From dabbling with free, one-time lessons to competing around the globe, the salsa dancing community right here in Madison is alive with options to suit everyone and anyone with the slightest bit of interest.
Few people know about the rapidly-growing Salsa community that is right here under our noses, so I recently spoke with one of the “founding fathers” of our local Latin dance community, Erick Ordonez, and asked if he could enlighten us.
Ordonez, a Bob Jones High School alum and married father of three, started salsa dancing years ago while navigating a difficult time in his life. Ordonez’s then-boss encouraged him to pick up a hobby as a means of finding entertainment and fun outside of his full-time job, so he tried salsa dancing on a whim after seeing an online ad.
“I fell in love with the inclusion of the community,” says Ordonez. “You can be anybody; The salsa dance floor is open to everyone. Any race, body type, age. I loved it.”
Salsa Dancing in Madison, Alabama
Ordonez began teaching salsa dancing lessons locally in 2013 and has since taken groups from Madison around the world to dance and compete.
“We’ve been recognized as the pioneers for salsa dancing in our state,” says Ordonez.
Ordonez helped launch the annual Rocket City Latin Festival in 2014 and says that they’ve outgrown their previous venues many times.
“We bring in well-known dancers in the salsa community from around the country, and everyone just has a blast dancing, meeting new people, and learning more about the Hispanic culture.”
There are multiple opportunities to get involved with the salsa dancing community, beginning with weekly Monday evening classes at the Madison Ballroom on Madison Boulevard.
“Dancers can show up with or without a partner and pay a minimal drop-in fee for one class or they can sign up to dance weekly for an entire month. We learn new techniques in each class, and then we spend time dancing and having fun!”
Free classes are also frequently offered at Rocket Republic in Madison, and Ordonez says the whole family is encouraged to come out, try salsa dancing, and have fun.
“I can’t express enough what an inclusive group we are. Everyone is welcome. No one will be left alone in a corner. We want to dance with you, and we want you to have a good time.”
There are also options for local teenagers. Often on Friday evenings a class is held that is for teens only. Ordonez says that they also enjoy going to Bob Jones High School once a year to speak to and teach Spanish class students.
Ordonez says that another group they really cater to are single young professionals. He says salsa dancing classes are a popular way to meet other people and build one’s community.
“We’ve had six married couples come out of our community just here in Madison. Lots of relationship success, but it doesn’t usually start out that way. You have to build trust, and ethics are involved with dancing and with relationships.”
Ordonez encourages everyone to try salsa dancing at least once, saying that “if you can walk and count to 8, you can dance.”
To find out more information about the salsa dancing community here in Madison, Alabama, you can check out their website for class schedules, rates, salsa socials, and more. You can also follow along on Facebook.