Make us your home page
Instagram

Eight places to make you get up and dance

So you think you can dance?

You'll never truly know until you've tried salsa in Miami, shagged in Tampa Bay and waltzed in West Palm Beach.

One of the best ways to explore Florida's diverse places is to boogie woogie with their people. Dance is a universal language that conveys more about a place's culture in a single hip thrust than a traveler's guide can deliver in 100 pages.

Florida dance schools and clubs welcome short-term visitors. They're eager to teach you their moves. Here's where to hustle with the best of them.

Swing lessons in Tampa Bay area

Swing dance came at us out of the jazz age in the 1920s, with African-American communities delivering the Lindy Hop, which fuses jazz, tap and Charleston, and white communities bringing us the Foxtrot and the Balboa. Every major city has its own style. Discover Tampa's West Coast Swing at Gulfport Casino Swing Night. The retro-era, waterfront ballroom, at 5500 Shore Blvd. South, in Gulfport, near St. Petersburg, offers one-hour swing dance lessons at 6 p.m. before the party starts at 7 p.m. most Wednesdays. Admission is $7; no partner needed. Info: 813-840-3715, www.swingtime.info/gcsn.html.

Salsa in Miami

Salsa clubs are a fun way to explore Florida's most Latin city, and Salsa Kings Dance Studios has multiple locations to help you find your eight-count rhythm in Cuban. One-hour classes spend part of the time divided into levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced), so you never have to feel overwhelmed or bored. Instructors are certified by the World Salsa Federation; group and private lessons are available. One group lesson is $10. Classes are offered at Florida International University, 1600 SW 107 Ave., in Miami, and IronFlower Fitness gym at 7300 Biscayne Blvd., also in Miami, with two new locations in South Miami and Florida City opening soon. Info: 888.40.SALSA, www.thesalsakings.com.

Bachata in Orlando

Bachata is an Afro-Latino genre of music and dance that originated in the Dominican Republic in the early 20th Century with African descendants in rural areas. Simple yet sensuous, it's an eight-beat dance, similar to salsa. Orlando, which has seen its Hispanic population grow from just 4 percent in 1980 to more than 25 percent in 2010, now has one of the largest Dominican communities in the state, along with Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Bahhari Dance Center, 8865 Commodity Circle, in Orlando, is the hot spot to learn how, with classes averaging 35 to 50 students at a time, led by two teachers. No need to bring a partner; students rotate around the room so everyone gets the opportunity to dance together. A single class is $10. Info: 321-396-2399, http://sensualbachata.com.

Line dancing in Davie

Cowboy town. That's Davie, where the rodeo is the center of life, the mayor is a former barrel racer and it's not unusual to see residents riding around on their horses. If you want to dance with the locals, get in line. Learn how at Round Up, one of the area's best dance clubs and country bars at 9020 W. State Road 84, where there are free line dancing lessons for urban cowboys Wednesday through Sunday. (There's a $5 cover charge at the door for ages 21 and older). Boot Scootin' Boogie beginners are welcome. Info: 954-423-1990, www.roundupnightclub.com.

Ballroom dancing in West Palm Beach

American Smooth, International Standard, the Viennese Waltz and Quickstep – all the elegant moves can be found in classic Palm Beach County, home to the Annual Palm Beach Dance Challenge, held every October. You can practice your own moves for "Dancing With the Stars" at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio. The school, at 4603 Okeechobee Blvd., in West Palm Beach offers private lessons, group sessions and "practice parties." Two sessions are $20. Info: 561-478-1400, www.fredastairewpb.com.

