[email protected] Aims to Spice Up Campus Dance Scene

Emma Dahl

First-year Gillian Friedman was a competitive salsa dancer in Seattle before she came to Whitman. Now she hopes to bring the spirit and energy of salsa dancing to campus through a newly formed salsa club, entitled [email protected], through which she plans to offer free salsa lessons.

Friedman explained that she organized the group in response to a lack of salsa dancing at Whitman.

“I noticed that … there wasn’t any kind of salsa community here, and I wanted to make that happen,” she said.

Friedman planned the club over winter break and got a table at the Spring Activities Fair, where she was surprised at the amount of interest Whitman students showed in joining the salsa club.

“There’s something really unique about Latin dancing in its ability to bring people together,” said Friedman. “It provides a means of communication between people that there’s really no opportunity for in everyday life, a closeness and an intimacy between people who don’t know each other really well.”

Friedman hopes to use the club as not only an introduction to salsa dancing, but to help people get to know each other and try something new. She also hopes to provide students with an alternative activity who don’t feel that drinking or going out to parties quite suit them.

“Salsa dancing is still a great way to go out and meet new people, but it’s a different form of self-expression … a different way of partying,” she said.

Friedman is offering five-week series of classes, with one class a week, every Thursday at 8:15 p.m. in Sherwood 114. The first series begins on Thursday, Feb. 7 and lasts five weeks until March 7 with more series to follow after Spring Break. Friedman will co-teach the classes with her dance partner Ian Gregoire, a local salsa dancer and teacher at Green Park Elementary. All the salsa classes are free. For more information, contact Gillian Friedman at [email protected] or find [email protected] on Facebook.