Friday, February 25, 2005

Dance to beats of Latin rhythms

Express Staff Writer

There is nothing like watching Latin dancers, unless it's being able to do it yourself. It's like being Carmen Miranda, Charo and Rudi Valentino rolled into one. Hot-cha!

One of the region's most notable Latin dance teachers and performers returns to conduct a workshop today through Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Grange Hall in Hailey.

Olvis Ortega, otherwise know as "El Cubano," started dancing in Cuba when he was 4 years old. A well-known dancer and competitor in the Salt Lake City area, he teaches diverse styles of Salsa. Orgtega has won multiple Salsa titles and competitions, and was featured in Mark Anthony's "I Need To Know" video.

Today from 4 to 5 p.m. Ortega is offering a free class at the Wood River High School for students.

Tonight and through the remainder of the weekend, all classes are at the Grange Hall in Hailey. At 7:30 p.m. there is a Beginner Salsa class, followed at 8:30 p.m. with Beginner Cuban Cha-Cha-Cha. On Saturday, Intermediate Salsa is held at 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. followed at 1 p.m. with Intermediate Cha-Cha-Cha until 2:30 p.m. The Sunday classes are Salsa Flips and Dips at 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and Cha-Cha-Cha Turns and Breaks from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

The whole workshop costs $65, or $10 each for the Friday night classes and $15 each for Saturday and Sunday classes.

Salsa dancing is an amalgamation of several dance styles, including Mambo and Cha-cha. Salsa is similar to Mambo in that they both have a pattern of six steps danced over eight counts of music. Mambo moves generally forward and backward, while Salsa has more of a side to side feel. Also in Salsa, turns are an important feature.

Meanwhile, Cha-Cha-Cha is in the slow Mambo tempo. There was a distinct sound in the music that people began dancing to, calling the step the "Triple" Mambo.

For more information, call Pat Weaver at 788-4949.

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