Kristiann McCool’s Dance Journey

Kristiann; student, performer and teacher of salsa

Kristiann is a relative newcomer to the Salsa scene.  She told me her journey to developing a Salsa addiction began when she took a few lessons while on vacation in Mexico. Upon her return, she saw the Salsaddiction Rueda Team perform at a Latin Days Festival and decided that was a dance she definitely wanted to do.  When she started classes at Salsaddiction, she soon discovered that it wasn’t as hard for her to learn these Latin dances as she had first thought.  This was probably due to the fact that she began dancing competitively at the tender age of 5 years!  Kristiann has studied tap, jazz, ballet and, more recently, lyrical, hip hop and musical theater.  She also choreographed musical theatre at her high school.  So, when she started in Salsa, she already had an enviable foundation for any type of dance.

When Kristiann arrived at Salsaddiction at age 16, she felt her biggest challenge was to feel accepted by an older group of dancers who had long established friendships.  However, her love of dancing, commitment to learning and obvious skills soon shone through. She is now not only wholeheartedly accepted but has also become one of the school’s instructors. Kristiann’s advice to new or struggling salsa students is to “believe in yourself.  Everyone can dance if they try.  I have taught lots of students who never in their life tried dancing and have yet to meet anyone who can’t learn dance. The secret is to have confidence, enjoy dancing and, most of all, learn to laugh at yourself”.

Besides being addicted to Latin dance, many people don’t realize that Kristiann sees herself as an activity addict.  She enjoys sports – basketball, swimming and has even played football on occasion!  She has also been a competitive swimmer and a horse show jumper.  With her keen interest in politics and debating one can only imagine that she has taken the University of Alberta (where she is in the Bachelor of Commerce faculty) by storm. This was certainly evident when we saw her helping to organize and then dance in the University “Flash Mob at Faculte St. Jean”, a video now on uTube.

Kristiann said she feels there is never enough time in her life to do everything she wants.  Yet after just a year of Salsa training at Salsaddiction, she joined the Rueda Performing Team and has now performed at a wide variety of Salsa Festivals. And, as mentioned, she helps teach the beginners classes at the school and On The Rocks.  So, if you see her there or at Salsaddiction classes on Sundays, make sure you say hello or, better yet, grab a dance with this winsome young lady.

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About Margaret MacDonald

I work as a Mental Health Therapist so it was natural that I became fascinated when seeing therapeutic benefits emerge for people learning to dance Salsa. A few years ago Usukuma had the idea of featuring the experience of individual salsa dancers. These ideas joined and the series "Journeys of Salsa-Addicts" was born. See this blog from me at and send in feedback anytime. Una bulla!

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