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Places to Dance in Charleston November/December 2017

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The year is winding down but there are some great new places to dance around town! Check them out...happy dancing! (More dates will be added for November/December as they're announced). 

Here's a quick and dirty list of non-weekly events, scroll down for the weekly events and more details about these dates. 

November 3 Odd Friday Salsa Social @ Ballroom Dance Club (Latin Dance with LaQuinn)

November 5 Salsa Sunday @ Holy City Salsa

November 17 Odd Friday Salsa Social @  Ballroom Dance Club (Latin Dance with LaQuinn)

November 18 Return of the Mambo Nights @ Nights of Columbus (Salseros of Charleston/Charleston Latin Dance)

November 18 Salsa Saturday Social @ Festival Dance Centre (Oui Dance 2)

November 24 TGIF Salsa Social- Black Friday @ Festival Dance Centre (Oui Dance 2)

December 8 Return of the Mambo Nights @ Knights of Columbus (Salseros of Charleston/Charleston Latin Dance)

December 17 Salsa and Sweets Holiday Showcase @ Holy City Salsa


Tuesdays

Prohibition

Havana Nights Charleston

547 King Street

WEEKLY

8-9 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

9 pm- midnight Live Latin Jazz with the Gino Castillo Quartet

No cover. Buy drinks to support the venue and the band!

Vibe: A little wild, in a good way! The band is excellent-- but come hydrated because they play really long, really fast songs (average song length: 20 minutes). They take a long break, and during the break, there’s a mix of Salsa and Bachata (of normal lengths and speeds) played over the loudspeaker.

*Parking can be a little bit of an issue downtown, the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street) is a few blocks away and charges a flat rate of $5 after 5 pm. Sometimes you can luck out and find a street parking spot, but the garage is nice, well-lit, and an easy walk.


Wednesdays

Poblano’s Mexican Cuisine

7575 Rivers Ave, North Charleston

WEEKLY

10 pm-2 am

DJ spinning a mix of Salsa, Bachata, Reggaeton and Merengue

No cover. Buy food and drinks and support the venue!

Vibe: This is a Mexican restaurant-turned-dance club, so there’s a mix of patrons of the restaurant/bar and actual dancers. It tends to be a small crowd, but very laid back and lots of fun. The kitchen closes at 10 though, so if you want to eat, come early! If there are no Salsa/Bachata dancers there, the DJ will play other types of Latin music, so I recommend getting in touch with other dancers before going. The Holy City Salsa Dance Family on Facebook is a good place to start!


Thursdays

Victor's Social Club

39 John Street

WEEKLY

9 pm- 1 am. 

No Cover. Buy drinks and support the venue!

DJ Luigi spinning a mix of Salsa, Bachata and Merengue at Victor's Social Club in Hudson Alley Downtown.

Vibe: This is a new event so check it out and see for yourself! Victor's Social Club is a FABULOUS spot with beautiful high ceilings and white marble in the heart of downtown, the floor is smooth and feels great!

Remember, you can park in the Visitor's Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street) for just $5 after 5 pm and then walk across the street to Victor's. 


Fridays

Fridays rotate between multiple venues, it can get a little confusing.

Odd Friday Salsa Social

(1st,3rd, and 5th Friday)

Latin Dance with La Quinn hosts at the Ballroom Dance Club **NEW LOCATION

2408 Ashley River Road

West Ashley 

$10 cover, BYOB.

Intro lesson around 9-9:30 pm, open dancing 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: The host of this social, La Quinn, is a bundle of energy and the floor is FABULOUS. This tends to be more dancers and less party people, so you’ll usually get in a lot of good dances. Ample parking is a plus! The Ballroom Dance Club is a wonderful facility with a great floor so take advantage of it!

Upcoming Dates:  November 3, November 17


The Return of Mambo Nights

2nd Friday

Salseros of Charleston/Charleston Latin Dance hosts at the Knights of Columbus

143 Calhoun Street

$10 cover, there’s a bar at the venue that serves the cheapest drinks in downtown (seriously…$3 for a mixed drink is a steal in Charleston)

Intro lesson 7-8 pm, Open dancing 8-11 pm.

Vibe: The host, Yaenette Dixon, always brings in guest DJs who run the congress circuit, so the music is FIRE. The venue is very cool-- it’s an old building downtown and it has a very vintage feel to it. This is geared toward social dancers-- seasoned and new.

*This is in the heart of downtown and can be tough to find street parking. Hit the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street). It’s a few blocks away and is only $5 after 5 pm. It's only a few blocks from the Knights of Columbus. I've also found that parking on Calhoun Street near the Addlestone Library on the CofC campus is a good spot. Also a few blocks walk, but it's quiet and there are always meter spots open. I'm coming from West Ashley, so it's en route for me to just slide into a spot on Calhoun street and walk. And it's free!

Upcoming Dates:  NOVEMBER 18...THIS IS A SATURDAY. Yaenette will be celebrating her birthday and there will probably be tasty food... December 8


Saturdays

Latin Night with Latin Groove at Sushi Blue

61 State Street

$10 cover

WEEKLY

DJ Luigi of Latin Groove (Charleston’s longest running Latin party promoter) spins at this restaurant from 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: More of a club vibe-- he plays Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and some top 40. A lot of people are out partying in the Market Street area on Saturday nights and find their way to Sushi Blue. Good music and fun, though the amount of dancers who attends varies. The restaurant is great, so you can go early and eat.


Latin Night with DJ Leo at Agave’s Cantina

885 Island Park Drive, Daniel Island

10 pm- 1:30 am

WEEKLY

DJ Leo spinning mix of Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and more.

Ladies get in free, $10 cover.

Vibe: Restaurant turned Latin club. The crowd varies, but the music is usually pretty good.


Saturday Social

Oui Dance 2 Latin Dance hosts at their permanent home, the Festival Dance Centre.

5101 Ashley Phosphate Road Suite 138

North Charleston

8-9 pm Intro Lesson

9 pm-1 am Social dancing

$10/person, BYOB.

Vibe: This is a new venue and it’s got a huge, beautiful floor.

(I haven’t been yet personally so I can’t speak for it, but I’ve heard people have a great time when they go!)

Upcoming dates: November 18 and November 24 (Black Friday)


Sundays

Holy City Salsa Dance Studio

Salsa Sundays

1st and 3rd Sunday of the month

7:30 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

8-11 pm Open Dancing

$10 cover, BYOB

1954 Ashley River Road Suite H

(Behind Rite-Aid off Savage road...use Google Maps or Waze, Apple Maps doesn’t work)

Vibe: Casual/laid back...at a dance studio, so more for dancers than for party-ers.

Upcoming Dates: November 5, December 17 (Salsa and Sweets Holiday Showcase 6-11 pm. $12/advance, $15 at the door)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Places to dance in Charleston September 2017

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School's back in session, but the dancing continues! As always, follow the individual organizers of events for more info, including theme nights and special parties. 

Below is a quick and dirty list of non-weekly dance opportunities, scroll down for more comprehensive info on venues and events. 

September 1 Odd Friday Salsa Social @ Elite Dance (Latin Dance with LaQuinn)

September 3 One Year Anniversary Party @ Holy City Salsa

September 8 Return of the Mambo Nights @ Nights of Columbus (Salseros of Charleston/Charleston Latin Dance)

September 15 Odd Friday Salsa Social @ Elite Dance (Latin Dance with LaQuinn)

September 16 Salsa Saturday Social @ Festival Dance Centre (Oui Dance 2)

September 17 Salsa Sunday @ Holy City Salsa

September 22 BONUS Return of the Mambo Nights @ Nights of Columbus (Salseros of Charleston/Charleston Latin Dance)

September 29 Odd Friday Salsa Social @ Elite Dance (Latin Dance with La Quinn)


Tuesdays

Prohibition

Havana Nights Charleston

547 King Street

WEEKLY

8-9 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

9 pm- midnight Live Latin Jazz with the Gino Castillo Quartet

No cover. Buy drinks to support the venue and the band!

Vibe: A little wild, in a good way! The band is excellent-- but come hydrated because they play really long, really fast songs (average song length: 20 minutes). They take a long break, and during the break, there’s a mix of Salsa and Bachata (of normal lengths and speeds) played over the loudspeaker.

*Parking can be a little bit of an issue downtown, the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street) is a few blocks away and charges a flat rate of $5 after 5 pm. Sometimes you can luck out and find a street parking spot, but the garage is nice, well-lit, and an easy walk.


Wednesdays

Poblano’s Mexican Cuisine

7575 Rivers Ave, North Charleston

WEEKLY

10 pm-2 am

DJ spinning a mix of Salsa, Bachata, Reggaeton and Merengue

No cover

Vibe: This is a Mexican restaurant-turned-dance club, so there’s a mix of patrons of the restaurant/bar and actual dancers. It tends to be a small crowd, but very laid back and lots of fun. The kitchen closes at 10 though, so if you want to eat, come early! If there are no Salsa/Bachata dancers there, the DJ will play other types of Latin music, so I recommend getting in touch with other dancers before going. The Holy City Salsa Dance Family on Facebook is a good place to start!


