Finding a good salsa bar in London is no easy thing. There are many night clubs in central London that appear to offer classes, but are really a hot spot for guys just looking to 'pick up'. So when a friend of mine invited me to Tito's Latin Bar in London Bridge, an authentic Brazilian restaurant and bar, I was cautiously optimistic.
We arrived at 6pm in time for a pre dancing mojito cocktail, and waited as the basement nightclub room filled up with people for the first round of classes.
There are two rounds of classes offered every Friday night. The first starts at 6.45pm and are £8 per class, or £12 for two classes.
The second starts at 8pm and offer a slightly more advanced teaching style to the first round. Afterwards there is general nightclub style dancing which anyone can join free of charge.
To begin with, the room was divided into three groups the beginners, improvers and advanced and because I had done some dancing before I was put into the improvers group. The loud latino music struck up and we were lead by the teachers into a simple warm up routine that everyone seemed to know and without exception, everyone enjoyed. The classes then divided and we started learning some challenging salsa dance routines, swapping partners after every song.
I found it very amusing to dance with so many men with such different dancing styles! I'm not a bad dancer and pick up routines and steps quite easily but it was very obvious that some of the men in the room were having a difficult time. Some were very stiff and rigid, who held onto my hand as if I was there to keep them stable. Some others were fluid and floppy who had no resistance in their arms and depended on me for direction. However there were two at least who knew how to lead a girl with a firm hand and made dancing very easy.
However, watching the other groups, I noticed that most of the men were very vague and slightly confused, so they left the direction of the dance in the women's control. This tactic, although may serve them well off the dance floor, created utter chaos in the groups as both partners, unable to retain their balance would spin off in different directions, step on each other's feet and then flounder as they struggle to regain the rhythm.
There were a lot of giggling women and red faces but all in all it was a very enjoyable hour as everyone improved with practice and a little improvisation. As the time went on I began to relax and began to enjoy the dancing as I realised that most of the people who had joined this class really were here for the dancing and not just there to 'score'. So I began to make friends with my dance partners who were not only focusing hard on the steps, but also giving me pointers about where I should put my feet to avoid bumping into the next couple and I helped by reminding them to lead with their upper body and hand signals.
At the end of the hour we wanted to do another class, but my friend and I had a dinner date that we were late for. We left saying goodbye to our new friends and promised to come back soon for more practice.
It was a very fun class. I learned some new tricks too!