LAKE GENEVA -- Students from Lake Geneva Badger High School will put on their dancing shoes this weekend as the only student group from Wisconsin accepted to perform at the prestigious Chicago International Salsa Congress.
“It’s the Emerging Artists Showcase, and everyone wants to come to see who is going to be the next group to stand out," said David Davila, instructor.
The Combining Cultures Dance Company is Davila's brainchild. He's a Spanish teacher and football coach who wanted to share his love of salsa as well.
“It’s all the spins and the tricks and the lifts that you get to see, and you're like 'hey, I want to do that. That looks fun,'" said Haley Domski, junior captain.
“I don’t see myself playing volleyball until I’m 70, but I can salsa dance, and I can go to different things and compete, or just hang out and have fun," said Jaidan Scheunemann, junior captain.
Surprisingly, most of the almost 25 members had little-to-no dance experience before joining, but some recruiting pitches are hard to ignore.
“I just told him 'you’re probably going to meet a lot of girls, you know?’” said Thomas Barton, when asked how he convinced a friend to join.
Started back in 2003, the group has received regional acclaim as it has grown. This Friday, February 10th will be the eighth time they’ve performed at the Salsa Congress.
“It’s always really nerve-wracking because you’re dancing in front of professional dancers," said Barton.
“It’s very inspirational. There’s a great energy and the kids come [back] motivated -- ‘I want to do X, Y and Z,'" said Davila.
And through a common interest, the group has lived up to its name – Combining Cultures.
“This school is pretty big and this brings people from all different kinds of cliques all together. We all get to know each other and we become friends," said Domski.
The Chicago Salsa Congress runs Thursday night, February 9th through Sunday, February 12th in Rosemont, IL. The group from Badger High School will perform during the Emerging Artist Showcase at 4:00 p.m. CT Friday.