Fridays

Fridays rotate between multiple venues, it can get a little confusing.

Odd Friday Salsa Social

(1st,3rd, and 5th Friday)

Latin Dance with La Quinn hosts at Elite Dance International,

709 Johnnie Dodds Blvd, Suite 200

Mt. Pleasant SC

$10 cover, BYOB.

Intro lesson around 9-9:30 pm, open dancing 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: The host of this social, La Quinn, is a bundle of energy and the floor is FABULOUS. This tends to be more dancers and less party people, so you’ll usually get in a lot of good dances. Ample parking is a plus!

Upcoming Dates:  September 1, September 15, September 29

The Return of Mambo Nights

2nd Friday

Salseros of Charleston/Charleston Latin Dance hosts at the Knights of Columbus

143 Calhoun Street

$10 cover, there’s a bar at the venue that serves the cheapest drinks in downtown (seriously…$3 for a mixed drink is a steal in Charleston)

Intro lesson 7-8 pm, Open dancing 8-11 pm.

Vibe: The host, Yaenette Dixon, always brings in guest DJs who run the congress circuit, so the music is FIRE. The venue is very cool-- it’s an old building downtown and it has a very vintage feel to it. This is geared toward social dancers-- seasoned and new.

*This is in the heart of downtown and can be tough to find street parking. Hit the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street). It’s a few blocks away and is only $5 after 5 pm. It's only a few blocks from the Knights of Columbus. I've also found that parking on Calhoun Street near the Addlestone Library on the CofC campus is a good spot. Also a few blocks walk, but it's quiet and there are always meter spots open. I'm coming from West Ashley, so it's en route for me to just slide into a spot on Calhoun street and walk. And it's free!

Upcoming Dates:  September 8, September 22 (BONUS!!!)

 


Saturdays

Latin Night with Latin Groove at Sushi Blue

61 State Street

$10 cover

WEEKLY

DJ Luigi of Latin Groove (Charleston’s longest running Latin party promoter) spins at this restaurant from 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: More of a club vibe-- he plays Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and some top 40. A lot of people are out partying in the Market Street area on Saturday nights and find their way to Sushi Blue. Good music and fun, though the amount of dancers who attends varies. The restaurant is great, so you can go early and eat.


Latin Night with DJ Leo at Agave’s Cantina

885 Island Park Drive, Daniel Island

10 pm- 1:30 am

WEEKLY

DJ Leo spinning mix of Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and more.

Ladies get in free, $10 cover.

Vibe: Restaurant turned Latin club. The crowd varies, but the music is usually pretty good.


Saturday Social

Oui Dance 2 Latin Dance hosts at their permanent home, the Festival Dance Centre.

5101 Ashley Phosphate Road Suite 138

North Charleston

8-9 pm Intro Lesson

9 pm-1 am Social dancing

$10/person, BYOB.

Vibe: This is a new venue and it’s got a huge, beautiful floor.

(I haven’t been yet personally so I can’t speak for it, but I’ve heard people have a great time when they go!)

Upcoming dates: September 16


Sundays

Holy City Salsa Dance Studio

Salsa Sundays

1st and 3rd Sunday of the month

7:30 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

8-11 pm Open Dancing

$10 cover, BYOB

1954 Ashley River Road Suite H

(Behind Rite-Aid off Savage road...use Google Maps or Waze, Apple Maps doesn’t work)

Vibe: Casual/laid back...at a dance studio, so more for dancers than for party-ers.

Upcoming Dates: September 3, September 17

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Places to Dance in Charleston August 2017

It's the dog daze of summer...AKA Dancing Days of Summer. As always, there are great events all over town all month to check out. 

Remember: your dollar is your vote! By attending these events and supporting them, you're guaranteeing that they can continue. The event organizers in Charleston work hard to bring you quality events... even if you can't attend an event, spread the love and share Facebook events on your timeline or forward emails to your friends. 


Tuesdays

Prohibition

Havana Nights Charleston

547 King Street

WEEKLY

8-9 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

9 pm- midnight Live Latin Jazz with the Gino Castillo Quartet

No cover. Buy drinks to support the venue and the band!

Vibe: A little wild, in a good way! The band is excellent-- but come hydrated because they play really long, really fast songs (average song length: 20 minutes). They take a long break, and during the break, there’s a mix of Salsa and Bachata (of normal lengths and speeds) played over the loudspeaker.

*Parking can be a little bit of an issue downtown, the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street) is a few blocks away and charges a flat rate of $5 after 5 pm. Sometimes you can luck out and find a street parking spot, but the garage is nice, well-lit, and an easy walk.


Wednesdays

Poblano’s Mexican Cuisine

7575 Rivers Ave, North Charleston

WEEKLY

10 pm-2 am

DJ spinning a mix of Salsa, Bachata, Reggaeton and Merengue

No cover

Vibe: This is a Mexican restaurant-turned-dance club, so there’s a mix of patrons of the restaurant/bar and actual dancers. It tends to be a small crowd, but very laid back and lots of fun. The kitchen closes at 10 though, so if you want to eat, come early! If there are no Salsa/Bachata dancers there, the DJ will play other types of Latin music, so I recommend getting in touch with other dancers before going. The Holy City Salsa Dance Family on Facebook is a good place to start!


Fridays

Fridays rotate between multiple venues, it can get a little confusing.

Odd Friday Salsa Social

(1st,3rd, and 5th Friday)

Latin Dance with La Quinn hosts at Elite Dance International,

709 Johnnie Dodds Blvd, Suite 200

Mt. Pleasant SC

$10 cover, BYOB.

Intro lesson around 9-9:30 pm, open dancing 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: The host of this social, La Quinn, is a bundle of energy and the floor is FABULOUS. This tends to be more dancers and less party people, so you’ll usually get in a lot of good dances. Ample parking is a plus!

Upcoming Dates:  August 4, August 18


The Return of Mambo Nights

2nd Friday

Salseros of Charleston/Charleston Latin Dance hosts at the Knights of Columbus

143 Calhoun Street

$10 cover, there’s a bar at the venue that serves the cheapest drinks in downtown (seriously…$3 for a mixed drink is a steal in Charleston)

Intro lesson 7-8 pm, Open dancing 8-11 pm.

Vibe: The host, Yaenette Dixon, always brings in guest DJs who run the congress circuit, so the music is FIRE. The venue is very cool-- it’s an old building downtown and it has a very vintage feel to it. This is geared toward social dancers-- seasoned and new.

*This is in the heart of downtown and can be tough to find street parking. Hit the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street). It’s a few blocks away and is only $5 after 5 pm. It's only a few blocks from the Knights of Columbus. I've also found that parking on Calhoun Street near the Addlestone Library on the CofC campus is a good spot. Also a few blocks walk, but it's quiet and there are always meter spots open. I'm coming from West Ashley, so it's en route for me to just slide into a spot on Calhoun street and walk. And it's free!

Upcoming Dates:  August 11


TGIF Friday Social

4th Friday

Oui Dance 2 Latin Dance hosts at their permanent home, the Festival Dance Centre.

5101 Ashley Phosphate Road Suite 138

North Charleston

8-9 pm Intro Lesson

9 pm-1 am Social dancing

$10/person, BYOB.

Vibe: This is a new venue and it’s got a huge, beautiful floor.

(I haven’t been yet personally so I can’t speak for it, but I’ve heard people have a great time when they go!)

Upcoming dates: August 25


Saturdays

Latin Night with Latin Groove at Sushi Blue

61 State Street

$10 cover

WEEKLY

DJ Luigi of Latin Groove (Charleston’s longest running Latin party promoter) spins at this restaurant from 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: More of a club vibe-- he plays Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and some top 40. A lot of people are out partying in the Market Street area on Saturday nights and find their way to Sushi Blue. Good music and fun, though the amount of dancers who attends varies. The restaurant is great, so you can go early and eat.


Latin Night with DJ Leo at Agave’s Cantina

885 Island Park Drive, Daniel Island

10 pm- 1:30 am

WEEKLY

DJ Leo spinning mix of Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and more.

Ladies get in free, $10 cover.

Vibe: Restaurant turned Latin club. The crowd varies, but the music is usually pretty good.


Saturday Social

Oui Dance 2 Latin Dance hosts at their permanent home, the Festival Dance Centre.

5101 Ashley Phosphate Road Suite 138

North Charleston

8-9 pm Intro Lesson

9 pm-1 am Social dancing

$10/person, BYOB.

Vibe: This is a new venue and it’s got a huge, beautiful floor.

(I haven’t been yet personally so I can’t speak for it, but I’ve heard people have a great time when they go!)

