Salsa Dancing in Colombia

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by bailar y tocar, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    There is already a thread Cali World Salsa Capital but no summary for the traveling Salsero / Salsera. So here goes (updates highly encouraged).

    It's the friendliest and easiest to access. There are clubs that are (a) like international salsa clubs (walk in, ask someone to dance, dance) and there are clubs that are (b) like Latin American clubs (get a table, search the room for extra non-coupled dancers, ask them to dance).
    Tin Tin Deo on Quinta near Carrera 38 and Tequendama MIO stop. $8 cover includes $6 drink ticket. Wednesday - Sunday but get there early ~9pm on Thu to Sat to have any room to dance.

    Topa Tolondra on Quinta near Carrera 13. Usually $2 cover. Monday's are international night. Other good nights are Wednesday and Thursday. This place gets very hot, no AC, so frequent breaks outside are a must.

    Zaperoko near Sexta at Calle 16 & Avenida 5. $6 drink minimum. Best nights are Thursday, if there is alive band, and Sunday. I have always had agood time here as somehow there is always a group of ladies who show up and I get to dance with everyone at the table.

    Siboney in Menga, Las Brisas in Jamundi, Bodeguito Cubana in Alameda, La Clave in Sameco are must see at least once. The challenge is to organize a group to save on taxi and the inevitable bottle of Aguardiente that one has to buy for the table. The DJ music at these places is at another level and worth it just for that.

    There are the other clubs on Roosevelt Ave and several in Alameda, like Salsa! and others. One can go alone and sit at the bar instead of getting a table and a bottle. It's more challenging to find the non couple dancers, but generally people are friendly enough to dance with extranjeros.

    There are also Salsotecas and Viejotecas where collectors play their collections in a garage like space with bar, seating and dancing. You have to bring your own partner to enjoy but it's worth it.

    There are also clubs in the old (not too safe) neighborhoods like Obrero near downtown. Chorrito Antillano is one I have gone to and there are several others in the neighborhood. If you are going with Cali friends who know their way around, it's worth checking out.

    The live salsa venues are mostly in Menga and Juanchito. The format is like the (b) category and one can't always ask dancers at other tables.

    Past doesn't have a real salsa scene as such but the main reason to go there is the Carnaval de Negros y Blancos in early January. There is salsa music at the Carnaval and the people are the friendliest in all of Colombia, so you will be salsa dancing if you want to. You will also get doused with espuma (soapy foam) and talco, so dress appropriately with old hoodie sweatshirt, glasses, scarf for nose and mouth and easy wash sports pants.

    People in Manizales do not favor salsa. Tango is way more popular here. There is a Calle Tango (Cra 13 & Calle 25) here with 8-12 tango bars in a row. There are several internationally competitive Argentine Tango dancers based in Manizales which is a smaller city at about 400,000 residents compared to Bogota, Medellin and Cali with several million residents. There was one bar that played all salsa in Manizales. It is located on the 2nd floor of a building on the main entertainment street Carrera 13 at approx Calle 17. I don't know what it's like inside but Paisas from Manizales don't favor salsa so there may not be much.

    Medellin is disappointing for salsa. The main club district is Carrera 70 at Metro station Estadio from Calle 40 to approx. Calle 48. Most venues are bars that play a variety of music - which is called crossover in Colombia. There is only one salsa venue called El Tibiri on Cra 70 at 44A/44B. There is no sign, it is in the basement of the Hotel Midas. It is really small and really hot. If Topa in Cali felt hot, this is at another level of hot. You'll be dripping wet while looking around for someone to dance with for half a song and then you might only last one song. Too bad. Medellin is a nice city otherwise. It has a feel like Milano or Barcelona, very modern and progressive.

    To be continued as I travel to Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta this week.
  2. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    I didn't get to go out to anything in Cartagena, but I doubt the bars there play a lot of salsa.

    A very pretty, modern and progressive city with a few places that play salsa but you have to bring your own dance partner (byodp).

    Cachao (Cll 80 at Cra 51b) as the name implies plays a lot of Cachao and other traditional Cuban music with a little bit of salsa. It is a restaurant lounge so nobody gets up and dances. Its byodp.

    La Troja (Cll 72 at Cra 44, next to the bus terminal at Estadio) plays Salsa plus some CaribeƱo rhythms that are similar to other Afro-Caribbean folkloric music.
    I did get a few dances in by asking non-coupled ladies at various tables. Its not like a club though, overall only about 8-10 couples are dancing out of 200+ people.

    This concludes my review of salsa dancing in Colombia as I won't be hitting any spots in Santa Marta where I am presently or Bogota, where ai will be for one night next week.

    As far as I can tell so far, for salsa in Colombia its Cali, Cali, Cali.....Me Voy Pa Cali... (Oscar de Leon).
    BullitproofSoul and matty like this.
  3. sunsoul

    sunsoul Shine Officer

    Additional notes: Las Brisas is quite easy on the pocket. I have never felt obliged to buy a bottle of aguardiente as the international crowd tends to mix and people jump around quite a bit in my experience. I bought soft drinks at the bar and there was never a queue.

    The other clubs on the outskirts, like Clave, you are obliged to buy a bottle and be in a group at a table..

    Topa Tolondra (walkable from central hostels like Jovitas or a cheap taxi ride) has DJ El Chico playing on certain nights and he plays good salsa dura and has a wide knowledge of classic and modern salsa. You can just buy a beer there and it is quite cheap.

