ADDIS ABABA, January 1, 2010 — It's a far cry from Ethiopia's traditional Eskista shoulder shake dance, but Salsa is sweeping Addis Ababa with aficionados twirling and spinning their way across the city's dance floors each night, reports AFP.
From just one Salsa school five years ago, started by a US-educated Ethiopian entrepreneur, some 10 more have sprouted in this city of five million people.
At a packed club, businessman Daniel Nigussie, jauntily clad in a white satin shirt and fedora, is getting ready to show off his latest moves with dancer partner Seble Asrat.
"I came here to win and I'm prepared for it," said Nigussie, who spends his days running a computer import company.
With their elaborate steps and twirls, Nigussie and Asrat's performance delights their fans. Like them, they have all recently taken up the dance which groups several different types of Afro-Cuban dances and music.
In addition to the new dance schools, a number of clubs have also started Salsa nights to cater to the growing number of enthusiasts, while training sessions attract at least 5O salseros each night.
Nigussie started learning Salsa a year ago and says his dance skills are getting better every day.
"It's the synergy, the intimacy that you enjoy more than anything else. It's also fun and entertaining for those watching" he explained to AFP.
"It's not easy at all, you need to be on the same wavelength with your partner at all times."
Asrat, glamorously dressed in a skimpy black-and-white dress and high heels, is equally keen.
"It was all by accident. I was invited to a party three years ago and found Latino music being danced to by most of my friends," said the 23-year-old.
"I've never looked back ever since. I've taken courses and I'm now competing."