NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Dance lessons to unite NMSU international, domestic communities

Beginning June 1, members of the New Mexico State University community, including students from all parts of the globe, will come together for free salsa dance lessons offered by an NMSU alumnus.

Leonard Thurman, who graduated from NMSU last year and was a member of the NMSU DanceSport Company, will offer the “Groovin Monday Mashup” lessons at 7 p.m. every Monday, except July 6, in Room 229 of the James B. Delamater Activity Center, 1600 Stewart St. The hour-long lessons will be offered through Aug. 3.

The idea for the lessons came about after Thurman, also known as “The Groove Merchant,” approached Cornell Menking, associate provost for NMSU’s International and Border Programs, for help in raising funds to attend a “Black Belt Salsa” instructor training in Denver.

“Leonard is one of our success stories, having studied Chinese at two of our partner universities,” Menking said. “Eager to help him, I thought I’d make this a win-win deal and asked him to provide salsa lessons for our international students and encourage them to invite domestic students. I’m always looking for ways to get these two populations to integrate and I have seen salsa lessons be a very effective medium for that to happen, so I asked Leonard if I could pay him to do a set number of lessons this summer.”

Thurman said the idea for the lessons was also sparked by a group of Go Teacher scholars from Ecuador who wanted to learn how to dance salsa after watching one of Thurman’s classes. He regularly gives dance classes for the Las Cruces community.

“The goal is to bring the international students and the community together using dance as a fun medium to create a cross cultural experience,” Thurman said.

For more information, contact Guadalupe Magana at gmagana@nmsu.edu, or Thurman at live.move.groove@gmail.com.