Atlantis: The Lost Empire’s Audrey Ramirez

Warning: Spoilers ahead

We have Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, and now Elsa and Anna. These gals are the most prominent faces for young girls and their Disney princess movie infatuations. These animated women transform into their role models and embody what they foresee as beauty and the ideal woman.

With this in mind, Disney has taken steps to add diversity to their collection – like The Princess and the Frog - and even opened up “true love” to include family – yes, we are looking at you Brave and Frozen! But this new and necessary transformation has many waiting for the Latina princess, especially after the controversy with Sofia the Firsta TV series on Disney Channel that was revealed that the young princess is not actually “Latina.”

Audrey-atlantis-photo-450x370-pr-amrks9sm1However, between the anticipating and controversies for the Latina princess that young girls can idolize and relate to, why has no one acknowledged Audrey Rocio Ramirez from Disney’s Atlantis?

Atlantis: The Lost Empire was released in 2001 and follows a young man and his crew on an expedition to find the lost city of Atlantis. The crew, composed of unique and interesting individuals, includes a Latina, Audrey Ramirez. Audrey Ramirez is a sixteen years old engineer with a big personality. She’s tough, sarcastic, sassy, and intelligent. Breaking all stereotypes for women, she’s a tomboy that loves to get her hands dirty and very skilled in auto mechanics.

Throughout the movie you learn more about the young engineer, such as how she honed her skills while helping her dad at his Auto Repair Shop at age five. Also, she reveals that her sister is a boxer with a shot at the title. In a touching conversation with Milo, the protagonist, she even shares that with the money they’ll receive from the expedition, she plans to open up her own high end repair show with her father. Through this interaction and other mentions throughout the film, her love and pride of her family is unmistakable.

Another notable aspect of this character is her compassion for friends despite her tough exterior. Both young in age, she connects well with Milo and jokes around a lot with the crew. In a series of unfortunate events that causes her and the crew’s loyalties to be skewed, she is the first to feel guilt on turning on her friend and returns to her loyalties.

“I think people always forget about Atlantis [the movie]because it’s not a big princess movie, but it is a great movie for any gender or any age!” 18-year-old Reana Chavez said. “I liked Audrey’s character a lot – she was my favorite! She’s so spunky and tough and it doesn’t matter if she’s not a princess. She’s different and more relateable to me.”

Audrey Ramirez’s tanned skin, big brown eyes, and black hair does not mislead her culture. Her subtle accent and Bronx attitude does not deceive the audience. She is a Latina and she is strong. Always donning a white shirt and blue overalls – however, cleans up nicely at an award ceremony – she’s young, beautiful, and innovative.

The teenage female mechanic is a grease monkey within a Disney world of pink dresses, endless ruffles, fairy godmothers, handsome princes, and fancy balls. Her attitude and perspective is modern and competes with the rebellious princesses, such as Mulan and Merida. She demonstrates that girls can succeed in STEM and compete with the boys – forget the crown.

Audrey Rocio Ramirez may not be a princess, but her character is undeniably role model worthy for young girls.

Accessorizing Guide: The Do’s and Don’ts

Credit: Collegefashion.net

Credit: Collegefashion.net

Fashion is power, and accessories can help to achieve your ultimate look. Ever wonder what type of accessories would compliment your overall look? Well, there are many concepts that you have to know when choosing the best type of accessory.  But once you know exactly what to look for, accessorizing eventually becomes simple! Here are some steps into finding your accessorizing forte.

Selecting the Right Outfit

What you wear will help determine what accessories to use. If you are wearing an outfit with heavy layers, then most of your accessories won’t be seen. That is why you need to look for areas where accessories will compliment the outfit. For example, if you are wearing too many layers of clothing, you can probably accessorize your ears and your hair.

