Hot, Latin dancing keeps her calm, cool and connected

At first she was intimidated by it. To step on to the dance floor and feel the beat of salsa music pulsing through her veins used to scare her, but now she wouldn’t be without it.

Lexie Valle, a senior speech major that graduates in December, said she had first been exposed to salsa dancing when she moved from Mexico with her family and her mom made friends with people from Central and South America. “I was 4 or 5, and to see them dancing scared me,” Valle said. Valle added that even though she had always had a natural ability to dance it was something about the way the people twisted and turned that made her a leery about this sensual form of dance. But once her friends made her go to the Mad Frog, a club in Clifton, on a Monday night in February for Latin night Valle said she understood what the excitement was all about. “When I dance it’s such an adrenaline rush,” Valle said. “It brings out the side of me that is squashed by school, and work.”

“It allows this artistic side to come out of me,” Valle added, “It makes me feel alive.”Another positive thing that salsa dancing has done for Valle is that it has allowed her to get connected with her Hispanic roots and heritage which she had lost over the years, she said. “We moved from L.A., which is rich with Hispanic culture to here, where I didn’t see it,” Valle said. ” That encouraged me to connect more with that part of (my) culture and dancing (salsa) just did it for me.” Valle said once she was out on the dance floor she learned from others how to salsa dance. “(I) can watch people and learn from them,” Valle said. “Everyone has their own personal style, and when you dance you have to adapt to their style.”Adapting to a person’s style is hard, especially if a person is used to being in control. At Northern Kentucky University Valle said she takes a class in modern dance when you are in control of your body.

“It’s kind of hard to let someone else control the movements of my body,” Valle said. Once she gets used to the way her partner controls her body she said she starts to predict his movements which, in her opinion, is not necessarily a positive thing. Valle said that at first when she started dancing she would turn one way, while her partner tried to turn her the other. “I think my biggest challenge is trying not to predict,” Valle said.Even though she still faces challenges in dancing Valle said she can look back and see how much of a difference a few months has made. “I looked ridiculous at first,” Valle said. “Now I see people watching me, and I’m like, ‘That is so cool’.” With this in mind Valle said she realized one thing.

Valle said when she is not working at Citibank, or going to school, she is always doing something that incorporates dancing.

And even though she visits places like the Mad Frog, the Havana Martini Club, and Cadillac Ranch she still has one favorite place where she likes to dance. “The grocery store because the floors are wet,” Valle said. “I know people think I’m crazy but I have fun.”

Fun for Valle, is all that matters.