I had my first date at Copacobana salsa club with an ex a few years ago. It's a stereotypical salsa club; bamboo sticks, wooden floors, and national Brazilian colours of green and yellow adorning the walls. They also serve traditional Portuguese drinks at the bar.
I hadn't attended the club, however, for a salsa class, but Kizomba. Kizomba is a traditional Angolan style of dance, whereby the male takes the lead, and the couple dance a relatively quick but creative dance that is sensual, fun, and captivating to watch.
I only hoped I could match the videos I'd seen online, but this was only a beginners class. So, with a pair of low heels in my bag, I walked into the club with a couple of friends, paid, and excitedly waited to the teacher to show us the ropes.
A middle-aged Portuguese lady talked us through the steps, and showed us step-by-step how to dance the traditional way. I was hoping it would be quicker, but there were others who definitely struggled with other steps and the teacher was exceptionally patient. With the teacher's strong accent, it was comforting to think she was experienced, and by watching her dance, she was confident, and had clearly been Kizomba-ing for years.
The club had an air of excitement; as soon as we walked in, the atmosphere was electric with chatter, Portuguese music, and the anticipation of the classes that were about to begin.
My friends and I were in a group of 10 people, with a ratio of 6:4 men to women. Once we were shown a number steps, we turned what we'd learned into a simple routine, with the teacher announcing 'change' after every little move had been completed. It was fun, and one of the guys I was coupled with was fantastic even though it was also his first time.
On the website's FAQ's it advises than you should wear "comfortable clothes and shoes (no trainers, no tracksuit bottoms, no baseball caps)". Don't worry about not needing a partner and you don't need to book a course, simply, pay for the class when you turn up.
Beginners Kizomba is a right laugh, and makes a great change of scenery. It certainly turned my Tuesday into a tickling evening where I stepped out of my comfort zone, and relished learning new tricks, my friends and I loved it.
It's unusual to get more men than women at a dance class. Usually it is a struggle for women to find a male dance partner. Maybe that's just in ballroom though. A nightclub atmosphere is probably more appealing to young men than a ballroom floor.