Coordinate Colors

An important detail to look out for is color schemes — not every accessory will fit with your outfit choice. An accessory might be to dull in color or might be too bright. The best thing to do is to balance out the color. If your outfit is mainly red with a few splashes of yellow, then you can add a few yellow accessories so it can compliment the red. If you were to chose a red accessory, that would be a little too much since you are already mainly wearing red. Accessories are made to give your outfit that little bit of spice, so it is best to use accessories that compliment your main look.

Daily Activity
It’s always a good idea to plan out your accessories with your schedule. If you are cooking, then wearing a lot of rings or bracelets may not be a good idea. Once you know your plans, you’ll automatically be able to narrow down what accessories you can and can’t use.  Wearing appropriate jewelry will make you feel more comfortable. If you want to cook with bracelets because you are used to it and are more comfortable wearing them, then go for it! It’s all about your comfort level — choose comfort over beauty, chicas!

Decluter Your Body

Accessories come in all different sizes and colors, but it doesn’t mean that you have to wear your entire jewelry box.  If you are planing on wearing a couple of small accessories, then maybe 4 pieces of jewelry should be enough. If you are wearing something big and flashy, then remember that just one is usually enough. Some chicas like to combine different sizes of jewelry, which is fine, but listen to yourself. A girl usually knows when it is too much because they’ll see AND feel it.

 

These are basic Do’s and Don’ts, but don’t let it stop you from experimenting with your style. There are so many accessories in this world, so most likely you’ll find the perfect accessories for you.  Accessorizing is also supposed to be fun so don’t try to take it too seriously — have fun!

Dealing with Stress

Both at home and school, different things cause you stress. Stress can be a lot to handle! There are many different ways to de-stress, and figuring out which way works for you can help you to cool off, relax, and concentrate better.

Here are some tips to de-stress from fellow Latinitas that you can use when you find yourself in a stressful situation!

Music to Ease Your Troubles

Music can help us relax and take some time to ourselves. “The way I de-stress is to go to my room and put on my favorite music…I mostly listen to 5 Seconds of Summer and One Direction,” says Ariana, 13.  Listening to some of your favorite tunes, whatever kind of music that might be, can relieve stress and will usually brighten your mood, too!

Pets Can Make Amazing Pals!

The love and friendship of a pet can be the perfect thing to take away some stress. You can hang out with them, relax and pet them, or you can take them for a walk! Plus, they’re great listeners and fun company!  Alexis, 11, shares, “What I do to de-stress is play with my dogs. I love playing with my dogs because they relieve stress. Just looking at them makes me happy.”

Get up, Get Active!

stressGetting exercise can be very calming and take your mind off of what is stressing you out. Daniella, 11, suggests to “go outside and ride your bike”, and Celeste, 10, says, “Another tip is to go to your room and do yoga.”  Playing your favorite sport, taking a walk, or going outside for some fresh air are all different ways that getting active can calm you down.

Battle of the Siblings 

Do you fight with your siblings?  Disagreeing with a brother or sister can be very stressful, and is something a lot of us with siblings go through! Nyla, 11, offers this helpful advice for dealing with sibling arguments: “Just don’t talk about things you don’t agree on. If you start a fight then walk away.”

Drowning in Schoolwork?
 When homework and schoolwork pile up on you, it can be stressful trying to finish it all! “You can hurry and do the work and be done with it,” Hayle, 10, suggests, if you struggle with procrastination. Keeping track of all your assignments and making time to get work done early can help you avoid dealing with the stress of having to finish it all at the last minute!

Troubles in the Classroom?
If classmates are bothering you or distracting you from work, it can be stressful trying to focus in class. To deal with this and take away that stress, Desiree, 10, advises you to “try talking to the person and try to make friends with them. Maybe you don’t know her/him very well.” Talking out what’s bothering you can help to relieve the stress of keeping it all inside!

Stress can be difficult to deal with, and can come from so many different sources, but with these tips to help you out, you can make healthy steps towards becoming a less-stressed, happier, and healthier chica!

Living La Vida Healthy

Water - healthy optionHealthy chicas share their top tips to staying healthy.

