“A dancer’s kind of mind is attracted to other dancers’ kind of minds,” Cal Poly Salsa (CP Salsa) president Kevin Martinez said.
Students can find opportunities to dance on and off campus with like-minded people through some of Cal Poly’s dance clubs, including CP Salsa, Cal Poly Swing and Blues (CP Swing and Blues), Cal Poly Line Dancing Club and Cal Poly Ballroom (CP Ballroom). Whether a seasoned expert, nervous beginner or somewhere in between, each club welcomes newcomers to their community.
Industrial technology and packaging senior Martinez has been part of CP Salsa since his first year at Cal Poly. He learned about the club from his sister, who was one of the original members. Though he had no experience, he decided to try it out.
“When I came to Cal Poly, I was like, ‘What am I gonna do? I have nothing to do on a Friday night,’” Martinez said. “I was under 21, I didn’t know anywhere safe or anything like that, so I just decided to start coming for the first couple of weeks, and it slowly kind of grew on me, and I slowly got addicted.”
Many students who regularly attend CP Salsa’s meetings started out as beginners, like Martinez. The club offers $5 lessons every Friday night in Architecture and Environmental Design (building 5, room 225), starting at 7:30 p.m. Participants do not need to bring a partner to the lessons.
Dancers can take the skills they learned and bring them to the Madonna Inn, where CP Salsa attends Salsa Night with the San Luis Obispo community on the second, fourth and fifth Tuesday of each month.
“[The Madonna Inn] is a really awesome, atmospheric place to dance,” Martinez said.
Martinez also said the members of CP Salsa have become his closest friends.
“This is a great bunch of like-minded people that I just really enjoy hanging out with,” Martinez said.
CP Swing and Blues
Sister clubs CP Swing and Drop Dead Blues offer dancing styles that are traditionally American.
Agricultural science sophomore Jennifer Apland is in charge of advertising for both clubs. She said she joined the swing club after watching them at club showcase her freshman year.
“I fell in love with it from the very beginning,” Apland said.
CP Swing focuses on teaching the style of Lindy Hop, which was popular in the 1940s, while Drop Dead Blues teaches blues dancing.
Apland said she thinks Lindy Hop is unique from any other style of dance, which is why she finds it so enjoyable.
“Every type of dance has its own style,” Apland said. “But swing and Lindy Hop are all about laughing and being silly.”
The club’s lessons don’t require any experience and participants don’t need to bring a partner. Drop Dead Blues holds free lessons and social dancing every Saturday night in building 5, room 225 at 8 p.m., while CP Swing holds $3 lessons every Sunday at 1 p.m. and social dancing at 3 p.m.
CP Swing also visits the Madonna Inn every Monday night to freestyle dance and showcase their skills.
Students can get more information from the clubs’ Instagram page, @cpswingandblues.
“Try it out,” Apland said. “You don’t realize what you’re missing until you start dancing.”
Cal Poly Country Line Dancing Club
Many students eagerly wait for Thursday and Saturday nights to go to The Graduate to line dance with friends. However, it can be difficult to follow along with challenging line dances that casual dancers aren’t familiar with.
The Cal Poly Country Line Dancing Club offers on-campus workshops in addition to their lessons Thursday nights at The Graduate.
Graphic communication sophomore Leah Kopp was unsure whether to join Line Dancing Club at first.
“My freshman year, I went to The Grad and didn’t know the dances,” Kopp said. “I saw the club at club showcase and I decided to join.”
The club holds their workshops in building 5, room 225 every Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., where they teach the dances performed at The Graduate. Though the club teaches partner patterns during their workshops, Kopp said students are not required to bring a partner with them. The workshops cost $2 for non-club members and are free for members. Kopp recommends that students attend workshops to learn more about line dancing.
Kopp also said the club holds four barn dances a year, where they teach for a longer period of time.
“Those are a great opportunity to learn,” Kopp said. “We teach for two hours.”
For more information, visit the club’s Facebook page, Cal Poly Country Line Dancing Club.
Students hoping to cover several ballroom styles are able to do so with CP Ballroom.
CP Ballroom president Amberley Powell joined the club during her first year at Cal Poly. She said she had never danced before coming to Cal Poly, but was convinced to join the club and the competitive team after interviewing the former president of the club for an English assignment.
“Ballroom dancing is unique because of number of dances we get to learn and enjoy,” electrical engineering junior Powell said. “Instead of focusing on just one dance, we teach everything from Waltz and Tango to Hustle and West Coast Swing.”
Students can learn these styles, along with an array of others, with or without a partner every Thursday night in building 5, room 225 for free. Intermediate lessons start at 7 p.m., beginner lessons start at 8 p.m. and social dancing begins at 9 p.m.
Powell said she believes the club has helped her socialize with others on campus.
“I find it a great way to push myself to socialize more and meet new people,” Powell said. “I feel as an engineer I tend to be more introverted, and the structure of ballroomhelps me meet wonderful people and get out several nights a week.”
Students can find more information on the club’s website, calpolyballroom.org.