September 29, 2020

BY KRIS MANUEL

The majority of people today rely on technology as a form of communication, but Raza Moghal, who will be teaching Latin dance at Conestoga’s recreation centre, wants to show students a different form of communication through dancing.

The Latin dance class, one of several fitness classes offered at the recreation centre until the first week of April, starts tomorrow. It is open to everyone and free for students who are required to bring their student cards to access the facilities. The class will run Tuesdays from 5 to 5:50 p.m. in the multi-purpose room.

Though this will be the first time Moghal will be teaching classes in a fitness facility, he has taught at other venues and events including the National Arts Centre and the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa. He also held workshops at Ottawa’s Mambo Nuevo Latino Restaurant for nine months.

Moghal moved from Ottawa in October to study human resources at Conestoga College and has been dancing for eight to 10 years.

Both Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo have salsa dance clubs, so Moghal is hoping the Latin dance classes will get students more involved at Conestoga. He also booked the Sanctuary with Conestoga Students Inc. for an end-of-term Latin dance party, which is tentatively booked for April 5.

The class will primarily consist of salsa, merengue and bachata dance styles along with a little bit of reggaeton.

However, Moghal’s classes blend learning how to dance with the social aspect, which he calls “social Latin dance classes.”

“What I offer that’s different is the social skills set. That is essentially teaching you how to read dance chemistry to teaching you how to read eye contact,” he said.

“I’m trying to promote social connection. I think as we become very reliant on technology, some of our social skills are being compromised.”

Sometimes dancing is associated with having a few drinks before stepping onto a dance floor at a nightclub.

However, Moghal said, “The purpose of the dance class is to give the students some options on campus – to socialize, to provide fitness but to also introduce them to options that don’t require alcohol or minimum alcohol. There’s nothing wrong with drinking, I’m just saying drink a little less and enjoy dancing.”

Beverly Cutone, a former marketing student at Conestoga, enjoys Latin dancing and has been doing so recreationally at places such as The Flying Dog for about two years.

“It’s like a vacation in the middle of the week for me,” Cutone said, adding it’s a great way to unwind while getting exercise.

“I actually have a roommate who’s 65. I talked him into dancing and he thanks me every day. So you’re never too young, you’re never too old and you should give it a try.”

Brigitte Szucs, a former broadcast journalism student at Conestoga, also enjoys Latin dancing. She said she recommends it to everyone.

“I try to convince everyone to try it, even if they’re not really interested,” she said.

“It’s a great workout. Sometimes working out can be boring. Going out dancing, there’s no way you can’t enjoy it and it’s a reason for people to get out of the house.”

Waterloo’s The Flying Dog is a popular Thursday night destination for those who enjoy Latin dancing, in part because lessons are free.

Moghal said, “College is an opportunity to get to know yourself, to get to know new people and to get exposed to new art forms and new possibilities.

“I just want you to enjoy yourself, do your best and have fun,” he tells prospective students.

For more information on Moghal and his social Latin dance classes, visit www.salsaconnectica.com.