HOUSTON, Texas -- The first salsa studio in Houston is coming up on its 25th anniversary. Strictly Street Salsa is a studio that focuses on authentic Latin dance, teaching Afro-Latin movement in addition to salsa.
"Salsa today is a way of identity for Latinos all around the world," said Raul Orlando Edwards, who founded Simply Street Salsa in 1998. "You can find Latino people from any country and they come together and they're unified by salsa, so salsa is a source of unity but also a source of enjoyment and celebration."
Edwards, a Panamanian-Jamaican artist, first started teaching salsa after struggling to find authentic Latin dance classes when he first moved to Houston.
"One of the things I began to see was how people were teaching Latin dancing," said Edwards. "And it made me realize that there was little to no regard to the cultural aspect of the dances. So at that point I decided I could do two things: I could be bitter, or become better, and so I started calling and saying, hey, I'm going to start teaching and I created a flier. So that's how I started. That was January of 1998. And it just took off."
Over the years, Strictly Street Salsa also started the city's Afro-Latin Festival and Salsa y Salud, Texas' biggest live salsa and dance show.
For more on classes and workshops, visit strictlystreetsalsa.com.