Longhorn Salsa shakes up diverse world of UT clubs

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Max Wade, far right, and other students practice dance moves during the salsa club’s open house Sunday evening in the Union. The classes do not require previous dance experience and are open to both students and the community.

Photo Credit: Danielle Villasana | Daily Texan Staff

Waiting anxiously for his musical cue, dance instructor Dwip Banerjee clasps his salsa partner. In front of him stands a throng of people, all keen on learning the art of salsa. Banerjee exhales slowly, hoping his example will suffice for the many novices watching. The melody begins, and Banerjee quickly twists, following the groove. Several other couples behind him follow suit, creating a pattern for the audience to mimic.

Banerjee expects a good number of students today for the open house and welcome dance in the Union Ballroom.

“It’s not restrictive, [but is made up of] mostly students,” said Banerjee, a UT alumnus. “Engineering students, arts students, graduate students, we have all through the spectrum — thoroughly representative of the demographics of the university. We get all kinds of people. They come and enjoy this event.”

The Internet played a heavy role in recruiting members, as the group tries to use social media as frequently as possible. The Facebook group “Longhorn Salsa” contains all of the events, classes and other information. The organization is relatively new, having started only two years ago.

“I was one among the group of influential people that wanted to create a fun-loving, social salsa dance environment on campus and start classes to accomplish that,” Banerjee said. “Some students were talking about starting up a club and all wanted to do the same thing.”

The group was devised by Banerjee and other UT students.

“We created it from scratch,” Banerjee said. “There’s always a need for a good, fun, clean social event along with an exposure to diverse music and culture, going out places and meeting all kinds of other people. It’s an experience that everyone enjoys.”

Banerjee hopes to make Longhorn Salsa more active with a stronger performance component. His thoughts include interacting with other like-minded organizations and creating an elective UT dance course.

“We are looking to become an organization of excellence, to have fun while acquiring skills and learning new stuff,” Banerjee said.

Printed on Monday, August 29, 2011 as: Longhorn Salsa teaches students art of the dance.