Testing: Salsa at the Havana Club

Try a dance lesson that your main squeeze will actually like.


(Photo courtesy of Jeff Robinson.)

After browsing the Boston’s city calendar a few weeks ago, I noticed a recurring event: group salsa lessons at the Havana Club in Central Square. The lessons, for beginners and intermediate dancers alike, start at 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and cost $12.

Somehow, I convinced my boyfriend to accompany me to the Havana Club on a recent Saturday. Though the venue’s bleak façade gave us pause, we decided to place our fate in the hands of the Yelp community, who collectively awarded Havana Club 4 stars. The doorman was extremely welcoming, checked our IDs, and sent us upstairs, toward the music.

The Havana Club is one large room, similar to a church hall—but with a disco ball. The room is outlined with tables and chairs, perfect for cocktails and coats. Giant fans are strategically (and thankfully) placed around the room to keep the temperature down once the dancers heat up, and the walls are covered with mirrors so that beginners can see just how smoothly they shimmy and two-step for the first time.

Will we get the moves right? Read on to find out…

We arrived right at 9 — the lesson didn’t start for a half hour, so I sidled up to the bar for a house sangria: Franzia with lemon and lime slices. (There’s also beer, wine, and other mixed drinks on the menu.)

Once the instructors appeared on stage, we took our places near the front. The first-timers faced the two instructors while the intermediate group met with another instructor in the back of the room. We learned a few basic steps and did them as a group. Repeating the steps slowly, with no music, was quite simple. Once they sped things up to music and added upper body movements, it was another story. After about twenty minutes of instruction, everyone partnered up while the instructors came down to our level to demonstrate some new moves. And when we all felt confident enough, the teachers urged us to practice as they came around to offer additional help.

The hour passed quickly and the room was filled with more than 150 people dancing. People of all shapes and sizes moved together in the salsa melting pot. It was incredible.

288 Green St., 617-312-5550, havanaclubsalsa.com.

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