Sergeant brings rhythm to Robins

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Every Tuesday night at Robins, Tech. Sgt. Sa'Rita Williams teaches a dance class that takes students from one side of the world to the other.

In the first segment of the class she teaches what is advertised as a salsa class, but she said it is more accurately described as a Latin dance class. That's because salsa is just one of the Latin styles that she covers.

Then she moves across the ocean to teach belly dancing, which originates from the Mediterranean. The men tend to only be interested in the Latin dance class, but Sergeant Williams noted that men can belly dance and it's done in a masculine style different from female belly dancers.

Even the Latin class has more female participants than males, which is typical of most dance classes.

"Men are shy," Sergeant Williams said, "really, really shy. My own husband really wouldn't do this."

She learned Latin dance growing up in Brooklyn because her father is a native of Puerto Rico. She learned belly dancing at Robins after she transferred here over a year ago and began taking the classes. She eventually took over both the classes from the previous instructor and has been doing it for about a year.

The classes cost $40 to attend four sessions, and that includes both the Latin and belly dancing instruction. Sergeant Williams is accustomed to working with a class with varying skill levels, so students can start any time they want.

C.J. Holmes and his wife, Staff Sgt. Charisse Holmes, have been taking the class for three weeks. Mr. Holmes said he and his wife started taking the class because she is Hispanic and they like to go to a lot of Latin clubs.

Although he had not been especially crazy about dancing before, Mr. Holmes said he has enjoyed learning Latin dance.

"It's pretty easy," he said. "She's a good teacher."

Riza Dostie said she attends the class because it's fun and good exercise.

"I like it a lot," she said. "You meet a lot of people."

Sergeant Williams said the classes are good for people who are just getting started with exercise because it's a good workout without being overly strenuous.

This is the slow time of year for the class, with about eight to 10 people in each session, but Sergeant Williams said it typically goes up to about 20 during the summer as more people are interested in heading out to clubs and dancing.

At the end of each month she takes the class to Emilio's Cuban Café, which has a Latin band each Saturday. That's sort of the test for the class to try out their skills in public.

The Latin class begins at 5:30 p.m. each Tuesday and the belly dancing class starts at 6:30 p.m. The classes are held in the community center at the Heritage Club. Students can sign up by calling the community center at 926-2105.