We took a salsa dance class at A Step Ahead Dance Studio. Here’s how it went

During the pandemic, we started watching Dancing with the Stars, since we were looking for more things to watch while staying at home. We became enamored with the talent and styles of dances they’d perform. That got me thinking that we should take a dance class. I came across A Step Ahead Dance Studio which is a locally owned dance studio that specializes in the teaching, performance and choreography of swing, Latin, ballroom and country western. I said why not.

One class they offered was a salsa group class that’s available every Thursday. Keep in mind, this is something completely out of my element. I’ve had zero formal dance lessons, and my exposure to salsa dancing was drinking heavily in my 20’s and going to some bar downtown that had salsa nights.

While A Step Ahead Dance Studio offers many classes covering different styles, we ended up attending their salsa group class. This particular class didn’t require any reservation. We just arrived in the evening, paid our $12 per-person class fee, and joined in the fun. There they covered the very basic steps and broke down the dance. It was great for those with zero dance experience or anybody who’s attended a class before. The class suited people of all levels of experience.

Some questions you may have include the type of attire and what shoes to wear. Most people wore whatever they felt comfortable in. I saw people in jeans, leggings, dresses, you name it. I stuck with my go-to of joggers and tennis shoes. Some people even had dance shoes on.

While Megan and I went to the class together, you do not need a dance partner to join. With it being a group class, we danced with different partners all evening. I’ll admit at first that was a bit weird to me. I haven’t danced with a stranger since my days of going to The Cowboy, Graham Central Station, Incahoots, you name it. After a while, though, it started to get more comfortable. Some partners had way more experience and were able to better walk us through than if it was just the both of us dancing together all evening.

Our salsa group class was taught by Dan the Salsa Man, who did a fantastic job of guiding us through the evening. He explained everything in a step-by-step process that was basic enough for us newbies to understand. Did we have problems later on? Of course, but he answered any questions we had and brought a good energy to the class that kept people engaged and focused.

We began our class learning a few steps and would repeat that over and over. Then Dan added on some more steps, which we repeated with multiple partners. After that, we combined everything we learned and danced with a partner. He then had us change partners and do it again. That process was repeated a few times before Dan would include more steps.

That was the process for nearly the full hour of the class. There were times, he’d teach something and my jaw would drop to the floor as all the steps started to get confusing to me. Fortunately, the repetition was very necessary to get the steps down. I fumbled my steps so many times, but so did other people. It was fun making the mistakes and learning it all as a group. Sometimes I would nail every step and feel like I had just conquered the world. Other times, I would miss a few steps and just laugh it off.

We walked away having more fun than we thought we would. This was something we had never done and very different from our typical date night routines. It was out of our elements, but one we enjoyed. We went home afterwards and practiced a few times, and also looked at other classes they offered.

A Dance Ahead Dance Studio is located at 501 S. St. Francis. To learn more about the classes offered, visit their Facebook page, where they have their upcoming classes listed on their events section. You can also learn more about them on their website.

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