Salsa lessons bring Latin flair to Bay Center

Oct 31, 2022

“I love the fact that dancing is communication,” said Debbie Israel as she shimmied and sashayed on the crowded dance floor with her partner Domenic Arduino. “You’re a team! You’re in it together.”

The dance floor was an unlikely one — the Onset Bay Center. Israel and Arduino, two ballroom dancers who live in Wareham and bill themselves as “D and D,” taught the first in a series of weekly salsa, rumba and hustle lessons there on Thursday, Oct. 27.

“It’s lively and it’s fun and it connects people,” Israel said. “It connects cultures.”

Vivacious salsa music played as couples, many recognizing each other from that morning’s pickleball matches, dipped and twirled each other.

“The key is turning the girls,” Israel said. “Girls love to turn.”

Israel has been salsa dancing for 15 years. Arduino has been a competitive dancer for seven years.

“I’m focusing on this area to create something which we need in this community,” Israel said. “Something fun, a place for people to meet each other and have fun.”

Israel likes to say that if a person knows five dances, they can go anywhere.

“When people dance,” she grinned, “things happen.” 

Domenic’s mother Gail Arduino walked across the dance floor and advised the dancers on their posture.

“Remember,” she said to Bruce Rossiter and his girlfriend Karen Giddings, “you gotta always be together.”

“Why are you swingin’?” Rossiter asked Giddings jokingly. “I’m the leader. Stop taking over.”

Neither of them have danced the salsa before. Their neighbors, Jim and Carolyn Morrissey, encouraged them to come. 

“I think it’s very interesting and fun,” Rossiter said.

“We have a lot to learn,” Giddings said, “but they’re good teachers.” 

To Jim, it felt awkward at first, but it slowly became more relaxing. 

“They made me feel very comfortable here,” he said.

“I feel like ‘Dirty Dancing,’” Gail said, moving alongside the Morrisseys.

The lesson ended with a freestyle dance party. 

“It’s time for us to just have fun,” she said. “Your minds are gonna be reelin’ tonight, you’re gonna be dreamin’ about this.”

“D and D” will teach salsa, rumba and hustle at the Onset Bay Center Thursdays at 7 p.m. The cost is $10 per person.