Tab Tries: Salsa

Fancy yourself a Latino god? NICK SINCLAIR tries out the sexy salsa…

cheeky Class dancing Dating feel romance salsa speed dating stroke

Anyone who has seen me ‘throwing my shapes’ would have to describe my dancing style as Rainbow-Rhythms-meets-rapey-uncle-at-a-wedding, so naturally I couldn’t wait when the opportunity arose to add salsa to my repertoire.

My only prior knowledge of salsa was of the catastrophic outfits that occasionally appear on Strictly Come Dancing, a state-funded programme used to impose a subliminal curfew on the nation during wintry Saturday nights.

What women over 50 think of in the bath.

Despite what your grandmother may think I’ve always considered this look to be the antithesis of sexy, the equivalent of taking out a restraining order on all the world’s female front bottoms. Although this guy is undoubtedly better at oral sex than me, before being asked by my editor I had no desire to take up salsa and become a tangerine, unitard wearing ‘Alejandro’. However, on arrival at the Cambridge University Social Club with three friends in tow I allowed myself to become rather excited.

After a brief but traumatic spell with the advanced salsa class I was promptly sent packing to the basement, where the beginner’s class was being held. I was greeted by our instructor Vish barking out orders to legions of first timers kicking each other in the kneecaps. This was not the case for long.

Vish and I

Vish represented everything I had hoped for in a salsa instructor, resplendent in his plunging cardigan, pointy black shoes and with a penchant for counting in French. He seized women at random with his ‘cobra hands’, one of whom appeared to be having a stroke after Vish grabbed her waist and dry-humped her to a soundtrack of Buena Vista Social Club.

As all the female participants rotated through the room it dawned on me that the salsa class was essentially a speed dating service. A dating service that allowed you to gauge how clammy the hands of each prospective sexual partner were, and how they would feel against the small of your back.

Oh my God! It’s my first time too! 

It became apparent that these salsa classes were a kind of last chance saloon for sex starved IT managers, who frequently told the ladies they were dancing with “you’re not close enough” like some kind of tangoing Hannibal Lecter. Nevertheless, it was an undeniably fun evening.

The Cubanos.’ (Jazz hands and Rose in mouth optional)

Vish soon had the room of 60 people performing a pretty sophisticated series of mambos, rumbas, back-steps, cubanos, and spins, all set to music. The coaching was animated and very entertaining and by the end of the night I had been transformed into a Zorro of the dance floor, having truly enjoyed myself.

Prices start at £6 for 1 hour and £8 for two. Students with an NUS card can also get a second hour free. Plus, as a beginner you can cop a cheeky feel or two, claiming ‘I don’t know where my right hand should go’.

TRY Salsa dancing with The Tab’s Club Salsa reader offer.