Salsa in Buenos Aires: La Viruta and Azucar!
I’m an intermediate Salsa dancer at the moment, and where else would I be able to learn more about Salsa if not in South America? Given, Buenos Aires is more famous for it’s Tango roots than for anything else, but any city has it’s Salsa movement. Now that I’m living in Buenos Aires, I continued taking classes and learn a little more. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my house is located near three different salsa schools/clubs. All within walking distance! That really doesn’t get any better.
I “signed” up at all three and in the first three months of my stay I danced 3-4 nights a week. But that became a little too much and this eventually got reduced to 1-2 nights a week. I had to skip the Thursday one because of the barbecue at our house, and on Monday I play football with my room mates.
I first starting taking classes at La Viruta. Located in Palermo, this “Milonga” is more famous for their tango shows and classes, but on Tuesday nights, it’s Salsa night. With a class from 20:30 until 22:30 and after that it turns into a salsa club until midnight. La Viruta can be found at Armenia 1366 and on Tuesday classes start at 20:30. Officially. In reality the classes start around 20:50 so don’t worry if you are late. There is no subscription or anything, you can come when ever you want and you pay per class. 23 Pesos for the entire night.
Classes always start with a warming up, where all of the teachers line up in front of everybody and you try to copy the moves they come up with. It’s probably a little difficult the first time around, but after a few classes you get the hang of it and you will be able to catch on quite easily.
On an average Tuesday I think there are about 150-300 people attending the classes. It’s a little bit crowded, but lots of fun.
At La Viruta, there are five different levels. Beginners I and II, Intermediate I and II and Advanced. At the end of the warming up they will announce which teacher does which level and everybody gathers around the teacher they want to have a class with. If you didn’t hear what they said, it’s easy to find the different classes (all of the classes are at the same room). The Beginners I class is all the way at the back, where the bar is. So if you are new to Salsa, this is where you want to start. The class next to it is Beginners II, then Intermediate I, Intermediate II and at the entrance you can find the Advanced class.
David is the teacher for Intermediate. He is a great teacher and his classes are lots of fun. Every week we learn a new routine and towards the end of the class we also do the “Rueda”. We form a big circle and change partners frequently. Also during the class, you change partners all the time. It’s a great way to meet many people and it really is a lot of fun. Here is a video of a Tuesday night class at La Viruta
The second school I signed up for was at Azucar Almagro. Here you also don’t actually sign up. You can come when ever and just pay per class, just as at La Viruta. I really like this concept, as it doesn’t obligate me to come every class and I’m more flexible with my time. At Azucar you also get one dance routine (A sequence of moves) per class and there fore it doesn’t matter if you miss a class.
Azucar is one of the big salsa schools in Buenos Aires. They also offer many other kids of classes. There is one in the Belgrano district, and two schools at Avenida Corrientes. Azucar Almagro is at Avenida Corrientes 4147, and Azucar Abasto is at Corrientes 3330. Almagro doesn’t have a website, so you have to pass by to get information about classes. When I was taking classes, there were beginners classes on Monday at 19:00 and Wednesday at 18:00. Intermediate on Monday at 20:00 and on Wednesday at 19:00. These were the days that I took classes, but they offer salsa classes every day of the week.
I took classes with Sergio and Monica, who are one of the nicest teachers I have taken classes with so far. The classes are usually with 8 to 15 people and the atmosphere is really good. One day we took a class picture, although Monica isn’t in it as she took the shot.
The classes at Almagro are smaller and more personal than at La Viruta. It’s easier to get the moves exactly right at Almagro. The routines are about equally hard at both schools, so there is little difference in what you learn. I would say that classes at Almagro are more classes, and at La Viruta it’s a bit more about having fun and just dancing. I loved going to both and I learned many things during my stay in Buenos Aires.
There is a third school that I visited, although just twice. The club Brujas at Plaza Serano turns into a Salsa club on Thursday. The classes start at 21:30 or 22:00 and afterwards it’s a salsa club until late at night. It’s more relaxed then both Almagro and La Viruta and not as organized (which has it’s charm). I liked the club after classes, it’s a good vibe and a better place to enjoy the night than at La Viruta, which is more of a big dance floor in stead of a club.
Like I stated before, I loved taking classes at both La Viruta and with Sergio and Monica at Azucar Almagro. I learned a lot and I really enjoyed not having any obligation to go. Every class I would learn a new routine and a few new moves. Staying at La Viruta after the Salsa class was a good opportunity to practice all the moves I had learned at both Azucar and La Viruta. Paying per class and not having a set schedule for every level is relaxed and more fun. Dance when you want to and no worries if you can’t!
If you are interested in taking Salsa classes in Buenos Aires, I can recommend La Viruta and Azucar for good quality classes and a fun time overall.
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