I’ve always been fond of social dancing. I remember the first time I danced bachata in Old City and the exhilaration, momentum, and thrill I felt when I was swept up in the dance. It wasn’t something I trained in, but I applied my previous dance training of weight shifting, directional changes, turning, etc. to following my dance partner. But something about rhythmic moving and rocking the hips felt familiar and nourishing.
This fall, I have made it my goal to learn salsa technique. I’m taking bachata as well, as that is my personal favorite. In the Philly Latin dance scene, salsa and bachata usually go together. After about two weeks of taking salsa and bachata classes, my social dancing has already improved. By focusing on small but crucial details in class, I have better connection with dance partners and feel more freedom in improvising, following, and responding. For example, carriage of hands in social dance is everything. The hands signal and communicate what is happening and what is next. So it’s important to keep the hands soft, pliable, and receptive when working with a dance partner.
I social dance because it makes me feel whole, healed, and powerfully alive with each step, hip circle, spin, sway, dip, and partner connection. It is a contagious expression of community, reciprocity, and joy that overflows. The more I train in the studio and practice dancing socially, the more I feel each time how wonderfully vibrant and powerfully grounding it all is. And through it I’m finding myself as a dancer in resonant, effervescent ways.
Here’s what I recommend for getting involved in the Philly Latin dance scene:
Classes at Art in Motion Dance Academy - Accessible content, fantastic instructors.
Dance Republic - For all of your social dance needs. You won’t be disappointed.