Your Guide to The Best Melbourne Salsa Classes.

Coming soon.

Make Friends and Learn To Dance Salsa in Melbourne

beginners salsa classes in Melbourne

Welcome to the Best Melbourne Salsa Classes website - your guide to the best places to learn salsa in Melbourne. Becoming a salsa dancer is an excellent way to meet new, friendly people and expand your social network - but there are a few pitfalls to look out for when it comes to getting started on choosing a salsa school. This guide to the best salsa classes in Melbourne is designed to help an absolute beginner (or a newcomer to the Melbourne scene who has been dancing for a while) to choose the social which best fits their goals and priorities.

Reviews and guides to individual schools will be coming soon - for now, let's talk about the most important things to know before you jump into the salsa scene.

How Do Salsa Classes Work?

The vast majority of salsa classes follow a similar format. You can join a class by yourself, and you will rotate between partners throughout the class. Virtually every school works like this, so not having a partner is not a limitation. The teacher will work through a series of moves, called a "pattern" or "turn pattern," and students learn by copying the pattern in sections. There are some variations on this (see the section on workshops below), but for the most part, especially for beginner classes, this is the structure you can expect.

There are a couple of absolutely fundamental building blocks to dancing salsa, this most important of which are the basic step, the cross-body lead and basic left and right turns. Take note that if you have not learned these already and the class you are attending is not explicitly an absolute beginner class, you may have trouble following the class as most teachers will assume you already know these steps.

A Quick Note on Salsa Styles

There are three main styles of salsa taught in Melbourne. One is LA style (also typically called "On1 salsa"), New York style (also known as "On2 salsa" or "mambo"), and Cuban style (sometimes referred to as "casino" or "rueda.") Without getting too into the differences just yet, make a note that even if you have done a few classes in the past, your previous experience may not match up if you go to a new school with a different style. eg If you have done a few Cuban classes, you will still be an "absolute beginner" if you try to pick up New York or LA style, as each style is fundamentally different.

Where Can You Learn How To Dance Salsa In Melbourne?

I would split salsa classes in Melbourne into two main categories -

Dance Studio Classes - structured classes that are run in a formal dance studio.

Classes Run Before Events At Bars - classes that are run in a bar or pub setting, usually immediately before a party playing salsa and/or other Latin music.

If you're new to salsa and looking for a place to learn Latin dancing effectively, it's important to understand this difference initially to get your dance journey off to a good start.

Dance Studio Classes Vs Events At Bars

While for many people their first introduction to Latin dancing may be through an event run at a bar, rather than a formal dance studio, these classes often don't provide the best first impression for someone completely new to salsa. The quality of teaching can vary significantly depending on the event and some venues are very crowded and loud, making it difficult to learn as a beginner. Some venues also attract patrons who are more interested in getting drunk than actually learning to dance. This is why I recommend absolute beginners take formal classes in a dance studio environment rather than relying on "pub salsa" classes.

Absolute Beginners Salsa Classes

If you're brand new to salsa, I highly recommend jumping into one of the many free dance classes offered by one of the formal dance studios. Most studios offer a free beginners salsa dancing class. These are usually fun classes that emphasise meeting people and learning the absolute basics. As mentioned above, if you are looking at a class that isn't explicitly labelled as "absolute beginners" these will generally assume you have some knowledge of fundamental steps. Most studios follow up their free class with a short course (usually 4-8 weeks) than will fill you in on the basics.

Usually after that there will be a period of 6-12 months were you progress as a beginner. Some schools also use the word "improver" to describe the levels

Absolute beginner classes are designed to teach the fundamentals of social salsa dancing in a fun way. They are generally a great way to meet some new people embarking on the same journey and make a few friends to go out dancing with once you reach a level where you're ready for a social dancing party.

A Quick Note on Levels

Most schools use a numbered "Levels" system to distinguish the difficulty level of their different classes - Level 1, 2, 3 etc. Just note that there is no standard use of these numbers across different schools. In other words, Level 1 at one school may be much harder than Level 1 at a different school. If you're unsure about a new school it's best to ask them and give some info about your current progress, "eg I have danced for 4 months at school XYZ, what level would suit me best at your school?"

Intermediate Salsa Classes in Melbourne

Once you have progressed past the "beginner stage" (usually after 1 or 2 years, though this can vary greatly based on a number of factors), you may start to find beginner classes get too easy for you. Typically the schools that are best set up to cater to beginners are not the best ones to progress to intermediate level and beyond. At this point you may need to switch to a new school with dance teachers who specialise in intermediate and advanced classes.

Advanced Salsa Classes in Melbourne

Likewise, after a certain amount of time you will need to take advanced classes in order to keep pushing yourself. As there is a relatively small number of advanced salsa dancers in Melbourne, these are usually smaller group classes with an instructor who has performed and competed at a high level internationally. Students at this level also tend to rely heavily on private lessons to refine technique and get more personal feedback.

Learning Multiple Latin Dance Styles - Schools That Run Salsa and Bachata Classes

Salsa is the most commonly known partnered Latin dancing style in Australia, but it's not the only one. In the last 10 years in particular, bachata dance classes have become much more popular. Many schools teach both styles of Latin dance classes, and it's typical for many students to attend both. While salsa-only parties do exist, it's much more common for Latin dance events to include both salsa and bachata music (and in some cases a third style, called kizomba).

One-Off Melbourne Latin Dance Lessons and Workshops

In addition to regular weekly group classes run at dance schools, some teachers run workshops on particular concepts or subjects. 

Salsa Social Dancing in Melbourne

Going out social dancing at salsa parties is really what attending classes is all about. While classes can be a lot of fun, most salsa students really start to meet new people and make new friends once they start social dancing. There are many parties that run regularly in Melbourne, some of which are every week, while others run once a month.

Competition and Performance Schools

If you end up being bitten hard by the salsa bug, you may also want to get into the performance and competition side of the scene. Most schools have their own performance teams, even at the beginner level, but some schools are certainly more specialised in performance technique than others. Likewise, some schools and instructors are known as go-to coaches if your goal is to win competitions.

Full Site Launching Soon! Get Ready.