Time really does fly, a year ago myself and two of my best friends stepped into the Alibi Restaurant. Most of the tables and chairs were pushed to one side, making a nice sized dance floor. The orange hue from the setting sun flooded the room, and Latin music bounced from speakers at two opposing corners. It was our first day of Salsa classes. Like most fun adventures, Lexxi had talked us into it. I’m glad Autumne and I came along for the ride though.
Salsa Jamaica has just celebrated its 20th Anniversary, and to commemorate this milestone, 876LoveR is getting a little insight from the director, Keith Anthony. We stepped (danced) away from the overflowing dance floor, and took to the quiet patio to speak.
How long have you been doing Salsa?
Well, 20 years in Jamaica but I was also doing it in Toronto and parts of Canada before that. I did Salsarobics (Salsa Aerobics) in Toronto and kinda fleshed out from there.
Why did you start Salsa Jamaica?
I had been working abroad at the company for about 25 years and they were downsizing. So this thought made a bed in my brain, “What am I gonna do when I leave this company?” Here it is, now I’m facing new frontiers and I saw this dance and I thought wow, this is great and I love it! So I thought I’m planning to go back to Jamaica at this point, let me check and see if this exists in Jamaica. I flew down here and it wasn’t here! So I came and I started teaching and pushed it from there.
Do you enjoy teaching Salsa?
I do. You know what’s nice? It’s when, at the club when I sit back, with a glass of wine, and I watch all these dancers that came through Salsa Jamaica. It’s a good feeling and they’re here, they’re dancing, they’re not causing any trouble, they’re not trying to compete against each other. It’s just about dancing and doing the best you can and having fun AND respecting each other. I think this is very vital to where we are here in Jamaica.
Any upcoming plans for Salsa Jamaica in the future?
Yes! Fusion music. At the anniversary, I had a big band, they didn’t play my music but I put songs together that fused our culture and our music with Latin music…The next phase is music and to expand from there.
There we have it, Mr. Keith Anthony sharing his love of the Latin culture with Jamaica. I also have a bonus feature! Watch the performance of the rookie of the year, Autumne, and her dance partner, Ryan.
Find Salsa Jamaica at Facebook.com/SalsaJ, or simply come to Alibi Restaurant on Thursday’s at 7pm for classes for a small fee, or 8:30 simply to dance the night away.