Every week for much of the year, millions of Brits view and vote on Strictly Come Dancing, with the salsa being one of the most popular dances. Dark, enticing Afro-Caribbean rhythms; moving bodies gently interlaced, responding to the music: at first sight, salsa dancing seems to recover something our regimented British lives suppress. For not much more than a fiver, salsa can reconnect us with our bodies. So we seem to think: with perhaps a million Britons taking a class every week, salsa is statistically our national dance.
Matt Rendell learned salsa the British way, as an adult, rote-learning figures and routines. His Colombian wife, Vivi, acquired salsa in early childhood from her parents and grandparents; the dance made her part of her community.
A love story about two people from cultures at sometimes comical cross-purposes, Salsa for People Who Probably Shouldn't explores how the world's most popular dance went global, how it reached the UK and whether the saucy, salacious salsa of our national fantasy life is really as exotic as we like to think.
Matt Rendell is the author of several other books, including the award-winning King of the Mountains and The Death of Marco Pantani, and most recently Olympic Gangster. He is married and divides his time between Bristol and Medellin, Colombia.