With high-energy hip shaking and leg strutting, Latin dance may not be for the faint of heart. The Descarga Latin Dance Club, however, finds even those with two left feet can feel the rhythm and add a touch of Latin flare to their step.
Anthony Persaud, graduate student in electrical and computer engineering and president of Descarga, is one of the club's instructors and is dedicated to teaching salsa.
"We really love teaching people how to salsa, that's really our main passion," Persaud said. "To see them perform the moves that look much better than when they first started and to see the admiration on their faces, you say, 'Oh my god, we taught them something they can use for the rest of their life.'"
According to the organization's Web site, Descarga "seeks to diligently promote the awareness, knowledge, appreciation and practice of salsa" at Iowa State. For the past four years, the club has been teaching ISU students and the Ames community Latin dancing styles such as salsa, merengue and the cha-cha.
"When we were [first arriving at Iowa State], there wasn't a club where you could take lessons, so we said we'll make our own," Persaud said.
"Anybody who was interested [in] any Latin dances, they could come learn from us."
Todd Steffen, senior in computer engineering, agreed.
"I had no background at all – I learned everything from here," said Steffen, club treasurer. "I actually didn't know how to dance at all until I came here."
Descarga members said occasional mishaps, such as stepping on someone's foot or getting poked in the eye, are to be expected.
"I was dancing with at a club, and [as] I was turning [my partner], she lifted her elbow and hit me in the eye," Persaud said.
Descarga's Web site,www.addicted2salsa.com, allows the club to post the time and locations of lessons and special events.