Learning rhythms, beats, steps, and choreography isn’t just work for the Rockettes and Broadway stars, Western Wayne High School foreign language students have a yearly tradition of learning Spanish dancing as a part of their curriculum each fall.
Local dance instructor and studio owner Vince Brust works with the Western Wayne students to teach a variety of traditional Spanish dances such as tango, merengue, mambo, and salsa among others.
The students have a few weeks of sessions with Mr. Brust in the fall leading up to a performance for the community in early November.
Some of the students in the classes with Brust have been working with him for four years. Seniors Nicholas Gombita, Kendra Oliver, Samantha Scaduto, and Alyssa Iovacchini feel very excited to be working again on their dancing skills this school year.
“The experience helps to immerse us in both the culture of Spanish and dance,” Nick explained. “I have been learning more this year about how to count different music when I dance. Some dances are counted in threes and others in fours. Each dance is different.”
Another experienced dancer Kendra, who helped to choreograph one of the dances performed for the community last year in the annual Spanish dance performance, said she loves going to the classes each year to learn more and more.
“The salsa and cha-cha are my favorites,” Kendra said. “The steps are faster and more challenging than some of the other dances.”
Students of all ability and experience levels take Spanish dancing as a part of their Western Wayne foreign language curriculum.
Two freshmen Jaden Gregory and Nate Irvine have been enjoying learning this type of dance for the first time.
“It was hard at first to get accustomed to dancing with each other,” Nate said. “But it got easier the more we learned.”
“My favorite part are the cross-body leads,” Jaden explained. “They are a very smooth part of the dances.”
Jaden’s classmates freshmen Julia Phillips, Cassia Sheehan, and Ashley Small-Bermudez also have been enjoying their first experience in Spanish dance with Mr. Brust.
All of the girls have a lot of fun learning new steps each day. Julia likes the spins and turning in dance. Cassia thinks the cross-body leads are the most fun steps, and Ashley likes the expression she gets to put into the hairbrush step.
“This connects really well with what we are learning in the classroom,” Cassia explained. “It gives us a taste of what real Spanish culture is like.”