Upcoming dates: August 5


Sundays

Holy City Salsa Dance Studio

Salsa Sundays

1st and 3rd Sunday of the month

7:30 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

8-11 pm Open Dancing

$10 cover, BYOB

1954 Ashley River Road Suite H

(Behind Rite-Aid off Savage road...use Google Maps or Waze, Apple Maps doesn’t work)

Vibe: Casual/laid back...at a dance studio, so more for dancers than for party-ers.

Upcoming Dates: August 6, August 20


Special Events Coming Up:

Salsa on Hutson Alley with DJ Lugi

39 John Street

August 13 3-7 pm

No cover

DJ Luigi mixing Salsa, Bachata, and Merengue outside of Victor Social Club. Enjoy a drink, some eats, and dancing! 

Remember: The meters aren't read on Sundays, so if you can find a metered parking spot, it's free!

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Places to Dance in Charleston July 2017

It't hot outside and it's guaranteed to be even hotter on the dance floor! As always, there are lots of great places for Latin Dance in Charleston, SC. Check out upcoming dates and hit the dance floor!


Tuesdays

Prohibition

Havana Nights Charleston

547 King Street

WEEKLY

8-9 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

9 pm- midnight Live Latin Jazz with the Gino Castillo Quartet

No cover. Buy drinks to support the venue and the band!

Vibe: A little wild, in a good way! The band is excellent-- but come hydrated because they play really long, really fast songs (average song length: 20 minutes). They take a long break, and during the break, there’s a mix of Salsa and Bachata (of normal lengths and speeds) played over the loudspeaker.

*Parking can be a little bit of an issue downtown, the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street) is a few blocks away and charges a flat rate of $5 after 5 pm. Sometimes you can luck out and find a street parking spot, but the garage is nice, well-lit, and an easy walk.


Wednesdays

Poblano’s Mexican Cuisine

7575 Rivers Ave, North Charleston

WEEKLY

10 pm-2 am

DJ spinning a mix of Salsa, Bachata, Reggaeton and Merengue

No cover

Vibe: This is a Mexican restaurant-turned-dance club, so there’s a mix of patrons of the restaurant/bar and actual dancers. It tends to be a small crowd, but very laid back and lots of fun. The kitchen closes at 10 though, so if you want to eat, come early! If there are no Salsa/Bachata dancers there, the DJ will play other types of Latin music, so I recommend getting in touch with other dancers before going. The Holy City Salsa Dance Family on Facebook is a good place to start!


Fridays

Fridays rotate between multiple venues, it can get a little confusing.

Odd Friday Salsa Social

(1st,3rd, and 5th Friday)

Latin Dance with La Quinn hosts at Elite Dance International,

709 Johnnie Dodds Blvd, Suite 200

Mt. Pleasant SC

$10 cover, BYOB.

Intro lesson around 9-9:30 pm, open dancing 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: The host of this social, La Quinn, is a bundle of energy and the floor is FABULOUS. This tends to be more dancers and less party people, so you’ll usually get in a lot of good dances. Ample parking is a plus!

Upcoming Dates:  July 21


The Return of Mambo Nights

2nd Friday

Salseros of Charleston/Charleston Latin Dance hosts at the Knights of Columbus

143 Calhoun Street

$10 cover, there’s a bar at the venue that serves the cheapest drinks in downtown (seriously…$3 for a mixed drink is a steal in Charleston)

Intro lesson 7-8 pm, Open dancing 8-11 pm.

Vibe: The host, Yaenette Dixon, always brings in guest DJs who run the congress circuit, so the music is FIRE. The venue is very cool-- it’s an old building downtown and it has a very vintage feel to it. This is geared toward social dancers-- seasoned and new.

*This is in the heart of downtown and can be tough to find street parking. Hit the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street). It’s a few blocks away and is only $5 after 5 pm. It's only a few blocks from the Knights of Columbus. I've also found that parking on Calhoun Street near the Addlestone Library on the CofC campus is a good spot. Also a few blocks walk, but it's quiet and there are always meter spots open. I'm coming from West Ashley, so it's en route for me to just slide into a spot on Calhoun street and walk. And it's free!

Upcoming Dates:  July 14


TGIF Friday Social

4th Friday

Oui Dance 2 Latin Dance hosts at their permanent home, the Festival Dance Centre.

5101 Ashley Phosphate Road Suite 138

North Charleston

8-9 pm Intro Lesson

9 pm-1 am Social dancing

$10/person, BYOB.

Vibe: This is a new venue and it’s got a huge, beautiful floor.

(I haven’t been yet personally so I can’t speak for it, but I’ve heard people have a great time when they go!)

Upcoming dates: July 28


Saturdays

Latin Night with Latin Groove at Sushi Blue

61 State Street

$10 cover

WEEKLY

DJ Luigi of Latin Groove (Charleston’s longest running Latin party promoter) spins at this restaurant from 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: More of a club vibe-- he plays Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and some top 40. A lot of people are out partying in the Market Street area on Saturday nights and find their way to Sushi Blue. Good music and fun, though the amount of dancers who attends varies. The restaurant is great, so you can go early and eat.

Special Party "We Love Colombia" on July 15


Latin Night with DJ Leo at Agave’s Cantina

885 Island Park Drive, Daniel Island

10 pm- 1:30 am

WEEKLY

DJ Leo spinning mix of Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and more.

Ladies get in free, $10 cover.

Vibe: Restaurant turned Latin club. The crowd varies, but the music is usually pretty good.


Saturday Social

Oui Dance 2 Latin Dance hosts at their permanent home, the Festival Dance Centre.

5101 Ashley Phosphate Road Suite 138

North Charleston

8-9 pm Intro Lesson

9 pm-1 am Social dancing

$10/person, BYOB.

Vibe: This is a new venue and it’s got a huge, beautiful floor.

(I haven’t been yet personally so I can’t speak for it, but I’ve heard people have a great time when they go!)

Upcoming dates: July 15


Sundays

Holy City Salsa Dance Studio

Salsa Sundays

1st and 3rd Sunday of the month

7:30 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

8-11 pm Open Dancing

$10 cover, BYOB

1954 Ashley River Road Suite H

(Behind Rite-Aid off Savage road...use Google Maps or Waze, Apple Maps doesn’t work)

Vibe: Casual/laid back...at a dance studio, so more for dancers than for party-ers.

Upcoming Dates: July 16


Special Events Coming Up:

Salsa on the Beach

July 23 4-8 pm

No cover

On the beach at 3rd Street East, Folly Beach. 

Dance on the beach! Bring towels/umbrellas/etc. Remember that parking is a pain in the butt at Folly on the weekends, so be prepared for traffic and carpool. 

No alcohol or plastic bags. Pets after 6 pm. 

 

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Behind the scenes...Under the floor

Floorpic.JPG

    Dance is great because it's not an activity that requires a lot of "gear." It's pretty simple: you, music, a floor. 

   Having a good floor does make a difference when dancing, especially when you start to get into more complicated moves and multiple turns, or when you're going to be dancing for a long stretch of time. 

 I spent WEEKS researching different flooring options last year before opening Holy City Salsa, and I'm happy with the choice I made. 

 

  The floor is about a thousand 12"x12" interlocking laminate tiles on top of a vinyl overlay. 

It's a floor that a lot of event rental companies use for portable dance floors, but so far, has been just fine stationary. We have picked up sections of it and taken it to events before, and it's done great. 

It's easy to clean, feels good, looks good, and sounds good. And it's like a giant puzzle made up of a THOUSAND pieces. 

I'll never forget last summer laying the floor in the heat and the dark, before the power was turned on in the space. Many thanks to Jason Torres, Thomas Kenney, and my contractor, Matt Beran, for the help! 

Check out this video to see what the tiles look like and how they work. 

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Places to Dance in Charleston June 2017

School's Out (or almost is for everyone) and it's time to enjoy the long days and get in some good DANCING. As always, lots of great events coming up in Charleston. Read on for the spots for Latin Dancing. 

Note: This is geared toward Latin dancers who are looking for nights that mostly play Salsa/Bachata/Kizomba/Merengue. There are other events in town for Ballroom, Swing, contra dancing, Tango, etc., but those aren't covered here. 


Tuesdays

Prohibition

Havana Nights Charleston

547 King Street

WEEKLY

8-9 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

9 pm- midnight Live Latin Jazz with the Gino Castillo Quartet

No cover. Buy drinks to support the venue and the band!

Vibe: A little wild, in a good way! The band is excellent-- but come hydrated because they play really long, really fast songs (average song length: 20 minutes). They take a long break, and during the break, there’s a mix of Salsa and Bachata (of normal lengths and speeds) played over the loudspeaker.

*Parking can be a little bit of an issue downtown, the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street) is a few blocks away and charges a flat rate of $5 after 5 pm. Sometimes you can luck out and find a street parking spot, but the garage is nice, well-lit, and an easy walk.


