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Jamaican born Mr. Tony Chambers, who has made a name for himself as a teacher of salsa in the United Kingdom (UK), wants to put Jamaica on the map as a place for aficionados of the popular Latin music and dance form in the UK.
Salsa vacation tours are popular with the growing number of salsa practitioners across the UK and Europe and Mr. Chambers is seeking to tap into this market and has organised a salsa tour of the island for May 2010.
Jamaica already has a small number of salsa enthusiasts and with the tour, Mr. Chambers wants to introduce party-loving salsa aficionados to the joys of a Jamaican vacation and help to popularise this music and dance form in the island.
Mr. Chambers is well aware that Jamaica is the home of reggae and its many dance forms, but he is confident that salsa and Jamaica are a good blend.
“Jamaica is just down the road from Cuba (the home of salsa) and Jamaicans have the right vibe. We have one of the friendliest cultures in the world, we have the right climate and Jamaicans love to dance and can dance,” he said.
The salsa tour of Jamaica will involve salsa classes, beach parties in Montego Bay and there are plans for a free show in Ocho Rios featuring top professional instructors. Mr. Chambers hopes to meet and dance with Jamaican salsa dancers.
His goal for the salsa tour is that the participants will become ambassadors, spreading the word about Jamaica.
“We plan to make this an annual event in the month of May, so my dream is to see hundreds and hundreds of people going to Jamaica for a salsa holiday. They (salsa enthusiasts) like to travel to different exotic places. I know they will have a great welcome in Jamaica and we also have the support of the Jamaica Tourist Board and this should be a feather in Jamaica’s cap,” he said.
Mr. Chambers, who was born in Kingston, grew up in Hope Bay Portland with his aunt and uncle, who ran the local ice cream parlour. He moved to the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s to join his parents and complete his education.
After a period in auto mechanics, car sales and as a race car driver in both Jamaica and the UK, Mr. Chambers took up salsa in 1991 and his love affair with this dance form blossomed.
“I always loved dancing and salsa is very technical, relaxing and enjoyable. When you go to salsa, there is no standing around, everybody interacts with everybody and you have every nation, every size. It’s an absolute melting pot of people. Everyone dances with everyone,” he enthused.
This love for salsa led him to become part of Vivalasalsa, which conducts a series of dance events and formal dance classes across London.
“This came about because people started asking me to show them dance steps and I started to teach them what I knew. Vivalasalsa is not just about learning to dance it’s also about socialising, making friends and relaxing. It’s a friendly relaxed atmosphere,” he tells JIS News.

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