Best Place to Learn LA or Cuban Style Salsa in Medellin

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Baila Latino
Learning to salsa in Medellin
Salsa dancing (photo by: Troy Floyd)

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.

I began taking LA style salsa lessons soon after I arrived in 2009 through a studio in Patio Bonito. I started out with group lessons, supplemented by the occasional private lesson.

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.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Hola, great article thanks.

    I have recently moved back to Colombia (Bogota), after being raised in the States my whole life (I was born in Cali) Can you recommend any salsa studios or instructors in Bogota?

    Many Thanks,
    Carlos

    • Hola Carlos, thanks for reading. I haven’t spent much time in Bogota, so I’m not familiar with good teachers or schools there, but I’m sure you’ll have a lot of options.

  2. Hello, Dave!
    Do you know if this school teaches Salsa “On2” (NY style, Mambo)? If not, do you know of any Salsa schools in Medellin that teach Salsa “On2?”

    Thanks in advance!

  3. Hola David,
    Have been following with pleasure all your posts on dancing for the last few years. My partner and i will be coming to Medellin this winter with the focus of enjoying dance activities and a couple of lesson per day. Will later contact you about possibilities. Clubs are great but prefer more socials and such. Do you ever see outdoor or afternoon dancing?

  4. Hello there

    I use to live in the US and frequently go out for Salsa dancing. There I learned that americans are not bad dancers, they just need to do a couple of things well enought to feel confident and make a good impresion.

    I speak very good english, and I can teach you in short time, enought dancing skills, so you can go out and dance well on a night club! You can contact me at 3013414513 or at ingexgar@gmail.com

  5. David,
    Some of the nightlife places you mentioned seem to cater mostly to college age kids. Are there a couple of places in the Poblado area that cater to more mature women–at least mid-thirties to mid forties.
    Thanks for all your post.
    robert

  6. Hello there. I am a Salsa fan, from Medellín. I would like to recommend a place where you can go at night and practice your new moves. It is called Dancefree, they teach very cheap group classes and you can stay and dance with different people.
    Come and enjoy Medellín! 🙂