Monday, 23 October 2017

Salsa night raises funds for Nepal

BUDDING dancers learned how to swing their hips at a salsa night to raise money for people affected by the Nepal earthquake

BUDDING dancers learned how to swing their hips at a salsa night to raise money for people affected by the Nepal earthquake.

More than 100 people attended the event at Pachangas Mexican restaurant in Duke Street, Henley, which was organised by Vivienne Connery, owner of the Chocolate Cafe in Thames Side.

They were given a lesson in merengue, a Dominican dance similar to salsa, by dance teachers Jennifer Benevidez, from Shiplake, Dean David Gay and Nicolai Vigneswaren.


The dance floor was packed with people including town councillor Will Hamilton and Laurence Morris, owner of Laurence Menswear in Duke Street.

They learnt basic moves and turns with a partner while Mrs Benavidez explained arm positions and movements with descriptions like "looking at your watch" and "holding a beer".

The guests were then treated to a buffet meal of Mexican chicken or pork with rice, while Pachangas owner Carlos Tovar served margaritas.

Later, Ms Benavidez and Mr Vigneswaren gave a display of salsa dancing.

The event raised more than £3,250 for the Dadagaun Village Project, which is raising money for food and shelter for villagers as well as rebuilding costs.

The money came from ticket sales, the bar and a raffle with prizes including a boat trip with Hobbs of Henley, tickets to the Kenton Theatre and vouchers for Laurence Menswear.

Mrs Connery said: "I fund-raised after the Philippines typhoon last year and the community were so helpful so I thought I'd do something for Nepal.

"I'm known in the community for my cafe but also as a mad dancer and salsa is my dance. I chose my friends at Pachangas for their amazing venue and cocktails. They have an amazing dancefloor and were really up for it.

"Everybody loved it. We had more than 100 people at £25 a ticket, which is absolutely awesome. The majority of the cost is being borne by the cafe and the restaurant so that means all the ticket sales and money from the bar is going to Nepal.?

Mrs Benavidez added: "I have a friend who worked in Nepal for nine years so when I saw the earthquake had happened I knew I had to do something.

?I did a fund-raiser in Reading which Vivienne saw and she asked me to help out.

"It takes a while to learn salsa but it's fun and I try to trick people into having a good time."


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