The Last Salsa Lessons and More Practice

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Yamile and I at the dance studio
Yamile and I at the dance studio

My group lessons wrapped up two weeks ago as the dance studio is closing for Summer recess.

Because I had prepaid for 8 hours, I decided to take a private lesson to get my money’s worth rather than squeeze in another group lesson.

I arrived at the scheduled time last Tuesday, but there had been some mix-up.

A new time was set with Yamile, my secondary instructor, and I would get an extra 30 minutes free.  8pm rolls around, and I have a super-intense lesson until 9:30pm.

I learned a handful of new combinations, and she was intent on identifying some of my problems with form.  I definitely felt a big improvement by the end of that class, and since I had so much fun, signed up for another two days later.

Last Thursday, I met with Yamile for another private lesson, and learned even more new combinations.

My head was officially swirling with all the options I was gaining for leading women on the dance floor in a fun and exciting way.

At 8pm, I took my first group lesson at Cien Fuegos. The cost is 5,000 COP which means if you have your own car, it’s incredibly cheap.

The instructor was a guy with dreadlocks I’d seen dancing there extraordinarily well my first Saturday night visit

All the instructions were in Spanish, but the first move we practiced was rather basic, so I rotated around and danced with a bunch of women, even incorporating a few turns into it (making me feel like I really knew what I was doing!).

The second move he taught us was new to me, but was fairly easy to get the hang of.  And that lead us to a combination which was built upon the second set of steps.

It was trickier, but with some more practice I’m sure I’d get it.  I really wanted to stick around and dance with some of the other women who were making a night of it, but I’d already made plans.

I got to the GAR Bar in Parque Lleras early enough to ensure a table.  I was to be meeting up with Andrea, two of her friends, and a Brazilian guy, at the least.

In one corner of the gambling-themed bar, there was a poker table set up with a few guys fully engaged in cards.  Everyone else was having some food, drinks (2 for 1 mojitos), and waiting for the live Cuban-style band to start.

Andrea arrived with her friends, which included Lina.  The Brazilian couchsurfer, Airton, arrived too, as did a French guy and another Lina (and her friend) from Couchsurfing.

We relocated to a bigger table, got to know each other (which meant I had to remember my Spanish), and danced quite a bit.

Dancing with different women all the time is challenging.  They don’t often know the moves and combinations I’ve been taught in classes, and since I am not yet a strong enough lead, signals can get crossed and suddenly I’m the one being lead in a combination that is unfamiliar to me.

I think I need to learn to go with it more, just having fun and not getting too caught up on formalities.  Andrea was able to give me a quick music tip – Cuban-style salsa is slower, while the music from Puerto Rico is faster-paced.

After the band finished, most of us headed to Blue which is one of the only late-night venues (open past 2:30 am) in the area.

The irony is not lost on me when I say this, BUT there are too many foreigners at Blue.  It feels touristy for that reason, whereas at many of the other places I like to go, that’s not the case.  I think that’s the benefit of living somewhere versus just passing through.

Around 3 am, I headed home for some rest.  I had a party to throw the following night!

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds way fun. The combo of instruction and dance floor is just what I’m looking for. I thinking a month in Medelin. A full program dance schoolk would be nice. Any thoughts/ I have 3 years of Salsa and ready ti kick it up.

    Baile,
    Finn

    • There are plenty of dance studios. I’ve really found my skills improving with the private lessons I’m taking now. I go to a little studio in a converted house and pay $50 per month for four one hour lessons.

      • Dave,
        Private lessons are a must.The price seems very moderate for a good lesson. A couple other questions. Do you see any Bachata in Medelin? and is there ever any daytime or afternoon dancing? I can only do so many 3ams. Thanks.

        • Bachata seems much less popular in Colombia than in the clubs I went to around Washington DC while I was back in the states. But you will hear it a little in the crossover clubs. I’m not aware of any daytime social dancing events, but they might exist in Medellin if you start asking around….maybe start with a dance teacher or local studios and see what they know of.