1. Focus on the Whole You

-”You not only have to focus on being physically healthy or good eating habits, but also being mentally healthy, emotionally healthy and physically.” -Ariana

-”Being healthy by staying active and eating well will give you energy and it improves your emotional and physical being.”-Lesly

-”Keep your body healthy both mentally and physically.” – Elizabeth

 

2. Stay Active

-”Stay fit so that you can feel good about yourself.” -Victoria.

-”Exercising is healthy like volleyball, basketball, track, tennis and dancing.” – Ydaliz

-”Go outside and get active for 60 minutes or more.” – Alyssa

-”Exercise to keep your body healthy.” -Kiara

-”Be more active to keep your body healthy.” – Ashley

-”Exercise by doing zumba, yoga or even belly dancing.” – Abigail

 

3. Eat Healthy Foods

-”Eat healthy like veggies and fruit. Eat breakfast every day.  -Ashley

-”Eat vegetables and fruits.  It is not good to eat junk food all the time, but it is okay to eat a little bit for it sometimes.” -Alyssa

-”You should eat a lot of green vegetables and eat lots of colorful fruits to stay strong and safe.” – Natalie

-”We should eat more healthy stuff then junk food.” – Kiara

-You have to stay healthy and don’t eat a lot of junk food.” -Senorina

 

4. Be Confident & Take Care of Your Mental Health

-”Don’t listen to what others think or say to you.” -Elizabeth

-”You should also not compare yourself to other people and never give up on yourself.” – Victoria

-”I’ve been struggling with my self-esteem for a while, but I learned how to stay healthy mentally and physically. I know that I’ll eventually learn how to be content with me and my body.” -Ariana

-”You shouldn’t criticize yourself or compare yourself to other people.” – Senorina

-”Don’t think negative about yourself and love who you are.” -Elizabeth

5. Make Healthy Choices

-”Don’t do drugs like alcohol or smoking.” – Ydaliz

-”Smoking can cause a lot of bad stuff like it can cause cancer and it will cause a lot of problems.” – Kiara

-”Don’t smoke. It can cause lung cancer.” – Avery

-”Don’t drink alcohol. Too much beer can give you brain damage.” -Daniella

DIY: Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday full of pink, red, hearts, and of course, chocolate – but aside from that, it is a day to show your family, friends, and your crush how much you care. And what better way to show just that with a hand-made card or gift! So put down your wallet and step away from the store bought cards, chocolate heart, and stuffed animals and try something a little different this year. Here are some creative Valentine’s DIYs to spruce up your gift giving!

Note: All materials used were from Dollar General or Wal-Mart and can be found at any local store.

Foam Postcard:

Materials: Hot glue gun, scissors, ruler, fine point marker, 3 foam sheets (white and two colors of your choice). Optional: Glitter.

  1.  With a white foam sheet, trace a rectangle to be your “post card” and cut it out. The dimensions are up to your discretion (dimensions pictured: 3 ¾ x 2 ¼).
  2.  Using the fine tip marker, write your ‘to and from’ on the post card.
  3. Then, using another foam sheet of a different color, create a fun design to be the frame. The frame should be slightly smaller than the dimensions of your post card. (Pictured: frame is a quarter of an inch smaller than the post card).
  4.  Next, with the last foam sheet, trace and cut out hearts for decoration. You can make the hearts different sizes or even add some glitter to make the card more fun. Note: precut foam hearts can be brought at stores, as well.
  5.  Hot glue the frame and foam hearts to the post card and fill in your ‘To and From’ to give to your Valentine!

Flores para Mamá

 

Materials: Small vase or jar, artificial flowers, ribbon, hot glue gun, scissors. Mini chocolates. Optional: rhinestones, glitter or spray glitter, glass pebbles, and beads.