Beach bop in Jacksonville

Beach Bop is a laid-back, southern adaptation of the old Jitterbug that they call Shag in the Carolinas, Lindy in the North and Whip or Push in the Mid-West. All of the dances have similar eight-count steps to six beats of music. In Jacksonville, the music of choice is "Beach Music" or R&B, the kind produced by black musicians and found in jukeboxes at the beach in the 1950s. The 300-member Florida Boppers dance club here has been bopping together since 1989. The club hosts parties on the second Saturday of every month at Club Savoy, 6354 Arlington Rd., from 8 p.m. to midnight. You can also find them dancing there most Thursday and Friday nights. Door fee is $10 for non-members. Info: 904-215-1613, http://clubsavoyatjax.com.

Square dancing in Merritt Island

Allemande left and do-si-do on your way to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, and meet up with the Space Trackers Square Dance Club, which meets most Thursdays at the Merritt Island Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 155 Cone Road. The group offers square dance lessons at 6:30 p.m. prior to its 8 p.m. dance. Info: 321-427-7950, www.spacetrackers.com.

Tango in Hollywood

More than 45 percent of the people in this South Florida city are Hispanic. You can find evidence of Hollywood's Argentina community at local bakeries, restaurants, markets – and at the International Club of Argentine Tango of South Florida, which hosts one-hour dance lessons followed by a tango party, "Buenos Aires Milonga," every Sunday night. The lessons and party, along with a dinner buffet, are held at 7 p.m. at the Italian-American Club, 700 S. Dixie Hwy. Admission is $15. Men and women of all ages, nationalities and ethnicities pour into the banquet hall to learn and practice their Argentine tango, which has a different rhythmic pattern from American tango, with couples dancing cheek-to-cheek and chest-to-chest. Info: 305-345-3662, www.citango.com.

This story originally appeared at Visit Florida.

Eight places to make you get up and dance 11/06/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 2:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Craft beer of the week: Electric Chair Sour Shandy, Angry Chair Brewing

    Bars & Spirits

    Traditionally, a shandy, like its German cousin the radler, is a simple combination of beer and a soft drink, such as a citrus-flavored soda or fresh juice. These drinks are low-alcohol, fruity and highly refreshing, making them ideal candidates for summertime sipping.

    Justin Grant/Special to tbt*
  2. Can you feel the heat? Indie rock gifts dynamite playlist for summer

    Music & Concerts

    For most of June, there was precisely one song by a rock band in the top half of Billboard's Hot 100: Believer by Imagine Dragons. (If you're feeling generous, you could count Something Just Like This by the Chainsmokers and Coldplay, but c'mon.) On the list of America's hottest singles, there were more …

    Arcade Fire performs at the Panorama music festival on Randall Island in New York.
  3. Bar review: Sample whiskey, vodka, rum, absinthe and more at Fish Hawk Spirits in Ybor

    Bars & Spirits

    While craft brewing has firmly entrenched itself in local drinking culture, craft distilling is still a very niche market. Part of this is due to outdated and arguably unfair distilling laws, and part of it is because successful distilling can often be a lot tougher and more time-consuming than brewing up a few batches …

    For $10, you can sample four of Fish Hawk Spirits’ fruit-infused vodkas, as well as its molasses-based rums, tangerine brandy and more. Old whiskey barrels lend a rustic vibe to the Ybor shop.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 30

    Events

    Into the Woods: St. Petersburg Opera presents Stephen Sondheim's musical featuring a cast of storybook characters, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel. 7:30 p.m., Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $22-$67. (727) 823-2040.

    The cast of the St. Petersburg Opera's production of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods includes (from left) Caitlin Mesiano as Little Red Riding Hood, Caroline Tye as the Baker's Wife and Clayton Brown as the Baker. Photo by Jim Swallow.
  5. What's Dar Williams reading?

    Books

    Nightstand

    Dar Williams

    For our Independence Day Nightstand, we caught up with Williams, a singer-songwriter (The Christians and the Pagans and The Beauty of the Rain) and author who is well-versed in the highways and byways of America. By phone recently, she shared how her newest …

    Dar Williams performs at the Opening Night Party of the 2016 Greenwich International Film Festival in Greenwich, Conn. Her newest book is “What I Found in a Thousand Small Towns.”