Wednesdays

Poblano’s Mexican Cuisine

7575 Rivers Ave, North Charleston

WEEKLY

10 pm-2 am

DJ spinning a mix of Salsa, Bachata, Reggaeton and Merengue

No cover

Vibe: This is a Mexican restaurant-turned-dance club, so there’s a mix of patrons of the restaurant/bar and actual dancers. It tends to be a small crowd, but very laid back and lots of fun. The kitchen closes at 10 though, so if you want to eat, come early! If there are no Salsa/Bachata dancers there, the DJ will play other types of Latin music, so I recommend getting in touch with other dancers before going. The Holy City Salsa Dance Family on Facebook is a good place to start!


Fridays

Fridays rotate between multiple venues, it can get a little confusing.

Odd Friday Salsa Social

(1st,3rd, and 5th Friday)

Latin Dance with La Quinn hosts at Elite Dance International,

709 Johnnie Dodds Blvd, Suite 200

Mt. Pleasant SC

$10 cover, BYOB.

Intro lesson around 9-9:30 pm, open dancing 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: The host of this social, La Quinn, is a bundle of energy and the floor is FABULOUS. This tends to be more dancers and less party people, so you’ll usually get in a lot of good dances. Ample parking is a plus!

Upcoming Dates:  June 2, June 16


The Return of Mambo Nights

2nd Friday

Salseros of Charleston/Charleston Latin Dance hosts at the Knights of Columbus

143 Calhoun Street

$10 cover, there’s a bar at the venue that serves the cheapest drinks in downtown (seriously…$3 for a mixed drink is a steal in Charleston)

Intro lesson 7-8 pm, Open dancing 8-11 pm.

Vibe: The host, Yaenette Dixon, always brings in guest DJs who run the congress circuit, so the music is FIRE. The venue is very cool-- it’s an old building downtown and it has a very vintage feel to it. This is geared toward social dancers-- seasoned and new.

*This is in the heart of downtown and can be tough to find street parking. Hit the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street). It’s a few blocks away and is only $5 after 5 pm. It's only a few blocks from the Knights of Columbus. I've also found that parking on Calhoun Street near the Addlestone Library on the CofC campus is a good spot. Also a few blocks walk, but it's quiet and there are always meter spots open. I'm coming from West Ashley, so it's en route for me to just slide into a spot on Calhoun street and walk. And it's free!

Upcoming Dates:  June 9


TGIF Friday Social

4th Friday

Oui Dance 2 Latin Dance hosts at their permanent home, the Festival Dance Centre.

5101 Ashley Phosphate Road Suite 138

North Charleston

8-9 pm Intro Lesson

9 pm-1 am Social dancing

$10/person, BYOB.

Vibe: This is a new venue and it’s got a huge, beautiful floor.

(I haven’t been yet personally so I can’t speak for it, but I’ve heard people have a great time when they go!)

Upcoming dates: June 23


Saturdays

Latin Night with Latin Groove at Sushi Blue

61 State Street

$10 cover

WEEKLY

DJ Luigi of Latin Groove (Charleston’s longest running Latin party promoter) spins at this restaurant from 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: More of a club vibe-- he plays Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and some top 40. A lot of people are out partying in the Market Street area on Saturday nights and find their way to Sushi Blue. Good music and fun, though the amount of dancers who attends varies. The restaurant is great, so you can go early and eat.


Latin Night with DJ Leo at Agave’s Cantina

885 Island Park Drive, Daniel Island

10 pm- 1:30 am

WEEKLY

DJ Leo spinning mix of Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and more.

Ladies get in free, $10 cover.

Vibe: Restaurant turned Latin club. The crowd varies, but the music is usually pretty good.


Saturday Social

Oui Dance 2 Latin Dance hosts at their permanent home, the Festival Dance Centre.

5101 Ashley Phosphate Road Suite 138

North Charleston

8-9 pm Intro Lesson

9 pm-1 am Social dancing

$10/person, BYOB.

Vibe: This is a new venue and it’s got a huge, beautiful floor.

(I haven’t been yet personally so I can’t speak for it, but I’ve heard people have a great time when they go!)

Upcoming dates: June 10


Sundays

Holy City Salsa Dance Studio

Salsa Sundays

1st and 3rd Sunday of the month

7:30 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

8-11 pm Open Dancing

$10 cover, BYOB

1954 Ashley River Road Suite H

(Behind Rite-Aid off Savage road...use Google Maps or Waze, Apple Maps doesn’t work)

Vibe: Casual/laid back...at a dance studio, so more for dancers than for party-ers.

Upcoming Dates: June 4, June 18


Special Events Coming Up:

Soulfunk Kubanized at the Charleston Pour House

June 30

Charleston Pour House

1977 Maybank Highway

Doors open at 8:30 pm, show at 9:30 pm.

$8 in advance, $12 day of.

Gino Castillo presents another edition of Soulfunk Kubanized, featuring popular local musicians, including Kanika Moore and Manny Houston, singing "Kubanized" versions of soul/funk/motown standards. Past Kubanized songs have included "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder and "On and On" by Erykah Badu. 

Vibe: The Pour House is a GREAT venue for live music and is always a good time. Expect to see a mix of people, from Dead Heads to businessman. It's not typically a Salsa venue, but the floor is big and pretty good and the drinks are reasonably priced. 

Bonus...go early and eat across the street at Zia Taqueria for some delicious tacos and margaritas pre-concert. 

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Look into my eyes....or don't?

How much eye contact should you make when dancing with a partner? 

Just like when you're having a conversation with someone, you want to maintain eye contact. But there are considerations when social dancing, like traffic flow and what the move might call for.

Leads often have to keep an eye out for traffic and make sure that they don't crash into anybody else. And follows, it doesn't hurt to keep an eye out for flying elbows and feet.

 However, leads and follows both have to avoid the "scoping out another dance partner" syndrome. It's no fun to dance with someone who is clearly just looking around the floor for another partner. 

Some moves require a change in gaze...it will actually make the step easier and make it look nicer if you let your head and eyes move naturally. 

No matter your comfort level with eye contact, don't look at the floor. Nothing but cockroaches down there!
 

Check out this week's educational video discussing eye contact and comment below with your thoughts!

 

 

 

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Closed position...how close is too close?

One of the questions that always comes up during classes is "How close should I be in closed position?"

To me, there's not a hard and fast rule. It's not like you're supposed to be exactly 11.25" away from your partner at all times. There are a few factors to consider for "ideal" placement: your body, your comfort level, and what the dance calls for. 

Check out this video and read on for more thoughts on closed position.

 

Some of your space will depend on individual anatomy...people with longer arms might be able to stand further away from someone and still be in the correct alignment (shoulder blades down the back, not "popping" out of socket). Partners who are significantly different heights will have to be closer together to accommodate the height differences. Everybody is different, and that's what makes dancing so beautiful!

Space also depends on personal preference. Some people need to maintain their "bubble" of personal space, especially with strangers. Also, if you're super sweaty, whoever you're dancing with *might* not want to be quite as close to you. True story: I was dancing with a guy who looked like he had gone swimming with his clothes on. Naturally, I was trying to stay as far away from him as a I could, even floating my left arm off of his body in closed position to try to stay dry. 

Other people, especially those who dance Sensual Bachata and Kizomba, like to go in and be super close. If you are going for a close hold, whoever initiates it (lead or follow), have good frame and be sensitive to your partners' needs and the needs of the dance. Some dances and some moves require a close hold because they rely on connection across the body, not just in hand placement and one shoulder. 

As always,one of the  goals of social dancing is to build trust between two people and make sure both partners feel confident. Happy dancing!

What do you think? What are your feelings on closed position? How close is too close? How do you lead or follow closed position in a way that's comfortable to you? 

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Mastering the Elusive Body Roll

Ahhhh body rolls... if you've seen any Sensual Bachata or Kizomba videos lately, you know that body rolls are kind of a big deal. Whether you're trying to become the next big Bachetero or just feel a little less weird and awkward doing body rolls, check out this video for some step-by-step tips and tricks.

Important things to remember:

-Core, core, core. And more core. Any body isolations come from core strength and control, so make sure that you're really squeezing that stomach when you're working on these. 

-These take time to master. You will not get body rolls in one day. And that is ok. Be patient with yourself and take a few minutes every day to practice. It really pays off!

-Have fun! You'll feel kind of silly doing this, especially if your'e practicing by yourself. But crank up some of your favorite songs (I love this Lounge-Soft House Mix on Spotify for isolation practice) and go for it!

Did this help? How do you practice your body rolls? What other steps and moves are you struggling with? Let me know!

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Places to Dance in Charleston May 2017

Figuring out where to dance can be tricky... here's our list of upcoming Latin nights and events in Charleston. As always, double-check with venues and organizers before stepping out. 

Happy Dancing!


