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Learn to Dance Salsa in Medellin, Colombia

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 at a House Party in Medellin

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 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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9 Comments

  1. I need to do this. Looks like it’s working for ya! 🙂

    • Matt you totally should. It take a few classes for you to actually believe that you are making improvements but one you see your progress, it will definitely give you the motivation to continue. Also, if you travel a lot to Latin America, it sure does help to know Salsa.

  2. Joel, love the idea of taking some private lessons with the same instructor you had. And you are right , the price is , unspeakable. Here in Vancouver it would be are 75-90 per hr. Can you tell me if it is necessary to speak Spanish to be able to take some private lessons from her? Look forward to your answer!

    Marty

    • Marty – Although Yamile’s english isn’t perfect so can communicate proficiently. Many people who don’t speak a word of spanish have taken classes with her and the do just fine. My recommendation would be to speak slowly and clearly in English so you can communicate better. I am happy that you decided to take a shot with the private salsa – you won’t regret it.

  3. Hi there,

    Thanks for the advice and a great article!

    Dancing has always been very hard for me, I enjoy going out and all but on the dance floor I totally SUCK.. This is the case with all sorts of dance, I just can not feel the rhythm or coordinate my body in the right way. I really want to learn how to dance though as I know I’d enjoy it if I knew how to do it.
    Do you think going for private salsa classes might be a good idea for someone who is a total dance dummie, or would it be better to get somewhat experienced at dancing first??

    Best regards,
    Tom

  4. You’re a very good dancer (and telling by the video, you showed great promise from the beginning). Have you ever been to El Cuchitril or El Eslabón prendido? I cannot recommend those places enough: low prices, lots of dancers and live salsa bands.

  5. 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

  6. What style of salsa should I learn out there?

  7. Glad to hear you had a good experience with Baila Latino! We tried to book a lesson with them when we were in Medellin, and we’re so bummed they were booked up. Guess we’ll have to keep practicing at home for next time we’re in Colombia!

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