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First-time UKA Dance medals for Rueda de Casino

Posted on July 17, 2015


weblondonschool2Salsa takes a step forward this month as the London School of Salsa dancers pick up their UKA Dance medals and certificates at a special presentation in Greenwich, south London on July 27 and 28, from 7pm.

With a 100 per cent pass rate, and high marks scored – including distinction and honours – the only students in the UK to be currently working on their UKA Dance salsa and Rueda de Casino medals showed off their skills on examination day, staged at Goldsmiths College in south London on June 27.

This is the first time UKA Dance has awarded medals for Rueda de Casino (Cuban circle dancing) and it is the first time in years that dancers have taken salsa medals. For London School of Salsa instructor Lee Knights, this moves Cuban style salsa and Rueda de Casino to another level, giving these styles official recognition and validation as well as students a reward for their hard work.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of every single student and my fantastic teaching team,” Lee says. “Everyone worked tremendously hard, I couldn’t have asked for more. Their huge passion and commitment to the dance showed on the day, despite a few nerves!

“The whole group worked together, supporting and encouraging each other, through the whole day. Being part of this experience, and watching students really come on, is so rewarding for me as a teacher. Committing to working through the medals is a huge positive motivating force for students and teachers who want to see progress and development.”

A leading salsa musicality expert, Lee Knights’ admitted that going through the UKA medals was also a test for the school’s unique teaching methodology. “We have a unique approach to teaching dance at the London School of Salsa, with an accent on authentic Latin style and motion, embodying the music on the dancefloor, understanding salsa instrument rhythms like the clave and congas, and encouraging freestyle salsa, rather than relying on a mechanical count and learning sequences of moves.”

Lee Knights is the founder of the London School of Salsa and co-author with Alex Wilson of Find the Rhythm – The Dancers’ Guide to Salsa Music. To join the next UKA Dance Salsa and Rueda de Casino medal courses, contact Lee Knights (UKA Dance, IDTA) at, or 07979 280 283.

The award-winning students are: Leon Gary Stewart; Julia Nagorny; Emma Blundell; Heather Green; Caren James; Sabrena Walker; Trevor Walker; Dr Chris Lamptey; Eva Tomisc; Michael Brierley; Nicola Brierley; Justin Cancio; Vanessa Buschschluter; Nursac Ilarslan; Jennifer Potter; Armando Federico Salle; Emily Jane Jenkins.

Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, was published last year in paperback, ebook and audiobook.

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