Tuesdays

Prohibition

Havana Nights Charleston

547 King Street

WEEKLY

8-9 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

9 pm- midnight Live Latin Jazz with the Gino Castillo Quartet

No cover. Buy drinks to support the venue and the band!

Vibe: A little wild, in a good way! The band is excellent-- but come hydrated because they play really long, really fast songs (average song length: 20 minutes). They take a long break, and during the break, there’s a mix of Salsa and Bachata (of normal lengths and speeds) played over the loudspeaker.

*Parking can be a little bit of an issue downtown, the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street) is a few blocks away and charges a flat rate of $5 after 5 pm. Sometimes you can luck out and find a street parking spot, but the garage is nice, well-lit, and an easy walk.


Wednesdays

Poblano’s Mexican Cuisine

7575 Rivers Ave, North Charleston

WEEKLY

10 pm-2 am

DJ spinning a mix of Salsa, Bachata, Reggaeton and Merengue

No cover

Vibe: This is a Mexican restaurant-turned-dance club, so there’s a mix of patrons of the restaurant/bar and actual dancers. It tends to be a small crowd, but very laid back and lots of fun. The kitchen closes at 10 though, so if you want to eat, come early! If there are no Salsa/Bachata dancers there, the DJ will play other types of Latin music, so I recommend getting in touch with other dancers before going. The Holy City Salsa Dance Family on Facebook is a good place to start!


Fridays

Fridays rotate between multiple venues, it can get a little confusing.

Odd Friday Salsa Social

(1st,3rd, and 5th Friday)

Latin Dance with La Quinn hosts at Elite Dance International,

709 Johnnie Dodds Blvd, Suite 200

Mt. Pleasant SC

$10 cover, BYOB.

Intro lesson around 9-9:30 pm, open dancing 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: The host of this social, La Quinn, is a bundle of energy and the floor is FABULOUS. This tends to be more dancers and less party people, so you’ll usually get in a lot of good dances. Ample parking is a plus!

Upcoming Dates:  May 5***, May 19

May 5 Elite Dance International is hosting a special CINCO DE MAYO Party from 7:30-10 pm with a Bachata/Merengue lesson, performances, snacks and more. It's $15/person, $10 for students/military. This is separate from the Odd Friday Salsa Social and is more geared toward ballroom dancers.


The Return of Mambo Nights

2nd Friday

Salseros of Charleston/Charleston Latin Dance hosts at the Knights of Columbus

143 Calhoun Street

$10 cover, there’s a bar at the venue that serves the cheapest drinks in downtown (seriously…$3 for a mixed drink is a steal in Charleston)

Intro lesson 7-8 pm, Open dancing 8-11 pm.

Vibe: The host, Yaenette Dixon, always brings in guest DJs who run the congress circuit, so the music is FIRE. The venue is very cool-- it’s an old building downtown and it has a very vintage feel to it. This is geared toward social dancers-- seasoned and new.

*This is in the heart of downtown and can be tough to find street parking. Hit the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street). It’s a few blocks away and is only $5 after 5 pm. It's only a few blocks from the Knights of Columbus. I've also found that parking on Calhoun Street near the Addlestone Library on the CofC campus is a good spot. Also a few blocks walk, but it's quiet and there are always meter spots open. I'm coming from West Ashley, so it's en route for me to just slide into a spot on Calhoun street and walk. And it's free!

Upcoming Dates:  May 12


TGIF Friday Social

4th Friday

Oui Dance 2 Latin Dance hosts at their permanent home, the Festival Dance Centre.

5101 Ashley Phosphate Road Suite 138

North Charleston

8-9 pm Intro Lesson

9 pm-1 am Social dancing

$10/person, BYOB.

Vibe: This is a new venue and it’s got a huge, beautiful floor.

(I haven’t been yet personally so I can’t speak for it, but I’ve heard people have a great time when they go!)

Upcoming dates: May 26


Saturdays

Latin Night with Latin Groove at Sushi Blue

61 State Street

$10 cover

WEEKLY

DJ Luigi of Latin Groove (Charleston’s longest running Latin party promoter) spins at this restaurant from 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: More of a club vibe-- he plays Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and some top 40. A lot of people are out partying in the Market Street area on Saturday nights and find their way to Sushi Blue. Good music and fun, though the amount of dancers who attends varies. The restaurant is great, so you can go early and eat.


Latin Night with DJ Leo at Agave’s Cantina

885 Island Park Drive, Daniel Island

10 pm- 1:30 am

WEEKLY

DJ Leo spinning mix of Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and more.

Ladies get in free, $10 cover.

Vibe: Restaurant turned Latin club. The crowd varies, but the music is usually pretty good.


Saturday Social

Oui Dance 2 Latin Dance hosts at their permanent home, the Festival Dance Centre.

5101 Ashley Phosphate Road Suite 138

North Charleston

8-9 pm Intro Lesson

9 pm-1 am Social dancing

$10/person, BYOB.

Vibe: This is a new venue and it’s got a huge, beautiful floor.

(I haven’t been yet personally so I can’t speak for it, but I’ve heard people have a great time when they go!)

Upcoming dates: May 13


Sundays

Holy City Salsa Dance Studio

Salsa Sundays

1st and 3rd Sunday of the month

7:30 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

8-11 pm Open Dancing

$10 cover, BYOB

1954 Ashley River Road Suite H

(Behind Rite-Aid off Savage road...use Google Maps or Waze, Apple Maps doesn’t work)

Vibe: Casual/laid back...at a dance studio, so more for dancers than for party-ers.

Upcoming Dates: May 7, May 21


Special Events Coming Up:

Cinco de Mayo Festival

May 6

7-11 pm

Visitor’s Center Bus Shed

375 Meeting STreet

$10 in advance/$15 at the door

This event is always a BLAST. DJ Luigi (Latin Groove) gets live music, performers, food trucks, drinks, etc. You’ll be dancing on concrete and it gets HOT, so plan accordingly with your attire.

Food and drinks are separate costs-- bring cash so you can buy food and drink tickets. There are always really good Latin food trucks and vendors...if Pacha Mama is there with the arepas, get them!!!

Come see us! Holy City Salsa will be performing.

Everyone registered for the May Dance Challenge by May 3 will be entered to win tix to Cinco, the Mambo Nights Social May 12, and the HCS socials in May.

 

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Finding the "1" in Salsa

When learning to dance Salsa, most people have the hardest time with the music.

The steps themselves are not that complicated...step forward, step back, do some turns. BUT what makes Salsa dancing (and music) so complicated, and so invigorating, is the complexity of the music. 

Salsa music incorporates a variety of rhythms and instruments to create a unique sound...that's why it's so hard to dance Salsa to music that is not Salsa music. 

So when you're practicing and you don't have an instructor shouting off "1,2,3..5,6,7," how do you find that "one" to get you started? 

What helps most for me is to train my ear and body at the same time. 

So, count while you're dancing. When you're in a class, count along with the instructor. Or practice with pre-recorded counts, really listening to the count while feeling what's happening in your body. Music and movement synched together is dancing. It can be hard to feel as a brand new beginner, but you may surprise yourself. Muscle memory is a powerful thing. 

Here's a track pre-recorded with the 1,2,3,5,6,7. It's a little obnoxious, but if you practice with it, you'll hear and feel where and how you're supposed to me moving. Here's one with just the 1..as you get more comfortable, try just practicing with the 1 and filling in the rest of the counts on your own. 

Listen to the different instruments and follow one with a strong down beat.

The easiest instrument to pick out is usually the piano playing it's riff, called a montuno or tumbao. The down beat/one is very heavy in the montuno, and it repeats. Often. It's part of the rhythm backbone of a Salsa song. 

This video does a great job showing you the montuno and explaining how to hear it.  This video also teaches you to listen out for the congas and the clave. 

The congas have a heavy emphasis on the "2" and the "6" during the song, so you can use those strong beats to mark where you are in the eight count. 

The video above also discusses the clave. 

Clave means "key" in Spanish...it's that distinctive sound of two little sticks being hit together that you may or may not have picked out in Salsa songs. Itcan be in a 2/3 pattern (with the hits going 1-2..1-2-3) or 3/2 (with the hits going 1-2-3...1-2).  Personally, I think trying to find the one based on the clave is very difficult for a beginner because you have to be able to differentiate between the 2/3 or the 3/2 clave to find your one, so if you're new, try listening to another piece of the puzzle first. 

We all need more cowbell, right? 

When songs have a strong cowbell in them, that's one of the easiest ways to find the one. The cowbell usually hits on 1, 3, 5, and 7, and feels like the "heartbeat" of the song. 

Salsa music and Salsa dancing are endlessly complex and fascinating. This is just the tip of the ice burg discussing the different instruments and rhythms that make up Salsa. 

Listen to Salsa music. Lots of it. Practice as much as you can and find which method works for you to find the one.

What works best for you? How do you find the one beat? Is musicality the hardest part of Salsa dancing for you? 

