Valencia is an interesting city; you go out for a relaxing cup of coffee in a typical bicycle repair shop and you end up in conversation with a Polish couple who teach salsa dancing. Run of the mill really!
Peter Nowak and Joanna Ruszczyk also think Valencia is an interesting city, and they were very careful before finally choosing it to be their home.
In fact, the first time Peter came here he didn’t much like the city. At the time he was an Erasmus student in 2002 in Madrid and came over for a day to see the Fallas. The Turia Park was undergoing its transformation at the time and so he wasn’t impressed by the unfinished product.
However, on another visit while on a para-gliding holiday in 2011 in Alicante, the park and the City of Arts and Sciences were finished in all their glory and he was amazed by the change; and so that’s why ‘eSalsa’ found a home in Valencia rather than another part of Spain; that and the beach!
www.eSalsa.net to give it its full name, is part of a project that Peter and Joanna run and, as the name implies, it is a ready mix of salsa related projects and is an e-business, Peter being a computer engineer by profession, with his own website www.IT.eSalsa.net from where he does all those incomprehensible things that computer engineers do, speaking a language that nobody over 40 understands.
Salsa of course means ‘sauce’ and the project combines an interesting list of ingredients. To begin with they teach salsa, and I think it was Gandhi who said, “if you want to dance Salsa, find a Pole,” although I might be mistaken.
Their website is a must for anyone anywhere in the world who loves Salsa and who wants to know where there is an event; a club, a restaurant or even a Salsa congress going on. And if you doubt that Salsa lovers hold congresses, then you should know that from the 4th to the 7th of December there is one in Valencia at the Hotel Expo.
Peter and Joanna moved to Valencia in March 2014, but that decision was a long time coming. Peter is from Warsaw and Joanna from Olsztyn, a town which apparently specializes in impossible to pronounce names.
After graduating as a computer engineer in 1997 Peter visited Malaga in 1998 to learn Spanish and his Sevillana instructor introduced him to Salsa. The following year he experienced the genuine article in Cuba.
The new millennium saw him teaching it back in Poland and one of his students in 2011 was Joanna.
Joanna had studied German and Project Management and was working for multinational called Accenture, but wanted to do something more rewarding and to be in control.
So, she quit her job in 2012 and tried to make a living as a photographer and German teacher. Once again, Salsa is all about mixing.
eSalsa combines both their talents, as Joanna takes care of graphic design and photography for their sections of Salsa events happening all over the world.
She also does non-salsa related photography work and can be seen and contacted on her web site www.RizArte.com
Salsa is apparently becoming increasingly popular, although those who practice it are divided into two camps: the Cubans and the New York/Los Angeles factions.
Peter and Joanna belong to the Cuban school, whose dances are circular, whereas the North Americans dance in a straight line.
Valencia would seem to have various locations for dancing Salsa, such as Lounge 54, Aché, Azucar and Agora.
In any one of these places you might run into Peter and Joanna, who could teach you to dance in any one of the five languages they speak between them (Joanna also speaks Portuguese), although they won’t be able to fix your bicycle; yet.