Want to learn to dance salsa in Medellin? Here’s what you need to know.

How embarrassed are you to dance salsa when it comes on in a club or at a party? How much would you pay to learn to dance salsa? How much more comfortable would you feel if you could learn in a private 1-on-1 class setting instead of in a large group?

Well here’s a quick story for you – Months ago when I arrived in Colombia I finally said enough is enough. I was tired of running to the bar or taking a seat when a salsa song came on in a club. I am usually a pretty confident dancer when hip-hop, reggae, reggaeton, house or basically any other genre of music plays, but when it came to salsa – NOT SO MUCH! For a long time I used to say “I don’t really like salsa” or “I don’t want to go to place where they play salsa”. Why? Simple – I lacked the confidence to dance and I was afraid that people would look at me and think – ‘WOW what the hell is that silly gringo doing?’

Dancing Salsa with Veronica
Dancing Salsa with Veronica

Group Salsa Classes versus Private 1-on-1 lessons

So one day I heard that there was a free group class for beginners at a Dance Academy called Baila Latino in Medellin. Still a little nervous to do it on my own, I asked my sidekick and fellow blogger Jo (from Josephle.com) if he wanted to check it out. He also wanted to improve his salsa dancing skills, so we headed to the academy to cut a rug. Okay maybe ‘cutting a rug’ is pushing it a bit far – more like we went to stumble around the studio like double-left-footed fools.

Although I felt quite clumsy and uncoordinated when I compared myself to the local beginners in the class, I had a lot of fun, so I decided to chat with the teacher Yamile after the class ended.  I told her that the group class was tons of fun, but I really wanted to accelerate my learning and I suggested taking a private class with her. She gave me a deal I couldn’t refuse, four hour-long 1-on-1 sessions for 96,000 COP. I did the math and it worked out to be about $13/hour to have a professional salsa dancer show me the ropes. I figured that back in Canada a 1-0n-1 class with a pro would run me at leat $70-$80 for the hour.

This video shows my progress over the past few months since starting private lessons

So to date I have invested approximately $216 in salsa lessons with Baila Latino and I feel absolutely confident to get up and dance when salsa plays in a club. Sure, there are times when I still feel very intimidated  at parties filled with professional dancers who have been dancing for years, but I try to remind myself that it has only been a few months since I started. I also remind myself that dancing is supposed to be fun and like most art forms, it takes time to see improvements.

Jo Dancing Salsa AdventureJo
Jo doing one of his signature spins

So what lays ahead in the future for me and salsa? Well I plan to continue taking classes and going to places where they play salsa. I hope to make a follow up video in 3 months to show my progress, so stay tuned. If you are interested in learning to dance salsa, there is no better place than Medellin to learn. I suggest in the words of Nike – “JUST DO IT”. You won’t regret it.

If you want to do classes of your own, contact Baila Latio today or visit their website. And by the way, I have not been to other salsa schools in the city because I have been absolutely satisfied with Baila Lation since the first class that I took. For that reason, I am very willing to recommend them to you.

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