There is one dance style that inspires Salsabor Director Raquel more than any other and makes her infinitely happy. She loves it so much that she flew specifically to New York last year to learn a special routine that she wants to teach you over three days starting this Saturday.

The dance is Pachanga and the routine choreographed by internationally renowned Pachanga queen Melissa Rosado.

You may remember Melissa from the Canberra Latin Dance Festival in 2013 (that’s her performance up top).

“It was my absolute pleasure to bring Melissa Rosado, one of the female dancers who most inspired me with Pachanga, to the Festival,” Raquel said.

It was during the festival that Raquel was able to really refine her technique under Melissa’s instruction. And she became inspired to really push her Pachanga to a whole new level.

Where the love began

Although Melissa was her ultimate inspiration to grow her expertise in the dance, it was a workshop with the Master Eddie Torres at a dance festival in the UK almost 10 years ago where she first came across Pachanga. And it took an additional five years before she started practicing and learning it consistently… via YouTube.

“At that time I learnt it mainly via YouTube video clips as there wasn’t anyone who was really teaching it,” Raquel said. “I would view countless videos of Eddie Torres, Melissa Rosado, Jorjet Alcocer, Griselle Ponce, Vito and Stefania, and many more amazing artists.”

After she’d developed her Pachanga as far as she could on her own, Raquel decided that she desperately wanted Melissa to teach her a Pachanga choreography that she could at first perform as a solo and then teach to a larger group.

Enter her trip to New York to learn a routine from Melissa.

“I subsequently performed this routine at 30 weeks pregnant, and I can’t wait to perform it again ‘sans big belly’, and with a larger group at this years Canberra Latin Dance Festival,” she said. “I really hope to make Melissa proud.”

The joy radiates through the video!

As well as making her endlessly happy, Pachanga also reminds Raquel of her travels to the UK, and New York, and with it, some of the best dance experiences of her life.

“It takes me to a really happy place where all that matters is the ultimate rush of being able to execute a Pachanga shine from the heart.”

So, where does Pachanga actually come from?

“The Pachanga rhythm developed as an offshoot from the original charanga music played in Cuba and around the Caribbean since the end of the 18th century,” Raquel said.

“It is a style that was popularised in the 1950’s by Cubans who brought it to the US. The rhythm is harder and jazzier than normal salsa, which often has catchy extra rhythms and the clanging sounds of the cowbell. It is closely linked to charanga music, which contains the flute.”

The Pachanga dancers of today, you could say, owe it all to Eddie Torres for not only popularising Pachanga, but for also playing a key role in developing a very effective method of teaching it.

Happy Pachanga

Here’s Eddie!

He is responsible for teaching many salsa artists who have then gone on to teach Pachanga at dance festivals around the world.

Why dance Pachanga?

If you’re not feeling the love from watching that video, here’s Raquel’s response to that question.

“Everyone who I know who has learnt or dances Pachanga, including me will tell you how happy it makes them feel,” she said. “The music plays a key role in it for sure. It is such a happy upbeat rhythm and makes you want to break out and dance!”

Raquel's happy place, Pachanga

Those who have been dancing salsa for a while will also simply enjoy the challenge of learning and mastering this style.

“I had reached a slightly plateaued moment in my dancing when I discovered Pachanga,” Raquel said. “Since then, I have never had a dull moment in my dancing. I’m forever challenged and thirsty to learn more!”

Want to learn this beautiful routine and take your dancing to a whole new level?

If you have around 1.5 years experience dancing Salsa, you will love this course.

Reserve your spot now.

Raquel is also looking forward to bringing this beautiful piece to life with a team at the Canberra Latin Dance Festival.

Taking part in a showcase is optional and you are still welcome to join the course even if you are only looking to improve and learn more Pachanga.

The workshop is over three days at the Salsabor Dance Studio and costs $220.

Sat 13 June – 10am -2pm
Sat 20 June – 10am – 2pm
Fri 10 July – 6pm – 10pm

That link again to learn the happiest Latin dance with Raquel.