There aren’t many similarities which spring to mind between Manchester,’The Rainy City’, and Havana, Cuba. In fact I can’t think of a single one. Sure, with plentiful shops, nightlife, universities and football teams, Manchester has it’s perks and I fell in love with it as soon as I moved here last summer. But for a salsa dancer whose heart longs for the latin beats and sunny streets of La Habana, Manchester’s eternal rain and incessant obsession with Oasis can somewhat dampen your spirits, quite literally. It was time to find somewhere where I put on my dancing shoes and let my hair down, pronto. With a little investigation it became clear that Manchester does in fact have a Latin side which it hides from the shoppers and day-trippers. A whole variety of Latin nights and classes catering for a wide variety of abilities and dance styles are available for Mancunians to try something new, improve techniques or simply enjoy hitting the dancefloor.
Having been a regular at Liverpool’s infamous ‘La Casa’ throughout my university years I am no stranger to the salsa world. Arriving every Thursday I would instantly be surrounded by friends and familiar faces, even the bar staff would know my drink order before I did. Here in Manchester my passion for salsa is not shared by my friends and even as an experienced dancer I was daunted by the thought of turning up to a bar and not knowing anyone. Who wouldn’t be?
Turns out I needn’t have worried. Mancunians are the friendliest people I have ever met. Within minutes of arriving in the Cuban dancehall-themed basement of Peter Street’s Revolution de Cuba one Wednesday I was invited to dance and by the end of the evening had made several new friends who shared my love of all things salsa. With a dancefloor packed with people twirling away to the Cuban beats and often a live band I had discovered my own piece of Havana in the heart of Manchester.
What I like the most about Salsa Social at RDC is the diversity of people and abilities. While there are are many experienced dancers who can head straight for the dancefloor there are also complete beginners trying out moves learned in the class beforehand, and both are equally as welcome. There are also those who ‘do not dance’ who prefer to have a drink (the rum selection is fantastic!) and just enjoy the atmosphere, many of whom are drawn down from the bar upstairs by the irresistible beats and sheer curiosity.
My advice to those wondering if they should try salsa would be to just give it a go! We’re a friendly bunch and once you start to feel the beat you’ll be hooked, I promise. See you there next Wednesday!