Counter to the trend of young people seeking to leave the Midwest, a young Cuban couple that recently arrived to Yankton is aiming to put down roots here.
Abdul Gomez, originally from Havana, Cuba, was living in Las Vegas, where he and his girlfriend, Tairi Reyes, also from Havana, were hoping to ultimately open a dance studio.
Saturday, Gomez and Reyes were at the Market at the meridian’s Feria Multicultural at the Old Mill Center. Throughout the morning, they gave informal lessons to groups of attendees of all ages.
Gomez said he has been dancing for as long as he can remember.
“My mother danced, my father knew how to dance,” he said. “All my family danced: my uncle my grandma, my grandfather, too.”
Reyes also started dancing because of her family, but said that later, Gomez taught her, too.
“I met her in high school in Las Vegas,” Gomez said. “We were trying to dance in Las Vegas, but we really couldn’t because it’s a really big city and it’s more complicated to start a business there and there are a lot of dancers, but I think we can do it here.”
Gomez moved to Yankton about 18 months ago and Reyes made the move from Las Vegas about two months ago.
“I think Yankton is a very relaxing place. I think Yankton has many opportunities. If you want to make something, Yankton — especially the people — can help you,” Gomez said. “We’ve met some amazing people here; many have helped us. I said, ‘Hey, I have a dream.’ They said, ‘What can we do?’ People like that are just here.”
Gomez said that in addition to living in Las Vegas, he has lived many places, including countries like Panama and Ecuador.
“The only place that I feel really, really welcome is here,” he said. “That’s why I like Yankton.”
Reyes echoed Gomez’ sentiments adding, “It’s a small town with big things.”
Having decided to make a go of it here, the couple set up a project called “Tropical Vibes,” which they hope will one day become a dance studio here in Yankton. According to their Facebook page, they came to Yankton “to make great their dreams … to join all those people who are passionate about dance and … to show you our good vibes and teach them about our Latin and tropical culture.”
“We want to dance with Latin people, American people — everybody,” Gomez said. “We play all kinds of music: Indian, Latin, American, Africa, music from everywhere.”
The Tropical Vibes project is so new that the couple has not yet found a space in which to offer classes.
“We do dance — dance can be exercise — or Yoga, many things, but always with music,” Gomez said. “We think exercise can sometimes be a little bit boring. We want to do something fun with music. You learn how to dance, you exercise and it’s fun.”
For more information visit Tropical Vibes on Facebook.
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