BIG THANKS TO JASON TORRES FOR HIS INPUT FOR THIS ARTICLE...he shared some great videos and articles that I used as resources to put together this post. 

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HCS Tanks Pre-Order

Want a snazzy new tank to beat the upcoming heat and look fresh while you're doing it?

New HCS Tanks coming soon...by Pre-Order ONLY. This is an approximation of how they'll look...the logo on the front will be bigger.

Ladies, you can rock these too!

$20 per tank, please specify what color/size you want when you order. You can also order in person. Order deadline is April 25th at midnight (EST).

Sizes S-XL.

What color/size?
HolyCitySalsa_15912_DESIGN2-2.jpg

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Dance Rehab: Simple Stretch Sequence

Dancing, no matter your level, can be rough on the body. Here's a short, simple stretch sequence that you can do a couple of times a day to feel good. It feels extra amazing if you do the laying down sequences on a heating pad.

As always, consult a physician before starting a new fitness regimen.

The sequence:
Laying down, both knees pulled into your chest, wrap your arms around your legs. Hold for 30 seconds or do short holds-- pull it in for 2 seconds, release, repeat 3-4 times.

Draw right knee toward your chest, extend left leg long. Hold 30 seconds or do the short holds.
Repeat on the left side. 

Take right knee toward your left shoulder, but resist the urge to go into a twist. Use this as an outer hip stretch. Hold 30 seconds or short 2 second holds. Repeat on the left.

Repeat all 5 of these at least once. 

Do simple lunges on each leg. Do multiple shorter holds-- 4-5 reps of 10-15 seconds each or a long hold. Add a side stretch if your balance feels good!

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Places to Dance in Charleston April 2017

Finding where to go dance Salsa in Charleston can be a little bit of an adventure for the uninitiated.

It can feel like a mysterious insiders club...you never knew that there was a Latin Dance Scene right in your own city, but there is one and it is thriving. 

Here's a list of places to dance with upcoming dates, vibe notes, and parking recommendations. This is a long list, so buckle up. I've tried to make this as up-to-date as possible, but last minute closings or cancellations are always a possibility. Double-check with the venues and organizers to make sure all systems are a go!


Tuesdays

Prohibition

Havana Nights Charleston

547 King Street

WEEKLY

8-9 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

9 pm- midnight Live Latin Jazz with the Gino Castillo Quartet

No cover. Buy drinks to support the venue and the band!

Vibe: A little wild, in a good way! The band is excellent-- but come hydrated because they play really long, really fast songs (average song length: 20 minutes). They take a long break, and during the break, there’s a mix of Salsa and Bachata (of normal lengths and speeds) played over the loudspeaker.

*Parking can be a little bit of an issue downtown, the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street) is a few blocks away and charges a flat rate of $5 after 5 pm. Sometimes you can luck out and find a street parking spot, but the garage is nice, well-lit, and an easy walk.


Wednesdays

Poblano’s Mexican Cuisine

7575 Rivers Ave, North Charleston

WEEKLY

10 pm-2 am

DJ spinning a mix of Salsa, Bachata, Reggaeton and Merengue

No cover

Vibe: This is a Mexican restaurant-turned-dance club, so there’s a mix of patrons of the restaurant/bar and actual dancers. It tends to be a small crowd, but very laid back and lots of fun. The kitchen closes at 10 though, so if you want to eat, come early! If there are no Salsa/Bachata dancers there, the DJ will play other types of Latin music, so I recommend getting in touch with other dancers before going. The Holy City Salsa Dance Family on Facebook is a good place to start!


Fridays

Fridays rotate between multiple venues, it can get a little confusing.

Odd Friday Salsa Social

(1st,3rd, and 5th Friday)

Latin Dance with La Quinn hosts at Elite Dance International,

709 Johnnie Dodds Blvd, Suite 200

Mt. Pleasant SC

$10 cover, BYOB.

Intro lesson around 9-9:30 pm, open dancing 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: The host of this social, La Quinn, is a bundle of energy and the floor is FABULOUS. This tends to be more dancers and less party people, so you’ll usually get in a lot of good dances. Ample parking is a plus!

Upcoming Dates: April 21


The Return of Mambo Nights

2nd Friday

Salseros of Charleston/Charleston Latin Dance hosts at the Knights of Columbus

143 Calhoun Street

$10 cover, there’s a bar at the venue that serves the cheapest drinks in downtown (seriously…$3 for a mixed drink is a steal in Charleston)

Intro lesson 7-8 pm, Open dancing 8-11 pm.

Vibe: The host, Yaenette Dixon, always brings in guest DJs who run the congress circuit, so the music is FIRE. The venue is very cool-- it’s an old building downtown and it has a very vintage feel to it. This is geared toward social dancers-- seasoned and new.

*This is in the heart of downtown and can be tough to find street parking. Hit the Visitor’s Center Parking Garage (73 Mary Street). It’s a few blocks away and is only $5 after 5 pm.

HOLY CITY SALSA WILL BE IN THE HOUSE AT THIS EVENT. Staff and students will be there hanging out and dancing...join us!

Upcoming Dates:  April 28* This is a change from what was originally scheduled, May 12


TGIF Friday Social

4th Friday

Oui Dance 2 Latin Dance hosts at their permanent home, the Festival Dance Centre.

5101 Ashley Phosphate Road Suite 138

North Charleston

8-9 pm Intro Lesson

9 pm-1 am Social dancing

$10/person, BYOB.

Vibe: This is a new venue and it’s got a huge, beautiful floor.

(I haven’t been yet personally so I can’t speak for it, but I’ve heard people have a great time when they go!)

Upcoming dates: April 28


Saturdays

Latin Night with Latin Groove at Sushi Blue

61 State Street

$10 cover

WEEKLY

DJ Luigi of Latin Groove (Charleston’s longest running Latin party promoter) spins at this restaurant from 10 pm-2 am.

Vibe: More of a club vibe-- he plays Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and some top 40. A lot of people are out partying in the Market Street area on Saturday nights and find their way to Sushi Blue. Good music and fun, though the amount of dancers who attends varies. The restaurant is great, so you can go early and eat.


Latin Night with DJ Leo at Agave’s Cantina

885 Island Park Drive, Daniel Island

10 pm- 1:30 am

WEEKLY

DJ Leo spinning mix of Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Reggaeton, and more.

Ladies get in free, $10 cover.

Vibe: Restaurant turned Latin club. The crowd varies, but the music is usually pretty good.


Saturday Social

Oui Dance 2 Latin Dance hosts at their permanent home, the Festival Dance Centre.

5101 Ashley Phosphate Road Suite 138

North Charleston

8-9 pm Intro Lesson

9 pm-1 am Social dancing

$10/person, BYOB.

Vibe: This is a new venue and it’s got a huge, beautiful floor.

(I haven’t been yet personally so I can’t speak for it, but I’ve heard people have a great time when they go!)

Upcoming dates: April 15


Special Events Coming Up:

Cinco de Mayo Festival

May 6

7-11 pm

Visitor’s Center Bus Shed

375 Meeting STreet

$10 in advance/$15 at the door

This event is always a BLAST. DJ Luigi (Latin Groove) gets live music, performers, food trucks, drinks, etc. You’ll be dancing on concrete and it gets HOT, so plan accordingly with your attire.

Food and drinks are separate costs-- bring cash so you can buy food and drink tickets. There are always really good Latin food trucks and vendors...if Pacha Mama is there with the arepas, get them!!!

Come see us! Holy City Salsa will be performing.

Everyone registered for the May Dance Challenge by May 3 will be entered to win tix to Cinco, the Mambo Nights Social May 12, and the HCS socials in May.


And of course, we have our Salsa Sundays (we'll be back in May!)

Holy City Salsa Dance Studio

Salsa Sundays

1st and 3rd Sunday of the month

7:30 pm Intro Salsa Lesson

8-11 pm Open Dancing

$10 cover, BYOB

1954 Ashley River Road Suite H

(Behind Rite-Aid off Savage road...use Google Maps or Waze, Apple Maps doesn’t work)

Vibe: Casual/laid back...at a dance studio, so more for dancers than for party-ers.

Upcoming dates: May 7, May 9

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Making a Statement: "Brazilliance" by Dorothy Draper

HolyCitySalsa-149.jpg

One of the first things you notice when you walk in the door at Holy City Salsa is the bright green banana leaf accent wall. It's fun, it's funky, and it has a story.

The wallpaper, called "Brazilliance," was created by the leading lady of Interior Design, Dorothy Draper, for her renovation of The Greenbrier Hotel in 1940s

I stumbled upon it by accident. I knew that I wanted the studio to have a look I dubbed "vintage tropical." I started culling Pinterest for inspiration, and every time I searched "tropical decor," pins featuring fabulous banana leaf wallpaper would crop up.

But I had a choice. I could go with the Martinique Banana Leaf wallpaper, made by Don Loper for the Beverly Hills Hotel in the 40s...

