Salsa: Not Just for Chips

Shake It, Eugene: Episode 1

[caps]I[/caps]t’s Friday night. Taylor’s, Rennie’s, and The District are buzzing. Meanwhile, dancers are strapping on their shoes and heading to the Vet’s Club for one of Eugene’s most delightful secrets: a night of salsa dancing. Although it remains somewhat unknown, Eugene has an extensive Latin dance culture.  Friday nights at the Vet’s offers locals a chance to relax, meet new people (including some very talented dancers), and let loose on the dance floor.

Jose Cruz, the coordinator of one the main programs in town, tells us about Eugene’s ever-growing salsa scene. Salsa dances are held every Friday night at the Veteran’s Club on 17th and Willamette.  As soon as you step through the door you’re led to the dance room by the sounds of salsas, cumbias and merengues filling the air. Lessons are from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m., and the social dance goes from 10:30 to 1:00 a.m. No partner?  That’s no excuse. The Vet’s Club is one of the most welcoming dance venues you’re likely to find in Eugene.

Throughout the video it becomes clear that there is one main factor contributing to the growth of Eugene’s underground salsa movement. Sure, there’s the music, the flavor and the rhythm. And there are those who have been drawn in after falling prey to movies like Take the Lead or Step Up 2. But more than anything else, what keeps people coming back is the joy dancing brings. Once you hit the dance floor, school, work, bills – they all fade away into a different time and place.

Shake It, Eugene is a video series about Eugene’s underground dance movement. Although they remain relatively unknown, places to go dancing in Eugene come alive almost any night of the week as people of all ages turn toward dance as a way to relax and meet new people. This series provides a look at some of Eugene’s most joyful and inviting dance venues.

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