Tango (credit: OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Sometimes magical, magnetic forces compel a lover of salsa dance to search near and far just to dance the merengue or the cha cha. Latin lovers of dance can rest easy because there are plenty of professional venues in the South Bay that host lessons for beginners and intermediate dancers. These locations also open their floors for free dance while playing the hottest, most energetic salsa tunes. Here are several spots in the South Bay area that focus on Latin dance, with lessons offered by professional, passionate instructors.
418 Santa Teresa St.
Stanford, CA 94305
Every other Saturday, the Stanford Salsa Club (Los Salseros de Stanford) puts together salsa dance socials for locals, beginners and regulars that are largely made up of Stanford students. These socials are held on Stanford grounds, and always feature clean, wooden floors and plentiful space to dance the night away. There is usually a DJ or live band playing for the last social of the quarter. Dancing with this club is always fun, energetic and lively – and best of all, it’s free. Dancing lessons begin at 8 p.m. and regular dancing is from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.
71 E. San Fernando St.
San Jose, CA 95113
Visit Azucar Latin Bistro on Monday nights for salsa dancing. Beginner salsa lessons will start off the night with Jesse JazzyJez Giovanni and his guest instructors. Afterwards, a free night of dancing to salsa, bachata and merengue music takes place. Dancers don’t sweat it out and then go home, because after Azucar’s dance lesson, there is a full bar specializing in tasty mojitos and margaritas waiting. The dance floor is spacious enough for the Monday crowd, which is usually small enough to get your dance steps straight without stepping on other toes.
Santa Cruz Ballroom
1344 Pacific Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
For a fun, friendly, supportive environment and high-quality dance instructors, this Ballroom is big fun. Drop in for a salsa class with Jeremy, and stay after for the swinging salsa party, with music from DJ Omambo. Every Friday night, this premier Santa Cruz dance spot is loaded with teachings – from salsa to rumba, the cha cha and ballroom dance. Four-week series of salsa classes are also held during certain days of the week. See specials for beginner and discount pricing. For a full list of dances and dates, see Palomar Ballroom’s calendar. The Ballroom also arranges regular dance parties.
1400 N. Shoreline Blvd.
Mountain View, CA 94043
Founded by Emmy Award nominee and two-time “Dancing with the Stars” champion Cheryl Burke, this innovative dance studio comes equipped with passionate and highly skilled dance instructors. Cheryl Burke Dance (formerly Starlite Ballroom) teaches a mix of all different kinds of ballroom dances like cha cha, samba, rumba, jive and bolero (or the Cuban dance of love). No prior experience is needed to have fun learning these dances. Separate rooms are typically allotted just for the Latin dances, namely salsa and cha cha. The studio is perfect for beginners. It is also very clean and spacious. The polished professional dancers take care of their beginners like solid gold.
187 S. Murphy Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
There is no need to drive to San Francisco to get your dance fix. Every Saturday night, live salsa music and dancing happens within the heart of Sunnyvale. With a different band playing live music every week, this sassy salsa venue is heaped with enjoyment. Tucked away amongst the tech companies, Tekila Rock has two dance floors and a full bar. A colorful décor and plush surroundings make this a great place to hang and dance the night away to your favorite non-stop salsa beats.
Kelly Gullo is a freelance writer in San Francisco, CA. Kellys topics are about music and nightlife. Kelly has also written a variety of articles on health and dieting and topics related to the environment. Kelly has a degree in journalism and public relations from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.