OR I could go with Brazilliance, by Dorothy Draper.

 

I liked the brighter greens and the grape clusters in Brazilliance, but once I did some research, I found that even more than the wallpaper, I liked the idea of featuring a design by Dorothy Draper.

She was a pioneer in her field. She's credited for making Interior Design an actual profession, and she was a lady going into business for herself in a creative industry in the 1940s. Can you imagine? 

I bet that she had a lot of naysayers. A lot of haters.

She chose bold prints, bright colors, designs that went against the grain. She wasn't afraid to make a statement. 

And she knew the importance of a well-designed space. What it could do for the mind. For the soul.

"[There] seems to be within all of us an innate yearning to be lifted momentarily out of our own lives into the realm of charm and make believe." -Dorothy Draper

I related to her philosophy. My idea for the studio was to create a place where you could feel whisked away from your daily life. Where you would feel transported to a different place, a different time. Where you could meet different people from all over, and not be able to tell if you were in a strip mall in West Ashley or in a another world. 

The way she related to her work spoke to me too and what I'm trying to achieve at the studio.

"You don't sell a commodity, you sell joy, gaiety, excitement. You aim at people's hearts, not their minds." -Dorothy Draper

It's all about the experience and the feeling that people get when they walk in the door at Holy City Salsa.  I think the wallpaper plays a huge part in creating those important feelings.

 It makes people feel happy. It makes them feel like they can have fun. It makes them feel like they can make a bold choice, whether it's asking someone new to dance, putting up a bright accent wall in their own home, or embarking on a new adventure like international travel or a different job.

Every time I look at the wall, I see part of Dorothy Draper's story and her legacy. It keeps me inspired. Motivated. It makes me want to continue pressing forward and growing my community,  making my statements, even on the days when it gets tough or I want to give up. 

"Never look back, except for an occasional glance, look ahead and plan for the future. Success is not built on past laurels, but rather on a continuous activity. Keep busy searching out new ideas and, experimentally, keep ahead of the times, or at least up with them." -Dorothy Draper

Stay tuned for more stories about Holy City Salsa Dance Studio! 

 

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Practice Time: The Key to the Next Level

You know those dancers when you see them.

Every movement is flawless. Graceful. Smooth. Confident. 

They seem to glide across the floor, like butter melting in a hot pan.

Guess what? They're no different from you. They weren't born that way. They didn't wake up one day, magically able to dance.

They put in the time. The work. The sweat. The effort.

They practiced.

And...they continue to practice. 

Practice is the ONLY way to take your dancing to the next level... from where you are, to where you want to be. Practicing will maximize your enjoyment of dancing, because steps you once struggled with will become second nature. You'll be able to play with the music more. Experiment with expressing your personality and stop focusing merely on staying on beat. 

Common excuses people make about practicing:

I don't have anyone to practice with.

Use your connections! Put it out there on Facebook that you're looking for a practice partner. Ask your dance instructor to put you in touch with someone. Holy City Salsa dancers, use the Dance Fam group on Facebook to find a partner. If you're out dancing and you are dancing with someone you connect with, ask them if they'd like to get together and practice. You might feel awkward, like your'e asking someone on a date, but try this simple script.

"Hey, I really like dancing with you, and I want to take my dancing to the next level. Would you like to get together sometime and practice? Let's exchange info and pick out a time and date to practice."

I don't have time to practice.

Ever heard that quote that Einstein, Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Beyoncé, Lin-Manuel Miranda, [Insert your favorite accomplished person here] all had the same number of hours in a day as you? Does that excuse really hold up? If you want to do something, you'll make time for it. No questions asked. Block out your practice time the way you block out time for anything else, whether it's going to the gym, working, socializing, or catching up on Narcos. 

When you have a practice partner holding you accountable, you're more likely to practice as well, so find someone to work with you, and help you schedule your practices.

I don't have anywhere to practice.

Kitchens and living rooms usually have ample space for practicing, but if you are looking for a larger spot, consider seeing if your gym has a group fitness room you can use when classes aren't being held. Try renting out a dance studio, or asking a community space (a church, university, recreation center, park, etc), if you can rent or borrow space. I've practiced in gyms, on basketball courts, in living rooms, empty classrooms, hotel hallways, parking lots...use your imagination. An open floor usually equals a dance floor, IMO. 

If you're here in Charleston with us, come to an Open Practice Time at Holy City Salsa. Think of it as shared studio rental. You can use the floor, the mirrors, the sound system, and ask an instructor-on-duty questions. Be polite though!  Don't hog the instructor (s). If you want a private lesson, hire an instructor for a private lesson. Connect with your friends and fellow students through the Dance Fam Group on Facebook, and make a "practice date." Try it out for a month and see how much you improve through regular practice!

No matter who you are or what your level, you have to practice to maintain and improve. Challenge yourself to practicing today, even if it's just five minutes of walking through your moves while you're cooking dinner or practicing counting the music while your'e driving. Every little bit helps!

 

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It's Raining Men! Gentleman taking over Salsa and Bachata Classes

Image from CreativeCommons.Org  

Image from CreativeCommons.Org

 

For the last month or two at Holy City Salsa, there’s been an interesting phenomena in several of the group classes—more guys than girls.

            It’s surprising...how many times have you been at some sort of group dance class or event that’s been overflowing with women and only a handful of men? So what’s the deal? Why are men taking over the dance class game? And what are women missing out on by not taking classes?

            Here are a few theories and observations from personal experiences—comment below if you agree or disagree and let’s have a dialogue about this.

            The Learning Curve is Imbalanced

            Women/follows can go on the social dance floor, be led through moves and achieve a certain degree of competency without necessarily knowing much more than a few basics.  Though classes and lessons are important to learning finesse, style, and technique, most ladies can at least learn enough on the social dance floor to have a decent time at a dance event.  

            Men/leads can’t really learn by doing on the social dance floor. Or if they try, women/follows may start avoiding them because they will get tired of being improperly led through moves. For a man/lead to have a good time at a social dance event, he needs to be somewhat competent, and at least have a few moves he can lead in his arsenal.

           A lead said his enjoyment of dance events exponentially increased the more he learned. The more moves he knew, the more technique he had, the more fun dancing became for him. Follows are not expecting leads to come out of the gate being excellent dancers—there is definitely a learning curve on both ends, but follows often advance faster than leads, at least in the beginning.

            This makes women/follows feel like they don’t need to take dance classes on a regular basis—however, once women/follows plateau from just learning by social dancing, they tend to stay in a plateau, whereas leads who take classes regularly tend to advance past their plateaus. Think the tortoise and the hare.

            The Social Structure is Imbalanced

            Women may opt out of taking dance classes because they statistically spend more time on housework and childcare than men.  If a woman has to get dinner on the table, make sure the kids are taken care of, and get those extra loads of laundry in, she’s probably not going to spend her spare time taking dance classes. Women with kids, especially single moms, often have to arrange childcare when they are taking dance classes, so a one-hour dance class turns into an expensive and time-consuming process after setting up and paying for childcare.

        Men are also more likely than women to spend time on any given day participating in a leisure activity, such as dancing.

            The time of year may also affect whether or not women can attend classes—those with kids find more responsibilities heaped on them at the beginning and ending of the school year and around the holidays.

            Women also may have less disposable income than men. Women still earn 80 cents to every dollar that a man earns, and so it’s possible that women have less discretionary funds to spend on dance classes as well as less time. 

            The Dance Class Model is Imbalanced

             Social dance classes for partner work, like Salsa and Bachata, tend to focus on learning steps, patterns, and combos. Since the onus is on the lead to lead these combos, more attention is usually given to teach the lead’s technique and footwork. Though principles of following and styling are also taught, the elements of a class that would appeal to a lady are not necessarily the focus.

            Though it is always beneficial to practice a step over and over again, ladies/follows may grow bored with the repetitions needed for a lead to master a step. It’s up to the instructor to make sure that the ladies/follows always have something to work on and refine.

            Women may start out taking dance classes, but stop because they feel like they get the same experience from just social dancing if the instructor doesn’t take the time to work with the follows.

 

So what do you think? Do you think these observations and ideas are valid, or totally off the mark? What have you noticed happen in dance classes? Does it vary from community to community? Are you in a scene that’s overflowing with women? 

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Learn to Dance: Trust the Process

Fred Astaire said, “Some people seem to think that good dancers are born, but all the good dancers I have known are taught or trained.”

            Nobody comes out of the womb dancing. Or if they do, they’re not dancing like professionals. Learning to dance is a process, and sometimes, it’s not a comfortable one.

            People have a perception that since dance is fun, it should be easy. That because it’s something that people do for entertainment, there isn’t any work involved. They think dancing is like being able to roll your tongue—you can either do it, or you can’t.

