little known fact that Salsa, as a dance has helped many to overcome depression. Emeka Adindu popularly known as (Emeka salsa) who is the organizer of Salsa at Siam city garden in Abuja shared how salsa has helped many people to overcome their depression and how it saved him during his difficult time. Salsa community is located in Uyo, Lagos, Calabar, Jos and Abuja in Nigeria. According to him, salsa community international is a family that always looks out for its members irrespective of their geographical locations and are ready to render assistance.
He added that “I have coached many people and they were able to break through their difficulties. Not all members are professionals so we are always ready to reach. Also, Salsa as a form of exercise in treating depression is essential because as it’s said dancing helps to regulate brain chemistry through the emotional state of the physical and mental movements and thoughts”.
Salsa as a therapy helps toimprove the overall mental and physical well-being. It is advisable to people of all age group because it helps them to connect with theirAfrican roots through afro beats, boost their self-esteem and helps to build trust between partners. Willingness and joy to partake in the vigorous routines gives physical confidence, relieves tension and improves aerobic movement because over time the body’s flexibility comes in play. It might seem like just a dance but it requires focus to recall steps and snap you out of your worries to get it right.
An active member of the community Victoria Inyang who is also a lawyer by profession says she sees salsa as an anti-depressant and isamazed at how it has helped her heal during her trying times. “when you dance you have a lot of happy hormones that makes you feel delighted about yourself and improve your state of mind. Salsa is my happy place and if I meet a man that says I should stop dancing Salsa then I rather let go off the relationship. It makes me learn something new, connect with my body and feel beautiful. Everybody should dance Salsa, not only is it fun but its healing effect is remarkable”.
Ciara-Amora another Salsa lover says “it is a connection between the body and soul. “You never know when you let go all bothering issues and just feel free as your legs and body tangle to the dance. When I started I thought it would be my once in a while thing, but I graduallylonged for every Friday eveningsto unwind the every chaotic weekon the Salsa dance floors j.For those with a redundant life style, get your dancing shoes ready, because I just got mine, let’s sweat it out in a more fun way”.
Another view was expressed by a diplomat who wished to remain anonymous “I sweat more when I dance salsa than when I run on the treadmill, my whole body is in exercise and I see no better aerobics, I feel happy and it helps reduce my blood pressure”. This is my relaxing point and there is no doubt I will be loving it for a very long time since it for all ages”.
Abuja city is known for its night social gatherings like parties, clubs and busy Suya joints. For salsa lovers it is a stupendous moment to sway in their shoes again. Anyone that has ever tried this therapeutic exotic dance will know the relief that comes with it and a specialty like Salsa feels like an achievement that its followers are proud of. The mood amongst its community members is enough to feel their dance aural and from their moves on the dance floor you could hear them all yelling loud “COMMON ABUJA, LETS SALSA”.