Norwegians love to social dance. I am often amazed at how many dance places there are in big cities, country towns and even coastal villages. Norway has its own traditional dance that involves a short man in a suit kicking a hat out of a maiden’s hand who is standing above him on a chair – very impressive. Norway also has a collection of sequenced country dances. Nowadays, the most popular dance to learn, outside of Oslo, is the Folk Swing (or North Norwegian Swing). It is a country-bumpkin version of a Rock-a-Billy Jive from the 50s. However, in the last ten years, Salsa has made its way to the Arctic North through the likes of immigrants. Now practically every town has at least one Salsa dance school.
Tromsø has a thriving dance community. You can learn salsa, rueda, merengue, bachata and cha cha cha from the Salsa clubs; Folk Swing, Bug and Boogie Woogie from the Swing clubs; and Norwegian Folk Tango, Argentine/Neo Tango and Finnish Tango from the Tangos clubs. Of course there are the regular Ballroom clubs in town too. Driv, the student club house, is the home of the student social dance club. Tromsø also has a Flamenco club and a Belly Dance club.
On any given weeknight there are always a great selection of dance classes to go to and always dance parties happening through out week. Tromsø has the northern-most Salsa Congress organised by Salsademika, the No Siesta, Fiesta! festival, which offers a great array of Latin American dance, and various Folk Swing dance galas. There are numerous workshops and courses by visiting artists, national and international, and Dansens Dag (International Dance Day) is a time where all the studios get together and make the city come alive with movement and music.
This past weekend was the Salsa Treff (Salsa Meet) organised by Salsa i Nord. Over three days there were ten courses with national instructors in Salsa, Bachata, Cha Cha Cha and Rueda, two dance nights with DJ and a live Latin band and all-you-can-eat waffles! (Dancing for three days straight you need to fill up on all that jammy-goodness.)
Hats off to the organisers of the Salsa Treff. I had a great time teaching and meeting all the North Norwegian Salseros – and, of cause, ‘wiggling it, just a little bit’.
For more information on what’s happening in Tromsø go to the local cultural news hub: Tromsø By (in Norwegian)