  1.  Cut each ribbon of desired length – if you’re using a thin ribbon (like the red pictured) cut two strips – make sure it can be wrapped and tied around your vase
  2.  Place a dot of hot glue around the neck of your vase to keep your ribbon in place
  3.  Once glued, wrap and tie ribbon into a bow and add glue behind the knot of bow to keep it in place
  4.  For extra decoration: add beads to the end of the ribbon and tie a knot at the base of the beads
  5.  For extra decoration: can glue rhinestones on ribbon
  6.  Fill the jar with your choice of mini chocolates or if not chocolates, glass pebbles are excellent jar fillers, as well
  7.  Place bouquet of flowers in vase
  8.  For extra decoration: add glitter to your flowers
  9.  Adjust flowers in vase and it’s ready to gift to your mom

 Not-Your-Ordinary Cards

Materials: Card-stock or decorated scrapbook paper, pipe cleaners, cotton balls, glue, markers, pencil. Optional: Rhinestones, glitter, hole punchers,and ribbon.

  1.  Pick a card-stock as your main color (pictured: red) and then trim off a centimeter around the cardstock that you want as the inside of the card (pictured: heart paper)

Design One:

  1.  Grab two pipe cleaners of the same color and create the cursive letters “Lo-“ with one and “-ve” with the second; leaving extra pipe cleaner on the “v” so it can connect with the “o”. Trim off extra pipe cleaner, if needed.
  2.  Glue your “Love” to the front of the card.
  3.  Place the design with glue and sprinkle glitter on top of the glue.
  4.  Glue rhinestones, if desired.

Design two:

  1.  Trace a heart on the cover of the card.
  2.  Fill the heart with glue and place cotton balls to fill the heart. You can tear apart cotton balls to fill accordingly.
  3.  Again, you can create a glittery design with glue.
  4.  Finally, write a cute message with the colorful markers on the inside and present it to your Valentine.

*Note: the ribbon pictured was not used, but can be cut into small bows to glue on cover for extra decoration

 

It’s Mice to Meet You

 

Materials: Hershey’s Kisses, Googly eyes (or black beads and white marker), pencil, hot glue gun, pipe cleaner, scissors, and card-stock (brown, white, black, or pink).

  1.  Grab your two card-stock colors for the mouse’s ears, and cut them both in the shape of a “D”.  Make sure to have one color slightly smaller than the other in order to form the ears.
  2.  Glue both “D” shaped colors together.
  3.  Next, glue ears at the base of a Hershey kiss.
  4.  Then, glue the second Hershey kiss to the base. The chocolates must be base to base.
  5.  Remove the Hershey’s Kiss ribbon on both Kisses.
  6.  Glue black beads to the front Hershey’s kiss to form the mouse’s eyes. Googly eyes or black beads will suffice.
  7.  Cut the pipe cleaner to the desired length for the tail.
  8.  Glue the pipe cleaner or insert the pipe cleaner into the foil of the back of the mouse. You can shape the pipe cleaner to any shape.
  9.  Make as many mice as needed and hand out to friends and family for a cute little gift!

Mi Barrio: Local Vintage Shoppes in El Paso

When we say vintage we’re not talking about the process of calling something ancient, we are talking about clothes, accessories, furniture, cars, or anything that has a maturity or an everlasting appeal. To be vintage is to be characterized by excellence, to be classic. Latinitas went around to a couple of El Paso’s very own vintage shops and had a fashion shoot to show how older hand-me-down clothes can still be in style.
First we stopped at Klothes Lime a fashion shop that also does consignment. For those of us who don’t know the details of consignment, it’s a process where stores pay individuals for unwanted second-hand, designer or trendy items and sell them for a higher price. The way  Klothes Lime and Consignment works is you get 50% of whatever they sell. This locally owned boutique was a fun way to start off the day.
We went into the shoppes with every occasion in mind. Starting from the left, Elizabeth is in a dress for a fancy night out, or any high school dance. Then we have our music festival chic outfit, and  a retro ensemble in the middle. At the end, Elizabeth is in an everyday outfit that would make Taylor Swift proud!

