If you do not already dance salsa, you may not know that Buffalo, NY is home to a vibrant and active salsa scene. Over the past 10 to 15 years, Buffalonians have become increasingly interested in salsa and other forms of Latin dance. Back in the day, there would be a decent turnout at the Adam’s Mark Hotel or La Luna for salsa night. But these events were largely social, and few dancers had any formal training in salsa. If you walk into Epic on a Friday night these days, La Noche del Bailador, you will have a profoundly different experience. In addition to all of the fun to be had socializing, you will find students and teachers of salsa on the floor dancing the night away and experimenting with new turn patterns and footwork.
Fanny Olaya and Calvin Rice, of Baila Salsa, organize the salsa night at Epic and have taught Latin dance in Buffalo for the past eight years. In addition to Friday nights at Epic, Fanny and Calvin host an event on Wednesday night, Noche de Salsa, and teach bachata and salsa at the Latin American Institute on Sundays. Noche de Salsa begins with a salsa lesson and is followed by two hours of social dancing. The event takes place at the Pucho Olivencia Center where there is an open bar and plenty of space for dancing.
The lessons at the Latin American Institute occur in six-week cycles but are available for students to take on a class-by-class basis. The classes, like the social events, attract an eclectic group of people of all ages; one should never feel too young or too old to learn how to dance salsa!
If you are apprehensive about learning salsa, or fear that you have no natural rhythm, rest assured that Fanny and Calvin will make you feel comfortable and at ease. While classes are always professional and well organized, they are also taught in a fun and relaxed way. As teachers, Fanny and Calvin work beyond the classroom walls to help their students become better and more confident dancers. They go out of their way to make their students and guests feel welcome at the various social events that they host. It is not uncommon for Fanny or Calvin to spot a new face in the crowd and ask him or her to dance.
Fanny and Calvin also do an excellent job of creating a community—really a family—of dancers. During the holiday season, for example, they hosted a salsa Christmas potluck at their Wednesday night event. Everyone who attended had a wonderful time mingling, dancing salsa, and enjoying dishes from around the world. They organize various other special events and parties throughout the year. If you haven’t thought about dancing salsa, perhaps you should. Baila Salsa will help you get started!
Baila Salsa Events:
Salsa Night – Noche de Salsa
The Pucho Olivencia Center – Pucho’s Social Club (see Facebook)
261 Swan St.
Buffalo, NY 14204
Dancer’s Night Out – La Noche del Bailador
10:30 – 4am
Epic Restaurant & Lounge (Facebook)
431 Elmwood Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14222
Salsa Level 1 – 12pm
Salsa Level 2 – 1pm
Bachata – 2pm
141 Elmwood Ave
Buffalo, NY 14201