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How salsa dancing became the perfect partner for my studies

Taking a chance on the Students' Union Salsa Society transformed Sophie Mason's social life and studies at Bath.

Sophie sitting in a dance studio.
'Salsa has been incredible for my mental and social wellbeing. It's given me the positive mindset I needed to stay productive in my studies.'

Sophie is a student on the MEng (Hons) Civil and Architectural Engineering course at Bath. From 2023 entry onwards, the course is called MEng (Hons) Structural and Architectural Engineering.

First steps

Before university, I had never found a hobby I was particularly interested in. But, I decided to find an activity outside of my studies; something to give me a break from my academic workload. I'd not done any dancing before, but, after visiting the Groups Fair, the Salsa Society appealed to me. I decided to try it. This was the best decision I have ever made.

I started by coming to the Tuesday Taster Sessions and instantly fell in love with salsa. So much so that I signed up to take part in the November show at the Edge arts centre. While practising the routine, I made loads of connections with other members. My social circle grew, and that encouraged me to pursue salsa further.

Anything but routine

Salsa became a regular activity in my life at university. There were always new events to practise our dance skills and keep members engaged. I also began going to lessons at The Edge dance studio on Sundays. Learning from professional teachers, I started to develop my technique.

I've taken part in three dance shows so far, performing five different routines. I even choreographed one of them. Meanwhile, salsa social dancing has given me the opportunity to meet many new people who enjoy the dance as much as I do.

A harmonious partnership

The challenge with any extracurricular activity is finding the time. Studying at university is very different from A levels. There's a greater focus on independent study so you have to have the self-discipline to keep up.

To begin with, I worried that taking an extracurricular activity may hold me back. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The sessions and lessons fit well around my lectures. Booking spaces at the Edge (like the dance studio) for practice was also simple to work into my schedule. Salsa has been incredible for my mental and social wellbeing and has given me the positive mindset I needed to stay productive in my studies.

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