Then we headed to The Red Door, a  vintage boutique that specializes in new and used clothing for men and women from the 1920’s to the 1990’s. They also have really unique accessories like hats, jewelry, bags, and wallets. We had a lot of fun going back in time, shifting through the genres at The Red Door.

Elizabeth is in a mild cowgirl get up where the shoes took us a while to find, but in the end they turned out to be perfect. Next we thought we’d play around with different things at the store! Elizabeth is ready for a day the office.

 

We found a pretty cute Sunday dress and belt that needed a little maintenance, but in the end it looked flawless. We had a blast checking out these two cute vintage stores. Check out your local listings for nearby vintage stores, invite your friends, and enjoy your vintage shopping day!

 

*Special Thanks to The Red Door, Klothes Lime, Alina Cardena (photagrapher) and Elizabeth Lara (model).

 

 

Quiz: What’s Your Learning Style?

books

Have you ever studied intensely for a test but were extremely disappointed when you received your grade back? Don’t fret, chica! We have all been there. Instead of going out and buying a pint of ice cream to cure your study blues, take a moment to fill out this quiz and learn some techniques that will help you take your next exam by storm.

1. Where do you prefer to sit in class?

A. In the front row so I can see the board clearly.

B. It doesn’t matter as long as I can hear the teacher.

C. Towards the back so I have a good view of everything.

 

2. What past time do you prefer?

A. Watching my favorite tv shows and movies.

B. Listening to my favorite music.

C. Sports or any type of physical activity.

 

3. When I study I like to  ____________.

A. Be alone in a quiet area/

B. Be in a group.

C. Play games that reinforce the material.

 

4. If I’m trying to remember something I like to ____________.

A. Write it down over and over.

B. Record it and listen to it over and over.

C. Write it down and read it aloud over and over.

 

5. What subject is your favorite?

A. Spelling

B. Foreign Language

C. Science

 

6. When you first meet someone, what do you remember about them the most?

A. Appearance

B.  Name

C. Personality

 

7. How do you get your news?

A. I scroll through online content.

B. I like to listen to it on the radio.

C. I like to flip through a news paper or magazine.

 

8. What word best describes you?

A. Artistic

B. Listener

C. Active

 

9. How would you describe your style?

A. Very colorful, my style is always changing.

B. I like to keep up with trends.

C. I like comfort.

 

If you answered mostly A, you are a visual learner.

Visual learners grasp concepts best by seeing the material. You excel at spelling and like colors and fashion.

Study tips for visual learners:

  •          Study in a quiet area
  •          Create outlines and diagrams when taking notes
  •          Use highlighters, circle words and underline when reading
  •          Watch videos that reinforce the concepts
  •          Make color coded flashcards

 

If you answered mostly B, you are an auditory learner.

Auditory learners grasp concepts best through hearing things. You are good at remembering names. You are not afraid to speak up in class, and you also really enjoy music.

Study tips for auditory learners:

  •          Form study groups
  •          Record lectures
  •          Play word association games
  •          Read assignments and directions out loud
  •          Create rhymes

 

If you answered mostly C, you are a physical learner.

Physical learners grasp concepts by experiencing or doing things. You can’t sit still for long periods of time, and you enjoy adventure books and movies.

Study tips for physical learners:

  •          Take breaks when reading and studying
  •          Role play
  •          Go on field trips
  •          Use flash cards
  •          Draw pictures in your notes to reinforce material

 

Sometimes you can by a hybrid between two different learning techniques, so don’t be afraid to try out study habits from different learning styles. Test these tips and adjust them to your study habits and prepare to be amazed. Happy studying, chicas!

Sorority Sister Spotlight: Arlina Garcia

gammasDo you remember the last time you were in a brand new setting? Making friends and being yourself isn’t so easy when you’re not in your comfort zone, but sometimes there are ways to ease these transitions. Arlina Garcia is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and a sister of the “Oh So Fly” Xi Chapter of the Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority. Through this sorority, she has transitioned into a college student who proudly embraces her heritage in her daily life.

