Sunday, January 15, 2017

Combat PTSD? They Have Salsa For That

Houston Salsa Congress attracts veterans seeking stress relief
Focus on the dance helps alleviate some PTSD symptoms
Houston Cronicle
By Katherine Blunt
January 14, 2017
"You have to know how to lock into a moment and be OK with everything going on around you," Chris Fahey
Photo: Yi-Chin Lee, Staff
Houston Salsa Congress workshop participant Harrison Bohanan follows instructor
Franklin Liranzo's dance moves to warm up before a class Saturday in Houston.
Shoulders as loose as his hips, Franklin Liranzo twisted and shimmied to percussive Latin music at the head of a crowded dance floor.

A high twirl of his finger had 50 dancers spinning in place. A downward flick brought them slinking to the ground.

"I hope you're warm," he exclaimed as the dancers caught their breath.

Liranzo, a skilled dancer and former U.S. Marine, led the group through a warm-up Saturday at the Houston Salsa Congress, a four-day series of workshops and performances at the Westin Hotel in Memorial City. He is one of many veterans who uses salsa and the intense focus its requires to alleviate some of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The congress, expected to attract more than 2,000 dancers, instructors and spectators, is an annual event run by Houston Salsa Dancers, a nonprofit organization that uses the proceeds to provide scholarships for underprivileged Houston teens. It features salsa enthusiasts of every skill level from around the world.
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