The Difference Between Academy Dancing and Club Dancing

Salsa dancing
Social dancing at the Colombia Salsa Congress
Social dancing at the Colombia Salsa Congress

So there is club dancing and there is Academy dancing.  Let me explain the difference.

I have been going to the clubs that everyone goes to on Tuesdays and Thursdays and have been feeling quite dejected since, afterall, my goal in traveling through South America was to learn every dance style possible.

And, Tuesdays at El Eslabon Prendido are great to hear live music, and Thursdays at Son Habana and El Tibiri are great to see interesting crowds and grab a drink, but it is almost always impossible to dance at any of these places.

They are crowded, hot, small and people go to these clubs with their partners or in co-ed groups making it very difficult to get a dance.

Then it happened.

A friend was going to her dance academy for a “party” night there, and I decided to join her, regardless of my past experiences.

When I arrived I was a bit skeptical, because while it was a nice dance space, there were maybe 15 or 20 people in it and everyone was sitting down.  My friend and I also seemed liked outsiders since we sat in one corner of the room while everyone else sat on the complete opposite side.

Then the music played.  The first song was salsa. The entire crowd got up and brought a partner to the floor and danced their asses off.

The next song was Porro.  I’d never heard of it before, but something amazing happened when the song began; the same men got up, went to the middle of the dance floor, and took a different partner with them!  And, all of them could dance Porro, really well!

Then Pasodoble, Cumbia, Bolero, Bachata, Merengue and lastly, Tango.  TANGO!  I couldn’t believe it.

Basically, what the dancers I spoke with told me is that when you go to a dance academy rather then a dance club, you will get all different styles of dancing by people who know how to dance, or are learning to dance and want to dance.  It wasn’t about drinking and socializing, while obviously some of that did happen.

It was about dancing.  Ahhhh, at last.

There are tons of dance academies, however I only am aware of a few right now.


Swing – Calle 34 #66A – 13; diagonal to the Exito in Unicentro Mall.  Tel: 300 – 653 – 9180

Academie Baila Latino – Carrera 40 #9A – 26, 2nd floor, above the Farmacia San Ignasio. Tel: 266 – 5859

They teach dance, they all dance with you, and they also know everywhere else to dance!  (haven’t found that out yet…but I will share it with you once I do!)

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  1. So true!! I lived in Colombia for 3 years and was really disappointed with salsa dancing there. I did eventually find BNF (Calle 46 # 14 – 13 about a block from Monterrey Mall). It was about 5 dollars to go to their social night (Tuesday?) and dance with the professionals and other students. Way more quality dancing than out at the bars 🙁

    • I’m kinda bummed I didn’t learn about this option until a few months before I’m due to leave the country (for the 3rd time!). I’d be a lot better now if I’d been able to attend weekly social dances.