What was the most difficult part about transitioning from high school to college?

 The most difficult part about transitioning from high school to college was definitely the culture shock. I pictured UT to be very diverse, but when I arrived I was surprised by the large number of White students on campus. I felt out casted at times in my classes. I grew up in Houston, in a predominately African American and Latino community. The environment was a lot different at UT than my previous schooling institutions. Joining SLG definitely helped me transition.

Why did you decide to rush?

 Even though I knew a good number of people at UT from my school district, I still felt alone at times. I did not feel like my peers had the same goals and mind set as mine. I came in to UT wanting to join a sorority, but I never would have thought I’d join a Latina based sorority. I saw the Gammas perform a step and stroll and “Go Greek”, an event the Latino Pan-Hellenic council puts on every semester, and it sparked my interest. After attending an informational I knew Sigma Lambda Gamma was the right sorority for me. All the sisters had accomplished so much during their time at UT. I could see Gammas were ambitious, confident women and that is exactly what I wanted to be surrounded by. A positive influence to push me to pursue all my aspirations.

How has being a UT Gamma influenced your views on your culture?

 I have become very proud of my heritage and have gained so much knowledge of not only my own culture, but others as well. I truly value diversity in my everyday life now. I studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa this past summer, my first time leaving the state of Texas, and now I want to travel the world! Because: “Culture is pride, Pride is success.”

Describe your sisterhood in 3 words.

 “Hermanas por vida.” 

What’s your favorite memory?

 I have too many memories with my sisters to choose one. I would have to say my probate was an amazing day. A probate is a coming out show, after pledging a semester. When I took off my mask and revealed myself as “Arlina ‘Ambiciosa’ Garcia,” and stood next to my line sisters with my letters on for the first time, it was unforgettable.

 Has being a member in your sorority made you feel closer to your roots? Why or why not?

 Definitely, my family is very Tejano, so learning from my sisters who grew up with a more traditionally Mexican family is so interesting. I have learned to appreciate the values my parents strived to instill in me. 

What does your family back home think about your involvement?

 Being a first generation college student, I do not think my family fully understands the purpose and meaning of a sorority. However, they have been more than supportive. They have expressed that their proud of me for going through the journey of becoming a sister and how involved I have become. They also loved coming to our family weekend we host for all our parents, annually. And I must say, watching my 6’ 3” dad dominate in the sack races was priceless.

What has been the greatest benefit/s? 

Self-growth. I came in to UT very reserved, timid, and disengaged. Since becoming a sister of Sigma Lambda Gamma, I have really learned the importance of opening up. It is necessary to build relationships. You cannot improve by staying in your comfort zone. I have definitely grown a voice. For example, I speak up in class a lot more often, which is beneficial for being successful in college. I am definitely not afraid to provide input or state my opinion. I have learned the importance of networking and am no longer to put myself out there and meet people.

What advice would you give our Latinitas readers about the whole college experience?

DO THE MOST. Branch out. Study Abroad. Get a mentor. Go to different campus events. Join organizations. Do community Service. Do research. Hang out with new people. Do not just stay in your dorm room. Your undergraduate career will contain some of your best memories and you do not want to regret this time. Always remember to keep your academics a priority. Yes college is fun, but the reason you are at your institution is to get a degree. Never give up either. It can get stressful and overwhelming but you have to keep pushing. Use your resources wisely, colleges offer tutoring, skills workshops, office hours, career services, advising, and writing centers. By being a minority and a woman, making the most of your education will make a lot of people proud. Overall, stay committed and open minded.

If you’re interested in learning more about the UT Gammas visit www.texasgammas.org.

Spring Braids

Whether you are studying for a big test or working on your soccer skills, your thick hair always seems to be getting in your face. Do these scenarios sound familiar, chicas? Instead of slicking your hair back in a head ache inducing ponytail, try out some of these braided hairstyles just in time for spring. They are all heat free, quick and abuelita approved.

