Updated: Jan 10
If you take Afro-Latin dance classes, such as Salsa, Kizomba, Bachata or Zouk regularly and your idea of fun is to dance with people at your skill level (or better) while on vacation or relocating to Miami Beach, then this article will help you get some of the most updated information and hone your dance-detection skills. Written by a dancer!
Even Google can't keep up with Miami's pace! Seriously, whatever is published on a website is almost guaranteed to change within two months. A night is cancelled. A class is no longer offered. An instructor has moved and no longer teaching in Miami. Figuring out where to go dancing in Miami Beach can be nearly impossible, but scroll down for curated lists updated as of May 2021 (I will update this as best I can).
Why is it so difficult to find where to dance in Miami?
The reality of Miami is:
Miami is a transient city. While there are, of course, plenty of residents, we tend to be from other cities and even native-born Miamians will relocate to another city looking for better cost-of-living vs wages proportions. Restaurateurs and dance instructors come and go.
Commercial rent is incredibly high in Miami Beach in particular and Miami-Dade county overall. So even when you think you've found a flier for a great night, it may be closed by the time you've seen it. Why? After a month or two, the bar owners start wishing we social dancers would drink more to make them rich. The owner decides to not host the social dance night anymore, hoping to, instead, tap into a more lucrative group. Meanwhile, you didn't get the updated memo, you're all dressed up, paid for parking and there's no one in the restaurant.
Some writers are not from the Salsa scene and are therefore misguided when they write an article in a popular magazine on dancing Salsa in Miami. They see a flier that a restaurant-bar plays Salsa and they assume that this fits the criteria. The problem is that Google will give users the results of this article and a dancer who has invested time and effort into learning is disappointed when they arrive and find regular folk sitting, tapping on the tables to the beat, maybe wiggling their butts, but not a properly executed cross-body lead in sight. Case in point: Mango's was extremely popular and highly-cited as a "Salsa dance spot." To it's credit, Mango's was super entertaining and their dancers were talented. But it was a mini, Latin version of a Las Vegas show. Fun. Touristy. But not where dedicated dancers go to social dance the night away with other dancers. (Mango's closed during the pandemic.)
One easy way, if you're going to be in Miami for only a short time, is to check out the SalsaMiami - LatinDanceCalendar.com Facebook page.
Another option is the dance calendar, courtesy of The Salsa Cooperative.
Note that to always check with the DJ/organizer social media to ensure that the event hasn't been cancelled, especially in light of the Covid pandemic.
However, if you plan on staying for a while in Miami, as a nomad I can tell you it's best to start plugging in to the dance community right away.
If restaurants and bars in Miami are an unreliable way to figure out where to dance, then how do I discover where I can dance?
DJs and dance studios is your answer to finding the best places to dance. Both of these have made the long-term investment in dance and in Miami.
Now there are DJs that cater to the commercial crowd and those that love the social dancers. And there's hardcore Afro-Latin dance studios, and then there's the pilates studio or the ballroom dance studio that don't have a strong social dance following.
That's why you need this curated list from your dance concierge at DanceVacay 😉
Curated list of Miami DJs that Salseros, Bachateros and Kizombeiros should follow. A glance at their social media is the most surefire way to find out where to dance tonight in Miami or Broward:
DJ Mike Calderón Hardcore Salsa DJ: his favorite is NY and Puerto Rican style Salsa, but he absolutely throws in some Bachata Sensual and Casino sabrosa! DJ's mostly in Miami and North Miami. He also works with other DJ's.
DJ Charun Salsa DJ: a large portion of what he plays is Casino, but he will play some NY/PR Salsa and Bachata. DJ's mostly in Miami and North Miami.
DJ Harvey Dreamsounds: Extremely versatile. He plays Salsa, Bachata Sensual, Zouk, Kizomba and Konpa. All of the real stuff. Plays mostly in North Miami to Hollywood, Florida (Broward County).
DJ Pedro Ryos: Mostly Bachata Sensual and Salsa and occasionally he'll throw in a few Kizombas, if there are enough Kizombeiros in the crowd. If you like remixes of pop music into Afro-Latin genres, he's your DJ!
Curated list of DANCE STUDIOS that cater to the hardcore Afro-Latin dance scene:
Liquid Silver Productions (LSP): Known for Salsa On1 and a friendly, family feel in the studio. Al Espinoza, aka "Liquid Silver" made a big splash in the LA and NY dance congresses with his amazing Salsa-popping performances.
Dance Awakening: Known for Zouk and Sensual Bachata. Friendly, young group.
Salsa Kings: Known mostly for Casino style, but they also teach Salsa On1 and Bachata Sensual.
Karibe Dance Studio: Salsa On1, intermediate and above level shines and partner work. Also has "Salsaton" classes (Salsa + Reggaeton)
Alex Pro Dance Studio: Highly specialized in Bachata Sensual.