Learning to bullfight and salsa dance

Learning more about the Spanish culture through traditions

Today at our group briefing, some students told us that they talked about Mario Casas, the star of the movie we watched the other day, in their language class. I’m very happy that the students seem to be enjoying their classes, especially conversation class, where the professors know how to focus on topics that the students find interesting. They all seem more confidant to use their Spanish than when they first arrived, which is also promising.

Plaza de Los Toros

After classes we went to “Plaza de Los Toros” where an accomplished bull fighter explained to us the theatrics of bullfighting. While inside the old arena of Salamanca he showed us the door where the bull comes out and the door a “torero” can leave from only when he has claimed both of the bull’s ears. He later did a demonstration of the art form, unfortunately not with a real bull, but a cart with a plastic bull head. The first cape was neon pink, but then there was a second red cape for when it was time to kill the bull. Afterwards we took turns to try out our “torero” skills. Sarah was the first volunteer, then Colton, Max, and Marya. Heather and I got to be fake bulls for Max and Marya. There are photos you can see below. We also had an opportunity to ask the “torero” questions and give him our opinions on bullfighting, all in Spanish of course. It turned into a discussion about the morality of it all. The “torero” was an interesting person, very elegant and prideful.

Learning to Salsa in Spain

After dinner we went to salsa lessons. Everyone dressed up, dresses, heels, and Max even wore a suit! The dance instructor, who reminded us of a Colombian Lionel Richie, danced on the stage in front of us, while we tried to follow along in 3 lines. Francesca and Hayley went on stage with him for a song, and then Monique, our professional salsa dancer, stayed on stage to help demonstrate the couples dancing. Our local leader, Patricia, helped teach some of the boys who were shy how to dance too. Max said afterwards, “I think I’m going to take lessons when I go home.” I bet they can’t wait for flamenco lessons!

– Kerry Tiedeman, Assistant US Leader

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