Bilingual Stories: An Interview with Nancy Salsa (Sentimiento Dance Company)
Nancy shares how she learned English using music and why learning Spanish can enhance your dance experience.
Nancy Salsa of Sentimiento Dance Company in Baltimore, Maryland.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born and raised in Santiago, Dominican Republic. I moved to Baltimore in 2008.
Yo soy Cibaeña, oriunda de Santiago, Republica Dominicana. Me mude a la ciudad de Baltimore, en Maryland desde el 2008.
Q: How many languages do you speak?
A: 2, I speak Spanish and English.
Q: What role, if any, did music play in your learning process?
A: Music played a huge factor in my language learning. My English teacher would supplement the lessons with a song. During each class we would analyze the lyrics and using the dictionary, we would piece together the story or what the song was about.We also worked on pronunciation and grammar using this same format. I remember looking forward to each lesson and really enjoyed it. Focusing on the music made it easy for me to learn.
Q: How did you learn English?
used to attend a weekend English program in the Dominican Republic. My
mother insisted I learn before arriving in the US. Looking back I can
see that she wanted to make sure I had more opportunities than she did
since she didn’t speak the language.
Tomé clases en una escuela de fín
de semana mientras vivía en Santo Domingo. Mi madre insistió que tomara
clases antes de llegar para asi tener mas oportunidades.
Q: When did you start dancing and for what inspired you to get started?
took lessons here and there for a while, but started dancing
consistently in 2008 when I moved to Baltimore. At the time I was in a
rough spot in life dealing with a close family member’s illness. Dancing
offered an outlet for self expression, creativity and fun. I was also
inspired by my love for music. Music has always been a part of my
life-my father plays the guitar and I used to be a choir singer in
church while growing up.
bailar en el 2008 cuando me mude a la ciudad de Baltimore. Estaba
buscando como distraerme ya que tenia un familiar muy enfermo. El baile
me ofrecio la oportunidad de divertirme y distraerme de una manera sana.
Mi padre es musico y yo era cantante de un coro asi que la musica
siempre ha sido muy importante en mi vida.
Q: Do you think speaking Spanish can make you a better dancer?
A:It enhances the experience, absolutely! I
believe when you can understand what the songs talk about, you can
bring that out in your dancing. Also, salsa is a Latin art form. I
believe it’s important for people to understand the stories being told
in the songs.
Creo que la abilidad de bailar no depende de si
uno entiende el idioma o no. Pero, si creo que cuando uno puede
entender de lo que hablan las canciones, la conexion con la musica es
doble. La Salsa es una expresion cultural, es muy bonito entender el
contexto de donde nace este arte.
Q: If you could
give any advice to a fellow salsero/salsera that wants to learn Spanish
but feels like it’s not possible, what would you tell them?
to immerse yourself in it! The more you HAVE to use it, the better. I
also recommend learning through music. As a salsa lover there is already
a connection there, so use it to your advantage. Understanding how
words are used to convey ideas in songs is a great way to pick up new
Q: Now for the tough question…what is your all-time favorite song?
is very hard for me to pick a favorite song! If I had to pick,
Incondicional by Prince Royce is at the top of the list. This was
Sentimiento’s first dance routine.
Es muy difícil
para mi elegir solamente una cancion. Si tuviera que elegir
Incondicional de Prince Royce estaría en esta lista ya que fue la
primera rutina de Sentimiento.
Q: Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to tell the dance community about?
has a few upcoming projects with our ladies teams, and we are looking
for some good guys that may be interested in joining us. Check us out at
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¡Hola! My name is Tamara Marie. I’m a language coach specializing in brain-friendly methods to learn foreign languages faster. I speak English (US native), Spanish (advanced), and Brazilian Portuguese (beginner). I’m a Latin music & dance addict and passionate about helping people learn languages.