Jul 28, 2022 - Things to Do

Your guide to Philly's salsa scene

Dancers learn salsa in Philadelphia's Love Park.
Dancers learn salsa in Philadelphia's Love Park. Photo courtesy of Siempre Salsa Philly

Our friends at Axios Finish Line this week made the case for picking up new hobbies, even if you're bad at them. I happen to know a little something about that.

My fiancé and I started learning how to dance salsa a few months ago, something we've always talked about but finally took on to prepare for our wedding. And despite taking classes once a week, we're still ... exceptionally average.

  • We've knocked knees, forgotten steps and once one of us (OK, it was me) wore such grippy shoes we both had to finish the lesson in our socks.

Why it matters: Learning new skills can sharpen our minds and bodies — and keep us grounded.

  • Many of us don't try new things because we're afraid of failure. But failing can be fun!

I often feel a wave of nerves before our lessons, worrying that we didn't practice enough or that I'll mess up a move. And usually, we didn't — and I will.

  • But we'll laugh it off and leave the night with smiles on our faces, feeling closer to each other than before.

The bottom line: There are plenty of ways to get out of your comfort zone, whether it's solo or with a loved one. Just keep at it, even if it's hard.

Where to go: If you've ever wanted to take salsa lessons, Philly's got options.

  • Here are some of the studios and groups I found in my search for an instructor:

Estilo Dance Studio: This Fishtown spot offers private and group lessons in Latin dances including salsa, bachata and mambo.

  • A single private lesson starts at $85, while a group lesson is $30. Discounted packages are available.

Urban Movement Arts: Located in Center City, UMA has private and group instruction in salsa and bachata for all skill levels. Private lessons start at $60 ($40 for virtual), or $15 for a group class ($10 virtual).

  • Plus, they offer membership deals, including half off your first month if you sign up between now and Sunday.

Albasario Dance Company: This studio in North Philly offers group salsa lessons on Monday and Wednesday nights, starting at $20 for drop-ins. You can also take private lessons ($70+).

Worth noting: Dance groups Siempre Salsa and Dance Republic organize free group lessons around the city. You can find where they're headed next on Facebook.

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