    Clubs are popular on certain days, and Salsa! is buzzing on a Sunday night with people heading to the 'after party' at Clave around 1am. Monday night is Las Brisas night, and Thursday night head to Tin Tin Deo.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  4. matty

    matty Shine Officer

    i agree that manizales is a more 'crossover' city, and salsa is not the main order of the day like cali.
    In my brief 4 or 5 day visit I did encounter at least 3 Salsotecas in the main street, Discoteca Yare, Discoteca La 33, (cant remember the name of the third one) and there are more apparently.

    Salsoteca siguelo
    Salsoteca la Poncena
    Salsoteca moliendo cafe
    Chaney name a few found from a small google search

    They always seem to have prominent Salsa acts at the feria, and when i was there the DJs did play a good bit of Salsa at some of the events in the marquee, though it was mixed like 'crossover' DJs do
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  5. matty

    matty Shine Officer

    In Cartagena i think you would enjoy the club "El Platanal de Bartolo" (great dance club with live bands & good DJ) and "donde fidel" (listening Salsero hangout, no dancing space, lots of old salseros watching live salsa DVDs and drinking beer)

    If you find a decent salsa venue in Santa Marta you are a better man than I
    In 2009 i did go to some bars that played salsa, but they were not dedicated salsa bar by any means, in 2014 I had even less luck. I heard there are some options in Rodadero, but i did not check them out.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
    Sabrosura likes this.
  6. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    I was staying in Rodadero and I did not hear any salsa coming from the bars.
  7. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

    I was looking for Colombian salsa social dancing videos, since most videos of Colombian salsa are of shows (so that's what people who have never been to Colombia think salsa in Colombia is like), and came cross this video of a couple dancing at a dance party in Manizales.

  8. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    The woman looks familiar, I might have danced with her at the Feria de Manizales when Latin Brothers were playing there back in January. When I danced with her I thought she was from Cali but I didn't ask. If she is the same one, she is probably from Cali.

    Now you had me looking at all my Cali fb friends profiles, no one has any dance videos posted.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
    matty likes this.
  9. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

    Apparently the guy is an instructor (found several videos of him teaching), so this video doesn't really qualify as "normal social dancing" anymore.
  10. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I'm pretty sure none of the colombianas I have ever met would appreciate someone trying to lead them through all those moves.
  11. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

  12. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

    Just booked my flight from the Brazilian Amazon to Cali :) I will be there next Sunday and Monday--planning to go to Zaperoko or Tin Tin Deo on Sunday (which one is better on a Sunday?) and Topa Tolondra on Monday night.

    I was originally planning a 2-3 week trip to Colombia as part of my 3.5 month trip to Cuba, Brazil and Colombia but I fell in love with Cuba so I'm going back for three weeks :) Therefore my three weeks in Colombia have turned into three days, but hopefully it will allow me to taste the Cali flavor :); and of course if I end up loving Cali I will go back for a longer trip, perhaps for the Feria in December.
  13. Resides

    Resides Sonero

    Thanks. Good info. Fun to read...hope to visit one day.

    The irony is that it is much easier to be a complete stranger in another country. Locals don't expect you to know their dance culture...nearly always quite welcoming.

    Salsa in Columbia?

    Columbia has 50 million people. Canada only 30 million. I travel a lot in my own country but wouldn't even begin to claim to know the salsa or Latin club
    culture across the country. Way, way too intricate and varied even within my own city. If a Columbian or other Latino visits (we have some) then most of us are as curious about their dancing as they are about us. Latin dancing is big in my city but not many actual Latinos.
  14. BullitproofSoul

    BullitproofSoul Shine Officer

    The easiest way to offend Colombians is to spell it 'Columbian.' :)

    EDIT: actually no it isn't. Its the third easiest way. The first easiest way is to mention cocaine. The second easiest way is ask "but isn't it dangerous there?"

    Ooh thats a shame. i can't speak for Cuba (I so want to go) but expect to fall in love with Colombia. Three days there is a bit of a sin. It may be the best country on earth, if one is properly exposed.

    As for dancing, the best way to dance in Cali, in my opinion, is in homes.
  15. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

  16. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander

    You should do both. Zaperoko may be slow, so leave at midnight and hit TTD. Meet up with Nhora (my fb friend) and find out if her crew is headed out.

    Say hi to DJ Chino at Topa.
    DJ Yuca likes this.
  17. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Then report back here.
    Sabrosura likes this.
  18. matty

    matty Shine Officer

    aww that sucks !
    you WILL fall in love with colombia too... very different experience to cuba :facepalm:

    but i think 8 weeks would be a nice amount of time to really get around there
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
  19. matty

    matty Shine Officer

    that reminds me of a time i was in Cali.
    I took a taxi one day out to menga to buy tickets for a cano estremera concert, and the guy asked me where I came from

    for many people over there, they may only have heard about Ireland when a bomb went off in Northern Ireland during the conflict

    so his immediate answer to me was " it not dangrouse there?" :p

    Incidentally, like most people in cali, he turned out to be a salsa dancer and had quite an interesting story to tell about how salsa dancing was a popular activity in his barrio, when he was younger (i believe he was talking about 1980/90s more or less), he told me about how they were very competitive with the footwork. He seemed to think the quality of social dancing had somewhat declined in recent times.
    Smejmoon likes this.
  20. Resides

    Resides Sonero

    Na..the Colombians I met are intelligent. They are not 'offended' by anyone calling them 'Columbians'. They would be more offended by being typecast as simple minded and seen so simple to not understanding of cultural spelling differences.

    Ha...there is an irony. Being French I always spelled British Columbians wrongly...and was corrected (nobody 'offended'). Reminded it is U and not O. Now I spell Colombian incorrectly for the opposite is O and not U.

    We don't have a lot of Latinos. The few I know are from Chile, Argentina and Colombia. They must get tired of being asked about Mexican food.
    Last edited: May 24, 2015

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