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Where to Dance

Here’s where to take salsa, waltz, or swing classes with your sweetheart.


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Courtesy of ABC/KELSEY McNEAL

Star Studio

If you’ve ever watched Dancing With the Stars and wished you could tear it up on the dance floor, then you need to chaîné on down to Pleasanton, where Mark Ballas Dance and Performing Arts opened in September.

A dancer on the reality show for 18 seasons, Ballas won’t teach regularly at his eponymous franchise—though he plans to attend special events, such as the grand opening festivities in March. But the staff includes expert instructors in several ballroom styles as well as ballet and Zumba.  

The first private lesson is free, and programs are customizable to each student’s interest and ability. “Don’t be afraid to come in,” says studio manager and West Coast Swing instructor Zach Morris. “We have Mark Ballas’ name, but we’re not only about competitive dancing. We are a welcoming home for social dancers.” markballasdance.com.

 

Courtesy of ABC/Craig Sjodin

Just Dance

Here are three more places to get your groove on.

 

Allegro Ballroom

Boasting the largest ballroom in the Bay Area, this Emeryville studio has four dance floors, and features dance parties, including weekly salsa, Bachata, and swing; plus a monthly “El Beso” milonga with candlelit tables. allegroballroom.com.  

 

Arthur Murray Dance Studio

Among the ballroom empire’s 250-plus locations are studios in Walnut Creek and Livermore. Private lessons include unlimited group classes, weekly dance parties, and student competitions in regional showcases. arthurmurraylive.com.

 

Two Left Feet Dance Center

This Danville studio’s offerings are extensive, from the Viennese waltz to the Argentine tango to the country two-step. Classes are drop-in and pay as you go, and a weekly West Coast Swing dance party runs ’til 2 a.m. twoleftfeet.com.

 

School of Salsa

For more than 10 years, Tomaj Trenda has taught weekly lessons and hosted a monthly salsa party with live bands in Orinda. Here, he breaks down what makes salsa hot.

 

Q: What can dancing bring to a relationship?

A: Oh my God—it’s fantastic. It’s an activity you can do together—and grow in together. It brings couples closer in a much more intimate way.

 

Q:  What about singles?

A: I don’t know what single people do if they don’t dance. Where do you meet people? So many people find each other in my classes and parties. Many of my students have actually gotten married.

 

Q:  Some people feel awkward on the dance floor. Any tips?

A: I encourage people to listen to and feel the music. If you’re self-conscious, focus on the feeling in the music and let it move you. Dance is really playful, and you want to connect with your ability to play and have fun. salsawithtomaj.com.

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