If there is one thing that we all have in common, it is that we are unique. Each of us has our own essence; a personality, preferences, strengths, weaknesses, qualities and faults. Each person weaves his own tapestry throughout their lives based on experience which define us. It is art. And it is inspiring.

When I walk into a dance class, I am warmly greeted by people from various walks of life, and all kinds of cultural backgrounds. There are singles, married people, young and old, all at different stages of their life. We all bring our own story to the dance floor, and when we come together, it is poetry in motion. It doesn’t matter how well you can dance- just that you want to try.

In reflecting on this, it seems only natural that salsa would inspire such a melting pot.  First things first. What is a melting pot, you ask? According to Wikipedia, it is “a pot in which metals or other materials are melted and mixed.” Or, “a place where different peoples, styles, theories, etc., are mixed together “a melting pot of disparate rhythms and cultures”. Salsa gets its roots from beautiful and complex Cuba, and it is a well-known fact that Canadians have a crush on Cuba.  But it goes even deeper than that. The essence of salsa was brought together byimmigrants who went to Latin America either searching for a better life or against their will (African slaves). The influences of Danzón, the dance of French and Haitian immigrants, orRumba from the African slaves, and the Són of the Cuban people, blended with troubadour music (mostly Flamenco) of the Spanish people as well as various musical instruments of Africa. Doesn’t that sound tragically delicious? That’s what the Americans thought when they went to Cuba, and fell in love with the music and the dance. But politics got in the way and crashed the party, so the American travelers brought it home, and turned it into something different. Puttingtheir own flare into it, we now have an East Coast/West Coast flavor with the Miami, New York style of dancing and the salsa danced in California, among others.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to dance with a man to assist with a level assessment. He and I didn’t speak. I assumed that he was Cuban, based on his style of dance. Was my mind ever blown when I found out the man was originally from Egypt, but had learned Cuban salsa in GERMANY! When you dance, there are no borders.

The best part of all of this is that with each dance partner, with each song, on every dance floor, throughout the seasons, regions and time, when you dance, you too are creating your very own melting pot. The chemistry you feel and create with the person sharing the dance, the energy of the room, the emotions stirred by the song on the speaker all create electricity and have an influence on each individual. And it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from (cue Backstreet Boys), if you are dancing, you are part of it. Even if you are watching, you are part of it. And to me, that is magic.