Colombian nightlife revolves around music and dancing. Reggaeton may be increasingly popular, but salsa still rules the airwaves, buses, bars, and crossover clubs.
Salsa dancing’s appeal spans generations, and you’re just as likely to see an 18-year old dancing salsa as a 50-year old. Learn salsa in Medellin, and you’ll learn to appreciate the culture on a whole new level.
That’s how I met Yamile, and I quickly found I enjoyed my lessons with her more than the other instructor. We even ran into each other at the 2009 Colombia Salsa Congress, where she immediately invited me to sit with her and her friends.
When I returned in 2010, I began taking weekly private lessons in the LA style with Yamile once again. At about 24,000 pesos ($14) per hour, they were far more affordable than private lessons in the States, which usually start at $50/hour.
In early 2011, Yamile, along with her Venezuelan teaching partner, opened their own dance school, Baila Latino, in Poblado.
The cost of private salsa lessons is the same, and they also offer instruction in all forms of Latin dance, including: LA and Cuban style salsa, salsa rueda (aka salsa casino), tango, merengue, bachata, and paso doble.
In addition to classes, Yamile also organizes social dance events. I heard that over 200 people attended the last event at a club in Centro this past June.
I’ve been salsa dancing for two and a half years, and while I’ve received some group instruction at bars in the US, I attribute most of the patterns and combinations in the video below to my classes with Yamile.
She’s got a passion for dance, and dance instruction, which makes taking classes with her a lot of fun.
And don’t just take my word for it. Benny the Irish Polyglot took classes with her daily during his stay in Medellin last year. You can see some of what he learned in this video.
Update: As of September 2013, a reader has reported a price increase to 188,000 pesos ($99) per four, 1-hour private lessons, or $25/hour.