22nd January 2002
The Cookery, behind Elim Church, Leavesden Road, north Watford; Mondays, 7pm to 8pm basic Salsa, 8pm to 9pm advanced. Tel: 07944 462461.
10th October 2002
Salsa fans contend sleaze allegations
SALSA fans have reacted angrily to the suggestion that the dance they love is sleazy.
A recent front page story in the Watford Free Observer featured Watford dance teacher Mr Richard Putko who has launched new “female-friendly” Salsa classes with a smoking ban and governed by etiquette rules.
He claimed some women were put off going to Salsa clubs, particularly large venues in the West End, as they feared the unwanted attentions of men.
But the article provoked a number of protests from die-hard Salsa fans who rejected the idea women had anything to worry about.
Ms Natalie Stenton from Pinner- based dance school Salsa Dance Craze said: “Female Salsa dancers out-number male ones in this area so what is the issue about females fearing unwanted advances from men in Salsa clubs?
“If they were that concerned we would have classes filled with men, unsavoury men at that!”
She said the suggestion that Salsa was sleazy could put off some women who were interested in learning. A female teacher from Croxley Green company I Love Salsa said: “Salsa is a sensuous dance and men are in control of it but if taught properly the women are well-equipped to deal with any unwanted advances.
“If that fails teachers and club co-ordinators are always on hand to step in and have a quiet word in the offending man’s ear.”
Another Salsa fan wrote: “Salsa does indeed have a slightly unsavoury reputation, which I personally don’t believe it deserves more than any nightclub. It can be a beautiful dance form that is fun, great exercise and stimulating for the mind.
“My advice to women thinking of taking up salsa would be take a friend along, be assertive and if made to feel uncomfortable by a man you can always leave the dance floor, and trust your instincts.”
I still stand by my assertions back then. They were based on many comments from lady dancers who had experienced unwanted attention from men in West End clubs and had been put off attending Salsa nights.
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