Viva la Salsa

Liju Cherian –
Muscat, Feb 17 –

IF you want to learn some groovy Latin Salsa, Bachata or Rueda moves, then learn from Thuwaini al Harthy. As one who single handedly started Oman Salsa and Zouk Group in Muscat, Thuwaini is striving his best to put Oman on the world salsa map.
As he gets set for Oman’s first bootcamp next month at the Al Nahda Resort, he rightfully claims to live the Latin life in Oman. He is credited to be the only local trainer in the Gulf region and his passion to spread salsa rhythm across is remarkable.
Friends call him ‘EzT’ an acronym for easy going and friendly. They hardly see him getting upset as he goes about his things smoothly. As one passionate about salsa, which he started in Muscat with a few salsa aficionados who found each other and began teaching privately at first and later in public.
Says Thuwaini: “Salsa in Oman has become a ‘must do’ aspect and is growing rapidly.” He spreads the message of dance and follows a smooth easy style, joyful for the eyes to watch, synchronising with the beat of music. He runs classes simultaneously for absolute beginners, newcomers, and fledglings.
About the teaching methods Thuwaini says: “For those who started salsa the numbers 123567 rings a bell which repeats in their head a million times… we teach 6-7 basics namely ‘Mambo, side step, diagonal, back step, right and left turn, also sometimes cross body lead. We teach the beginners seven basic steps and counts are important.’
Thuwaini who loves to explore, learns much from his travels. He visits many new places around the world and his fervour for dance knows no bounds. Oman Salsa Group (OSG) which he started in 2003 takes in between 10-60 members to different festivals around the world each year.
His friends say his cool nature on the dance floor brings out the dancer and the student in him the best which leads them to fall in love with salsa. “He is well-known for his unique style of teaching, making any difficult move look so easy. Students don’t just learn salsa in Thuwaini’s class, they have fun, make friends, laugh out loud, becoming part of a ‘salsa way of life.”
Thuwaini was born and brought up in Oman. From a very young age, he was a passionate dancer, be it contemporary, hip hop, break dance or Lambada and had no formal training having been brought up in an environment filled with art, music and dance. His teen years were time for dance parties and social gatherings with him being an active participant.
Salsa was his first love and initiation as first dance. Since their introduction in 2003, he started exploring the world of salsa, teaching himself and travelling to learn from the best. His free time was devoted to watching YouTube and DVDs of different artistes. He was able to develop his talent and went on to create a unique style.
He has taken classes with numerous teachers around the world during salsa festivals in Cyprus, France, Nepal, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Malta, India, Romania and England. Salsa experts especially Eddie the Freak, Oliver and Luda, Susana Montero, Magna Gopal, Nunu and Vanda and Anthony Persaud, inspired him.
As organiser and instructor, Thuwaini founded the Oman Salsa Group (OSG), teaching a small group of enthusiasts and spreading the love for this vibrant dance. OSG has grown in leaps and bounds since its humble beginning and is the largest group of salsa dancers in Oman. Today, OSG is a community that is strong across borders having taught more than 15,000 students from different nationalities.
He performed his first international show at the Dubai International Salsa Festival 2008 (A Romantic Walk) which was broadcast as an international TV dance show. Thuwaini’s passion and dedication continues to inspire many to this day and over the years, his various dance partners have honed their skills and grown to be better dancers.
‘The Oman Salsa & Zouk Group is something for everyone,’ says Thuwaini. It’s a must do in Oman by popular demand. Their weekly classes promise the best gathering. Its full of activity and fun, that one can ever have, along the multi diversified instructors and DJs from different parts of the world. This brings salsa enthusiasts, non-salsa folks and families under one roof. It is a chance to learn different forms and styles of dance for all levels, may it be an absolute beginner or advance stage.
The maiden Oman International Salsa and Dance Festival 2011 was a mind-blowing experience for Thuwaini. He has since then participated at festivals in Cyprus, Paris, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Beirut, Malta, Italy and Egypt. The yearly festivals has grown to promise a gathering of some of the best professional artists, performers, instructors and DJs from different parts of the world, bringing salsa enthusiasts and non-salsa family under one roof.