THE 2021-22 COMMITTEE MEMBERS ARE:
Maya Blanco Bilbao
I was born in Venezuela where I was constantly surrounded by bachata, salsa and merengue. After moving to the UK, I lost contact with my Latin roots, except for the few dance lessons I had with my dad. When I arrived at university, I wanted to get back into dancing and so I decided to join the society. I realised that whether it is salsa or bachata, it doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or an expert, the only thing that matters is the fun you have dancing with other people. This is why I decided to run for president. You don’t have to be amazing to come to our classes (you will probably see me in the beginner sessions), you just need to be ready take part and get involved in a very different kind of dance.
I study French and Spanish so I got interested in dancing when my Spanish teacher first played us a Romeo Santos song at school! When I saw there was a Salsa Society at Oxford I joined straight away, I was nervous starting as a beginner with absolutely no previous experience but lots of others are in the same position so you can learn together. Dancing is a great way to keep fit but also to make friends, and I’m really looking forward to our socials this year!
Hola! I’m Sankalp and I am studying for a DPhil in Psychology at Oxford. I had my first salsa dance back in school, but I formally started taking classes at the salsa soc at UCL. I’ve also taken lessons with Cornel and Rithika in Mumbai. Between salsa and bachata, I prefer Bachata because it’s, well, less tiring! I’m keen on supporting the dance community here at Oxford, and that’s why I’m helping with the finances!
Bachata Team Captain
Filip Ferdinand Falk Hartelius
Salsa Team Captain
Role: General dogsbody/executive without portfolio.
Professor in Computer Vision/Machine Learning.Passionate about dancing, I have been involved with the Oxford University Salsa Society for several years, providing continuity, and interested to promote dance at Oxford, especially BSK: Bachata, Salsa, Kizomba. There is a lot of evidence that dance is an excellent stress relief and that learning complex exercises promotes growth of new brain cells, as well as improving all round fitness-a perfect addition to any study/research programme!!
I started dancing Cuban Salsa Rueda at Cranfield University. After that I enrolled in a Cyber-Security programme at Oxford Brookes University. In Oxford I found a thriving Oxford University Salsa Society that organises various events and classes.
I have always loved dancing since I was small, and I’ve now been dancing salsa for over 10 years! During this time I have been in various salsa performance teams and have performed at exciting UK salsa congresses and parties. I am now part of Alma de Pexava, a semi-professional team in London. I have also taught salsa (and a little bachata), mostly when I was at university in Scotland, where I set up a salsa society. I love dancing, the energy, music and social aspects are unbeatable! You are likely to spot me on the dance floor of the awesome parties held in and around Oxford.
Gwyneth is our DJ for the weekly socials every Wednesday at the Retreat.
Gwyneth started dancing 10 years ago and became doubly hooked when moving to London and discovering it’s huge and vibrant dance scene, quickly developing a reputation for always knowing where to go for the next best party. She has had a passion for latin music since she started dancing and listens to it constantly off the dance floor too. Hailing from the London salsa scene, she plays a blend of the best classic and contemporary salsa and is always on the lookout for new hit songs.
When teaching salsa, Gwyneth focuses on building an excellent lead and follow technique to get you ready for the dance floor, and for every move your partner throws your way!