Students get a taste of salsa, Bollywood at Dance Night


Danielle Gallet de St Aurin believes that dancing is the strongest tie to a nation’s culture and that’s what makes it so much fun.

Kicking off International Week, the International Student Council hosted an international dance night on Friday, Nov. 15.

“We discussed what we could do to represent our different international groups and their cultures,” said Gallet, sophomore in dietetics and member of the International Student Council. “And the dances were the first thing that came to our minds.”

One of the groups participating at Dance Night was the Bollywood Dance Club.

“We will teach you a small portion of the routine we performed at Diwali Night,” said Darcy Besch, junior in sociology and president of the Bollywood Dance Club.

The routine was called Dhating Naach, which translates into “crazy awesome dance.” Besch said the dance routine was exactly what it translates to being, an utterly ridiculous dance, even compared to other Bollywood songs. 

Besch started out by teaching simple steps to the participants and assigned each move to a name such as “think,” “level” or “escape” to make it more accessible.

“I am so happy with the results, everyone was cheering loudly and having fun, which was the main goal,” Besch said. “If they learned the steps and managed to do it perfectly, that’s awesome, but it’s much more important that I exposed them to Bollywood for one night.”

Besch said the main challenge was the coordination of all the different steps at such a fast pace. She stated that Dhating Naach consists of movements that people usually wouldn’t do, especially Americans who are not used to that type of movement at all. 

“It was awesome, I’ve always wanted to dance Bollywood-style,” said Nicole Valderrabano, senior in aerospace engineering. “Normally, I’m really not the first one out on the dance floor at parties, but tonight everyone was dancing and having fun, so I just loved it.”

Gallet and her team combined Dance Night with a fundraiser for the nongovernment organization Orphan Sponsorship International.

“My uncle founded the organization, and I act as kind of a spokesperson for it,” said Molly Sexton, sophomore in child, adult and family services.

“Orphan Sponsorship International has built orphan homes in Russia, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka and India. We will split the funds to the certain areas of the foundation.”

The second dance students were exposed to at Dance Night was salsa. Ian Herrman of the Descarga Latin Dance Club taught participants the basic steps of salsa dancing.

“The hard part about salsa dancing is that it is not a single person’s dance; it’s a couple’s dance, so there is a lead and a follow,” Herrman said. “For some people, it can be really hard to let someone else lead them, so coordinating can be pretty tough at first even though the moves are very simple.”

Herrman told the students not to be afraid of their partners and to always stay on beat with the music. 

Herrman said that dancing is amazing to him, because it gives him both freedom and control. “You have a set style and a set number of moves, but within them you can express yourself however you want to.”

Arunabha Roy, graduate in aerospace engineering, said he has been interested in dances since his childhood.

“When I heard that salsa would be taught today, I was immediately in, because I really wanted to learn that,” Roy said.

Roy stated that he has joined several dance clubs such as the Ballroom Dance Club and the Swing Dance Club at Iowa State.

“Salsa dancing was pretty fun, because it has a lot of energy behind it,” Valderrabano said. “You’ve got to have the hips for it though, which made it pretty hard for me.”

Sexton said she would love to make Dance Night an annual event.

“People were excited and had lots of fun, so I have high hopes for it,” Sexton said.