Dancers get steps down with help from USO instructor
Charlotte Stumpf watched Jesus Basail’s feet carefully as she tried to follow his every move during the Salsa Sweetheart Latino Night Feb. 17.
Basail is teaching Stumpf and her fiance Patrix Haddad how to salsa dance before their wedding in June, and she wanted to make sure she got it right. “Everyone in our families knows how to salsa dance, so we wanted to learn,” said Haddad.
In light of the salsa event, Basail had moved the Friday night class from the USO Cottage to the Cappuccino Casino, where DJ Spike played Latin music for everyone. There, students could stay for 50 minutes — the standard amount of time for the classes — or five hours.
Basail, who teaches a variety of dance classes for the USO, said he hoped to make more people aware of the classes, which include salsa, ballroom, swing and tango. An eight-class group session costs $65, and four-class private sessions cost $140 per couple or $100 for an individual.
Arthur Murray International Dance Studios trained him as an instructor, and he follows the studio’s teaching method, Basail said.
People learn quickly, and they have fun while doing it, Basail said.
“I’ve loved every minute of it,” said Michael Ware, who has taken Basail’s salsa classes for six weeks and was at the event to practice.
Jaime Jerez, a teacher at Wiesbaden Middle School, said he took Basail’s classes a while ago with a group of other teachers, but attended the event because he loves salsa dancing.
Debra Powell, a school counselor at Aukamm Elementary School who also attended the salsa event, said she organized the classes that Basail took when she was the school counselor at the middle school.
The dance classes, which took place immediately after school, were a fun way for teachers to get a workout, Powell said. “When you do physical exercise, it contributes to your mental ability too and helps eliminate stress,” she said.
For more information, pick up a copy of the USO’s Eine Brucke at the Hainerberg Shopping Center or find it online at http://affiliates.uso.org/rheinmain/files/eine%20brucke%202012%20Q2.pdf.
For a listing of local places to salsa dance, see “Things to Do,” on the garrison’s home page at www.wiesbaden.army.mil. There are also listings at www.salsa.de.