LORAIN, Ohio — A northeast Ohio man is trying to bring Latin music and dancing back to his community.

What You Need To Know

  • Dance instructor Rick Matos is Puerto Rican and was born and raised in Lorain

  • Bachata is a genre of Latin American music that originated in the Dominican Republic

  • Salsa was developed by Puerto Ricans and Cubans living in New York City in the late 1960s and early 1970s

Dance instructor Rick Matos is on a mission to add a little Latin flavor to his hometown.

"I want to keep this going and I want to bring salsa and bachata back into Lorain," said Matos.

The owner of On Point Salsa said he didn't even like to dance until a chance encounter while on vacation in Florida.

"I had taken a trip to Miami and I saw a couple there years ago and they were dancing right on Ocean Drive and I fell in love with it. 'I was like, 'There is no way that I'm going to go through this life without learning how to do that,'" said Matos.

So Matos returned to Ohio and met others in the Latin dance community who wanted to reconnect with their roots.

"I need the rhythm back in my hips and I'm Latin. And, I feel like I've gone away from it, but I love it. It brings the party. It brings the rhythm, so I just want to learn it," said Kervin Melendez of Lorain.

Dancing is a big part of Latino culture, but it's been missing lately due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matos hopes to change that with his Latin dance classes for adults.

He said it's a great way to deal with the stresses of life.

"You feel so fulfilled when you are done dancing. You got a workout. You feel great. You expressed yourself with the music. You connected with another person, can't beat it," said Matos.

Matos will be spreading his love for Latin music and dance at other events this summer and fall.