Nepal’s first international Salsa Festival

Yoga Retreats and TTC in Nepal with yoga alliance certification, yoga teacher training, Retreats and Workshops Varanasi and Everest, Kathmandu Valley with Yogi-Nomad

Salsa dancing first hit the Nepali dance scene roughly a decade ago, but this year offered proof that the dance form is more than just a fad. Salsa is here to stay.
The Salsa Dance Academy, a Kathmandu-based dance studio, celebrated the growth of Latin dance in Nepal by hosting the country’s First International Salsa Festival, held November 19-22.

“Salsa is now popular in Nepal, but it took a long time,” said Binayek Shrestha, founder and CEO of the Salsa Dance Academy.

When the Salsa Dance Academy first opened in Bhatbateni, Kathmandu, in 2004, it comprised a two-person team teaching a handful of students. Shrestha and colleague Katia Verreault hosted salsa parties once every three months at the now-closed Latin Quarter Salsa Bar. Today, the academy employs 10 instructors and hosts a dance party every week at a rotation of Kathmandu-based venues. 

Salsa in Nepal has certainly come a long way.

The First International Salsa Festival featured four days of dance workshops taught by local and foreign dance instructors, including big names in the Latin dance world, such as Susana Montero from Spain. Nightly dance parties followed the first three days of workshops. The fourth day of the festival was held in Pokhara in an effort to expand dance awareness outside of Kathmandu.

Although the festival focused on salsa, the workshops spanned a wide variety of dance forms. Students came to learn hip hop, belly dancing, cha cha, swing, and tango, just to name just few. 

“The fact that it was the first international dance festival attracted me,” said 19-year-old Chhoksum Bista. “And I wanted to get exposed to different cultural styles of dancing.”

But the festival is not just a chance for people to learn new forms of dance, Shrestha said. It’s bigger than that.

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