For all of these looks you will only need bobby pins, hair elastics and an optional styling product to hold your hairstyle all day.

Hanging Low

  1. Start by sectioning off a section of hair from the front of your head. If you have bangs, you can leave them out for this look.
  2. Tie the rest of your hair in a side ponytail.
  3. Begin braiding the sectioned piece of hair towards the back of your head.
  4. Bobby pin the braid behind your head.
  5. Twist your side ponytail into a bun and hold with hair elastic.
  6. Spray your hairstyle with finishing spray to hold the look throughout the day (ex. hairspray or spray gel).

 

Best of Both Worlds


 

  1. Start at the top of your head and begin French braiding your hair.
  2. Stop braiding when you get to the back part of your head.
  3. Combine the rest of your hair with the braid and tie it into a ponytail with a hair elastic.
  4. Spray your style for an extra hold.

 

La Princesa


  1. Section off a piece of hair from one side of your head and begin braiding it towards the back of your head.
  2. Secure the braid with a bobby pin.
  3. Repeat step one on the opposite side of your head.
  4. Secure the second braid by crisscrossing the bobby pins behind your head.
  5. Tuck in any extra hair under the braids.
  6. Spray your style for an extra hold.

 

If you’re feeling some extra springtime inspiration, add clip-on flowers or hair bows for a unique touch. Who said convenience can’t be cute? Now get to braiding, chicas!

Embracing the Salsa

Kids-classSalsa is played throughout the Hispanic world and has influences from Latin American and Afro-Caribbean countries. This popular dance style inspires confidence and freedom to improvise with the traditional steps. Whether it’s with a partner or dancing it out solo, salsa is a way to embrace the Latin culture one step at a time.

Claudia Ramirez has been dancing salsa for years and finds it to be a fun, cultural pastime and the best way for her to stay physically and mentally healthy.

“It is so liberating,” Ramirez said. “To many, hitting the gym and pumping iron are ways to relieve stress, but to me, dancing salsa is my therapy. Brings out the total Latina in me.”

History of Salsa
Salsa is a combination of Latin American and Afro-Carribean dances, such as merengue, mambo, cumbia and the rumba. While the roots of salsa are most famously known for coming from Cuba, many other countries adopted this dance into their cultures, such as the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Puerto Rico and the United States.

In the 1970s, New York City received an influx of Latin American immigrants, who brought along their music and dance styles from their unique regions. Cultures united and created modern day salsa, which continues to evolve today.

The Basic Steps

In any dancing style, practice makes perfect. With salsa, practice is important to keep your rhythm flowing but, when it comes to the basic steps, it’s more about learning how you can make them your own.

Classic Salsa Music
Practice your moves with some classic songs that provide upbeat, shoulder-moving, hip-swaying music for an energetic dance session.

  • “Quimbara” by Celia Cruz
  • “Lloraras” by Oscar D’Leon
  • “Las Caras Lindas” by Ismael Rivera
  • “Pedro Navaja” by Ruben Blades
  • “P’a Bravo Yo” by Justo Betancourt

Below is a guide on how to get into the flow and feel of salsa using simple footwork patterns. 

Salsa Side Steps 

 Step 1: Left, Right, Left
Step left with your left foot, then step in place with your right foot, and then close your left foot to your right foot.

Step 2: Right, Left, Right
Repeat this step with your right foot by stepping right, stepping in place with your left foot, then close your right foot to your left foot.

Salsa Forward Steps

Step 1: Forward Left, Right
Place your left foot forward, then step in place with your right foot. Then close your left foot with your right foot.

Step 2: Back Right, Left
Step back on your right foot then step in place on your left. Close your right foot with your left foot.

As you practice these simple steps, it’s about harnessing the energy of the music and releasing it through twists, turns and feet that won’t stop moving to the beat. In many ways, salsa dancing is an expressive art that allows you to mix fresh imagination with cultural traditions, which make for a style that is timelessly appreciated.

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