“Lucie asked me to take a Latin dance class in 2001 while she was doing a minor in Spanish at Saint-Thomas university in Fredericton,” says Salsa Yukon cofounder Michel Morris.

“My first session was painful and to be honest I just wanted to play hockey,” he laughingly admits.

By the time he moved to the Yukon from New Brunswick with his wife, Lucie Desaulniers, salsa was in his blood.

“My favourite thing about salsa is dancing to a song that I love with my partner, Lucie,” he says. “It’s an indescribable feeling.”

So much so that his only trepidation about moving here was that he couldn’t find anywhere in Whitehorse to dance salsa. That’s when Desaulniers had the idea of founding Salsa Yukon in order to teach and promote Latin dance in the territory.

The trend caught on and the couple have been teaching eager Yukoners to Salsa ever since.

“People in the Yukon are really enthusiastic to learn and open to try new things,” says Morris. “My favourite thing about teaching salsa is to help people learn, have fun and connect with other people.”

Next Saturday they’re hosting their semi-regular Salsa Social at the Rising Sun Lounge, which is on Wood St. between Front and Second Avenue.

“Wear comfortable shoes that slide,” Morris says. “Bring a bottle of water – and an open mind and positive energy.”

Morris says that Latin dance is a great way to connect with people, noting that many newcomers to the Territory have used Salsa Yukon as a way to build community in their new home. “It’s a safe place where people can learn and have fun and not feel pressured. You come here you do the best you can, you have fun, you dance. And they become your little dance family.”

Morris and Desaulniers can be credited with popularizing Latin dance in the Yukon and making it more accessible to everyone.

“When we started there were underground salsa parties, but you had to be part of that network. Since we’ve been teaching, people have started to DJ themselves and some former students are teaching private classes. Our events are well attended.”

The classes are open to people of all ages.

“We’ve had people that were 15 and people that were 87,” says Morris.

Morris says he’s excited that Vicki Durant, the owner the The Rising Sun Lounge, is hosting the Salsa Saturday event this month. “We are really grateful to Antoinette’s, Burnt Toast Café and The Wheelhouse Restaurant for pairing up with us to host Salsa Nights over those last seven years.”

The event starts at 8p.m. on Saturday, April 8th, and is open to everyone. The Rising Sun Lounge is located at 102 Wood St. For more information check out the Salsa Yukon Facebook page.