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salsa dancing charleston


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. 



Havana Nights Charleston

547 King Street


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.


Poblano’s Mexican Cuisine

7575 Rivers Ave, North Charleston


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 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


Latin Night with Latin Groove at Sushi Blue

61 State Street

$10 cover


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


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


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 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. 


Why is Salsa a Worldwide Phenomenon?


Why is Salsa a Worldwide Phenomenon?

Cultural phenomena fascinate me. The Beatles, Harry Potter, Michael Jackson, the Nae-Nae…phenomena like those that can transcend countries, classes, races, socio-economic statuses, gender, sexuality are incredible. We claim to be so different from one another, but if that’s the case, how do these things cross so many borders?

 Salsa is another cultural phenomenon that seems to be just about everywhere. From small towns in the States to metropolises in Thailand, it seems that you can go almost anywhere in the world and find people dancing Salsa. Why is that?

  I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure it out and here are some of my theories.

Salsa Symbolizes A Wider World

            People who dance Salsa know that there’s a wider world out there. They know that there are people, places, and cultures, beyond the microcosm that they experience on a daily basis.  And they want to explore that wider world. Salsa, by it’s nature, exposes people to a variety of cultures in just one song. There are musical influences from all over the world in a single piece of music—just hearing a Salsa song transports you to another place or time.  By the same token, the dance draws upon influences from all over the world and people are constantly fusing new styles with it to keep it evolving and growing. There’s a sense of exploration and adventure you get from dancing Salsa that pushes people out of the confines of their daily lives.

Salsa Proves There Is “More to Life”

            There’s a special kind of abandon that I’ve only ever seen on the Salsa dance floor that shows without a shadow of a doubt that there is more to life than just working, paying bills, and dying. It’s what makes Salsa dancing so intoxicating—there are so few instances in our lives these days where we are truly present. On the dance floor, there are no phones, no emails, no obligations or stress. People look so happy to just BE there—it’s a space to not dwell on yesterday or to worry about tomorrow. Salsa dancing gives a life and energy that keeps you going through even the roughest of times.

Salsa Creates Human Connection

            Humans thrive on physical touch and community. We aren’t made to live in isolation, not talking to or touching each other. Salsa dancing gives an opportunity to just touch other people—in a respectful and not-creepy way. Human touch makes you feel loved, keeps you from feeling alone. Physical touch releases oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel like everything is right with the world—and also lowers heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. Part of the reason Salsa dancing is so addicting is because you get multiple hits of oxytocin every time you go out…so you leave feeling pretty damn good.

            What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Think there are other big important reasons I’ve missed?  Comment below!