           This perception holds so many people back from stepping onto the dance floor or into a studio to learn to dance. They never even give themselves the opportunity to try, or if they do try, they are constantly second-guessing themselves and holding themselves back from really learning.        

            Dancing is like learning another language. It takes time. It takes practice. It takes some method of instruction.  It takes all of these elements working together to succeed. Like learning another language, there are awkward phases. There are lots of mistakes. There are potential times to inadvertently offend another person. But like learning another language, learning to dance gives you the ability to connect with more people. To connect with more cultures. To express yourself more fully.

            You just have to trust the process. You have to trust that some days, it will feel like two steps forward and one step back. That some days, your body and brain will rebel. That some days, you’ll feel like a pubescent teenager, all elbows and angles.

          Yes, you’re aiming to come out on the other side as a better dancer, but the whole fun of learning to dance is the process. Along the way, you learn so much about yourself and other people.

           You learn that even if you don’t master something at once, with time and practice, it becomes fluid. You learn that every mistake is a chance to improve. You learn that every single time you dance, you get better. There is no going back. There is no regression. Once you learn something, you’ve learned it. It’s like riding a bicycle— you’ll never forget. Sure, you may get a little bit rusty, but if you stick with it, you will never become a worse dancer.

          So beginner dancers and would-be beginner dancers—trust the process. Overcome your fears and take the first step to learn to dance. Experienced dancers…remember that there is never really a stopping point. There is always something to learn. Always something to master. Always a new way to look at the same step. Wherever you are, keep dancing, and keep enjoying the process along the way.

What do you think? How have you trusted the dance process? How have you not? What limitation do you need to overcome to get to the next level? 

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Dancing for Two: Dance Instructor Teaches and Performs While Expecting

IMG_0318.JPG

If you’ve taken class or seen a performance from Holy City Salsa Dance Studio recently, you’ve probably seen or danced with instructor Kristen Jett. And her soon-to-be-born tiny dancer, London Grace.

            Kristen, 27 weeks at the time of writing, has been teaching, dancing, and even performing all the way through her pregnancy. 

            “It is a bit more challenging because I have to take more frequent breaks and my stamina doesn’t last as long,” says Kristen. “I have taken a step back from social dancing because heels have become a challenge and my balance is very different when it comes to my multiple salsa spins, where teaching provides a more low key environment.”

But even though she has taken a step back from social dancing, she hasn’t slowed down much.

            “Dancing has been an outlet for me to stay healthy and active. I don’t have time for the gym with my busy work schedule, so dancing and teaching has provided a healthy outlet that keeps me from just napping and vegging on the couch.”

            Even if she’s not going out to the local Latin nights as often, she still teaches and practices at least two days a week at Holy City Salsa, continuing to keep students engaged during her popular Sensual Bachata class and during the Studio-to-Stage sessions.

            “I think it's great dancing with Kristen while she's pregnant! She's an excellent dancer and knows so much, and that didn't change when she became pregnant,” says Krystal McManigal, a Studio-to-Stage veteran and dancing mom. “If anything, I love working with her more now, because it brings back great, warm memories of when I danced with life inside of me too. Sometimes, I feel uneasy to practice with her -- only because she is so tiny compared to when I was pregnant, and I'm afraid one wrong move will hurt her and I don't want to cause her or the baby any harm.”

Holy City Salsa Dance Studio performing "Thriller" by Tony Succar the Spirits and Salsa, Oct 13, 2016. Choreography by Georgia Grace Dancers: Luz Alvarado, Jon Gomez, Georgia Grace, Cristina Holtz, Kristen Jett, Kala Kanisto, Krystal McManigal, and Jason Torres.

            Kristen, a nurse practitioner by day, makes sure that she’s staying safe, but says that there have been other challenges teaching besides safety.

             “The most challenging part of teaching has been keeping my Bachata moves such as dips, body rolls, and other isolated body movements. It it's harder to demonstrate in class for the students to get the full understanding,” says Kristen. “I really didn't think I would be teaching this far into my pregnancy and I love to see that students still enjoy my class and get a lot out of the information taught.”

            She’s taking a hiatus from performing, for now, but performed multiple times in October, at five months pregnant.

            “Performing has been fun and exciting, but it did pose some challenges when it came to costuming. The more "jumpy" routines were harder because I get winded easier with less lung capacity and often my baby is kicking during the routine to let me know she's there. I think she loves the music.”

            Kristen is hoping that the exposure to music and dance in utero will instill in baby London a lifelong love of dance, and Kristen anticipates being back in the studio soon after London arrives.

http://picasion.com/

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If the Shoe Fits: Dance Shoe Tips and Tricks

Photo from CreativeCommons.Org

Photo from CreativeCommons.Org

Dancing is a wonderful sport/hobby because it doesn’t require much in the way of equipment or materials. People + Music + Floor usually make for pretty good dancing. However, a good pair of shoes can greatly enhance your dance experience.

         People new to social dancing usually ask two questions: What kind of shoes should I wear? and Where should I get them?

         If you’re taking a dance class for the very first time, wear shoes that are comfortable and smooth-soled. ABSOLUTELY NO FLIP-FLOPS. You need something that isn’t going to fall off of your heel and something that you can turn in. Tennis shoes are not recommended, because they tend to have treads that stick to the floor. Sandals, flats, and dress shoes (for men) are great for your first lesson or first month or two of dancing. There’s no sense in investing in a pair of dance shoes if you aren’t even sure if dancing is your “thing” yet. Ladies, if you’re a beginner, don’t worry about dancing in heels. Dancing in heels requires control and balance that you will develop as you continue dancing. If you really want to wear heels, start with something low and sturdy, and then work your way up to higher, narrower heels.

         Ok, I hear you. I’m sold on this dancing thing and I want to get a pair of shoes…where should I go?

         If it’s your first pair of dance shoes, get fitted in person for them. Even if you don’t buy the pair that you try on, you’ll have an idea of your shoe size and you can order shoes online based on that size. Locally (writing here from Charleston, SC), you can get fitted/buy shoes at Mister Don’s located at 84 Folly Road Boulevard.

         How should they fit?

             Your shoes will probably be uncomfortable when you first buy them. It’s ok! You’ll break them in soon enough. Opt for the shoes that fit snugly— they will stretch with time, especially satin shoes, and you want your shoes to be smaller and tighter for better support. Ladies in heels, this is especially true for you. Some people say that for open-toe shoes, your toe should actually hang a little bit over the edge.

            I wear a size 6 ½ or 7 in street shoes and buy dance shoes in 5 ½. The last thing you want is to feel wobbly and out of control in your shoes. The tighter your shoes fit, the easier it will be to “feel” the floor, and your shoes will actually rub less, leading to less blisters. Like other types of clothes and shoes, size and fit will vary a LOT so you want to try on as many as you can and find what works best for you.

Where are some other places for me to shop?

            Online, there are a wealth of dance shoe options. I tend to buy my shoes from ExoticSalsaShoes.com (it sounds more exciting than it is--sign up for their email newsletter, they always have good sales) or DiscountDanceSupply.com. I have friends who swear by LightInTheBox.com for cheap, stylish shoes, and others who only buy dance shoes on eBay.

            When you’re trying to decide what shoes to buy and from where, it all depends on if you’re going for comfort, durability, or fashion, and on what kind of dance floor you’re spending most of your time. I don’t recommend buying a really expensive, high-end pair of shoes if the only place you go out dancing is a bar. They’ll quickly get a build-up of God knows what—spilled drinks, dirt, hair, grease from food, sweat, etc. You can always scrape that build-up off with a shoe brush (which is a great investment to go with your shoes), but I’ve found it wears my shoes out a lot faster.

            I typically opt for boots/flats/sandals for going out to bars and save my dance shoes for studios, performances, and special event venues.  

But they hurt!

            It might seem obvious, but give yourself time to break your shoes in. It’s really easy to get a super fly new pair of shoes and want to wear them all night at an event.

That is a recipe for a world of pain. Take it slow with new shoes. Wear them around your house to break them in. Wear them during one hour long class or for just the first part of a night of social dancing, and then switch. All shoes are going to rub your feet in different ways. In my experience, blisters are an inevitable part of dancing. But the more I break in a pair of shoes and build up callouses on my feet, the less they hurt.

             Be open to having some ballet or jazz flats or a pair of street shoes that you can dance in that are super comfortable that you can always switch to when you’re tired and your feet start hurting during social dancing or classes. They might not be as snazzy or as sexy, but you’ll feel better the next day.

 

            Like everything in dance, it’s about finding what works for you. What style? What fit? What price point? What durability? Some people are dance shoe fanatics and have dozens of pairs for every occasion. Other people find one pair they love and wear them to the ground. Be open to experiment, give yourself time to break in a pair of shoes, and have fun dancing while you do it!

 

            What do you think? What kind of shoes do you like to dance in? How do you like your dance shoes to fit? Where’s your favorite spot for dance shoes?

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