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Students come together to dance

By Deanna Gomez Posted on October 13, 2014

Posted in: FEATURES

Every Wednesday, a large group meets in the Cal State Fullerton Kinesiology building, put on their dancing shoes, and practice salsa.


The CSUF Salsa Club, founded in 2010, gives students an outlet to express their fiery love of dancing.

Team Coordinator Joshua Mendoza founded the club after the previous salsa group on campus disbanded.

The club, once known as Candela, had about 25 members. As the president of Candela was preparing to leave, none of the current members showed any interest in keeping the club going.

That is when Mendoza decided to take over and revamp the dying art of salsa dancing at CSUF.

At the same time, Kazumi DeVries, the club’s current instructor, was also busy keeping the love of salsa alive.

“At one point, the salsa population kind of died down … I’m a salsa dancer, so I figured I needed to have a place to dance,” DeVries said.

DeVries helped keep the salsa scene going by hosting her Clave Lab Social in Fountain Valley.

Mendoza was introduced to DeVries through another member of the club.

DeVries, who has practiced salsa for about 13 years, came to the U.S. as an exchange student and began to study art. She is an international artist, and was also teaching art at the time Mendoza approached her.

Four years later, the club has over 150 members.

“There’s a lot of love and care and a lot of thought that’s put into it. I really think Kazumi really cares for each one of her students … I think that’s why we got to where we are today. Once the club started, every year we were doubling our membership from then on,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza admits it hasn’t always been easy running the club. He said it can be difficult to manage 150 members and figure out the expenses for the club. However, the club’s executive board help with responsibilities.

The executive board has played a large part in the success of the club, Mendoza said. They are in charge of getting rooms and reservations for all of the clubs events and making sure the events run smoothly.

The club is open to both students and non-students, and has two organizations within one.

General members meet every Wednesday for FUNdamentals, a class where members learn basic salsa moves and techniques.

The other part of the Salsa Club is the competitive team. The organization is set up so that general members can progress and become part of the competitive team if they wish.

After attending the FUNdamentals classes, members can choose to attend the Salsa Academy held on Fridays.

The Salsa Academy’s aim is to further member’s techniques and prepare them for the competitive team if they choose to join it.

These members come from all walks of life and each has their own reasons for joining the club.

“I love to dance and it’s a lot of fun dancing with people. You get to feel the beat and also make some good friends,” said Hugo Diaz, 24, who joined the Salsa Club this semester. “They were always great to me. They were always welcoming.”

Other members like brothers Luciano and Fernando Lassalle joined so that they would no longer be wallflowers when they went out.

Luciano said he felt left out when he went to parties because everyone else was dancing, while he stood to the side. He decided that it was time to learn a new skill and chose the Salsa Club.

His brother Fernando joined with him.

“I’m tired of looking like a fool every time there’s a party going on,” Fernando said.

Mendoza’s reason for dancing is partly to please his parents.

Growing up Mendoza’s parents told him to be a well-rounded person. To appease his parents he decided to join the Salsa Club, but he soon realized that he truly enjoyed salsa dancing and went on to be the team coordinator.

The club hosts two events each semester. This past Saturday, they celebrated its four-year anniversary with its Salsa Academia held at the Titan Student Union.

The event included a special musicality class with Don Baarns and music by Super DJ Robby.

After the musicality lesson, guests spent the rest of the night dancing.

The dance floor was never empty as CSUF Salsa Club members and other guests danced until 1 a.m.

For more information on the CSUF Salsa Club, visit www.csufsalsaclub.com.

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 About Deanna Gomez
Deanna is a senior majoring in Journalism with a minor in RTVF. This is her second semester at The Daily Titan. She enjoys screenwriting and coffee.