By Josie Gulliksen and Yours Truly
Envious of those couples that make salsa dancing look effortless and spend hours on the dance floor? Always wish you could duplicate their suave moves? Here’s a look at the best spots to learn salsa, where to go once you’ve perfected the hip movements, or just to enjoy the music that’s so Miami.
Where to Take Classes:
All the rage since its recent opening in Hialeah and, known mainly for craft cocktails with quirky names like “Sorry con excuse me” and “Papi chulo,” La Cocina also hosts salsa dance classes. Instructors from Salsa Fit Studios come in on the last Wednesday of the month at and teach couples and individuals. La Cocina (https://www.lacocinahialeah.com/) is located at 1000 E. 16 St., Hialeah, FL 33010.
South Beach’s Lincoln Road might seem unusual for classes, but Salsa Fever Miami with studios above Yuca Restaurant, is one of the best in the city. Instructors teach on Wednesdays and Fridays at 8:30 p.m. and they teach beginners as well as advanced. Attend solo or with a partner, and you’ll learn to master moves at any tempo with any partner. All-inclusive, all ages, all skill-level service welcomed. Salsa Fever Miami http://salsafevermiami.com/ is at 501 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, FL 33139.
Carlos Ramirez & Miami Movement Co.
Among the many classes they offer here are salsa and rumba classes. They’re taught by instructor Carlos Ramirez whose “Salsero Wednesdays” happen at 8 p.m. The beginner and intermediate classes last an hour and walk-ins are welcome. There are also class packages available. Miami Movement Co. https://miamimovementco.com/ is located at 4703 SW 8 St., Miami, FL 33134.
Mi Salsa Dance Studios
The instructors have a combined 50 years of experience and are teaching Casino Style salsa dance. Here too, individuals as well as those with partners are welcome to attend. That’s because classes are taught in a circle known as “La Rueda,” where participants rotate partners. Director Carlos Zambrano and the instructors can also be found at the annual Miami Salsa Congress. M Salsa has locations at 2079 W 76 St., Hialeah, FL 33016 where classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays 8-10 p.m. and Saturdays 2-4 p.m. At their other studio at 11443 SW 40 St., Miami, FL 33165 classes are Mondays from 8-10 p.m.
Where to go dancing:
There’s no shortage of live music at this long-standing restaurant where a different band takes the stage Thursday-Sunday. On Thursdays from 8-11 p.m. Luis Noa y su Violin performs with a full salsa band then on Fridays from 5-8 p.m. Manolito y su Latin Party heat things up followed by either Zarabanda Band or Norberto y Marisela from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Grupo Ahi Na Ma, a multi-piece band, performs Saturdays from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Manolito y su Latin Party return to the stage on Sundays from 8-11 p.m. Mojitos http://www.mojitos.com is located at 8000 SW 8 St., Miami, FL 33144.
Hoy Como Ayer
First it closed after a multi-decade run on Calle Ocho in Little Havana and recently, its re-opening was announced. Certainly, fans of the always packed iconic venue breathed a sigh of relief at hearing the news. Maybe because this is where Cuban artist Albita performed regularly and others like Amaury Gutierrez and Rudy La Scala perform. Salsa rules here making it the perfect place to show off your dance moves. Hoy Como Ayer https://www.facebook.com/HoyComoAyerFansClub/ is located at 2212 SW 8 St., Miami, FL 33135
Ball & Chain
The pineapple stage here and round-the-clock trio of performers in the open-air space are just two reasons why salsa lovers flock here. The bands that perform on, and events that take place on the stage are legendary. Luis Bofill is a regular at Ball & Chain, and there’s live salsa on Monday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., Sundays 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. So pretty much daily salsa at this favorite spot that’s always buzzing in the heart of Little Havana. Ball & Chain https://ballandchainmiami.com/ is located at 1513 SW 8 St., Miami, FL 33135
Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center
Don’t let the word Museum detract you, there’s a full-on salsa scene going on here. Walk in at any given time during the day and catch dancers letting loose on the dance floor. At night, Miguel Cruz and Sugarcane and Melina Almodóvar and her band trade off playing Thursday night. On Friday and Saturday, it’s a rotating group of performers, playing salsa that gets everyone dancing. Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center https://www.cubaocho.com/ is located at 1465 SW 8 St., Miami, FL33135
Open Stage Club
This venue’s been in the heart of Downtown Coral Gables for years and shouldn’t be overlooked as a salsa venue. Their calendar is chock full of variety and includes comedy shows and all types of musical acts, including salsa bands. A few times a month, they’ll feature a salsa and Latin jazz band or solo performer. It varies by month. This place is spacious and great for plenty of spins and turns that salsa dancing requires. Open Stage Club http://openstageclub.com is located at 2325 Galiano St., Coral Gables, FL 33134
Café La Trova
James Beard award-winning Chef Michelle Bernstein’s food and cocktails by award-winning bartender Julio Cabrera and his Cantineros, make the perfect backdrop for a night of salsa dancing. The kitschy atmosphere and smoking hot salsa band that performs nightly are all a true recipe for a fun night. “La Trova Style Music” happens Monday, Tuesday and Sunday 7-10 p.m., Thursday 7-11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 8 p.m. to midnight. Café La Trova https://www.cafelatrova.com is located at 971 SW 8 St., Miami, FL 33130. For more about the food as well, click here.