‘If you want to join a big fraternity you need to speak Dutch’

When outgoing SoSalsa! President Shivani Singh came to study at TU Delft in 2018 she struggled to connect, but joining SoSalsa! helped her.

SoSalsa! President Shivani Singh. (Photo: Suzan van Werkhoven)

“I study Computer Science and Engineering and I’m in the fourth year of my bachelor’s. I’ve been dancing basically my whole life. I did jazz dance, belly dancing and some other styles as well. When I came to TU Delft, I had never done partner dancing before so I really wanted to join either Blue Suede Shoes or SoSalsa!, which are the ballroom and Latin dancing associations at TU Delft. In 2018 I was at the OWee and I was struggling a little bit because I am not Dutch. If you want to join a big fraternity you need to speak Dutch. I had a great chat with the SoSalsa! people and I felt welcome.

I didn’t really join for the dancing at first but I just really loved the atmosphere. Then I started getting into the dancing when I became a member. I was very active on committees and loved sharing my appreciation for the association with everyone I met. I was the ‘promo girl’ in my first year so I was always asking people if they were following us on Instagram or asking if they wanted to come to a party.

‘It can be quite scary coming to a new place if you don’t know how to dance’

As a board member I thought I could actually make a difference and involve more people, like being open to new members while also giving old members a chance to develop their skills. That was my main motivation for becoming a board member. It’s the end of my board year and a new board will start at the end of this month. If you’re interested, you can get involved in many different ways. It can be quite scary coming to a new place if you don’t know how to dance, especially if there are a lot of people around. You can come to our free try-outs where there are a lot of beginners. We will be holding them from 6 to 9 September and you can try out all four of the styles that we teach: salsa, bachata, Rueda and kizomba. There’s no cost and no commitment, you can just come and see if you like it and if you click with the people. If you already know how to dance and you have experience, you are welcome to immediately join at a higher level. And everyone can come to our socials, our parties which are very low key.

I think in the Netherlands it can be quite hard to communicate sometimes if you’re from somewhere else. Dance, in my opinion, is a different way of communication. It’s a different way to meet people, it’s an experience where language doesn’t matter anymore, so I think it’s a great reason to start learning salsa.”

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Heather Montague / Freelance writer

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