So I spent Thursday evening exploring the salsa scene in San Diego with my coworker and fellow salsera Carla. On advice, we went to the Cafe Sevilla in the Gaslamp District to check out how things are done in San Diego.
The club is in the basement of a tapas restaurant, and we'd planned on eating dinner there. Unfortunately the waitlist was quite long, so we went up the street and had a brick-oven Margherita pizza. Cafe Sevilla offered salsa lessons at 8:30 so we made sure to get there in time. The cover was $10 but the lesson was free (and good thing, too.)
There were probably about 80-90 people taking the class, the lady teaching it was obviously no salsera, and I was deeply disappointed. It was a circular style of salsa, and Valerie (the instructor) taught jazz turns (turn left from the right foot, right from the left foot) which are really counterintuitive. She also taught the women to turn while going backwards, which was awkward and difficult as well. Topping it all off, she had a screechy voice and was overly "chipper" so the non-salsa people would be convinced that what they were doing was fun!!! sexy!!! exciting!!! [Yech.]
Fortunately the class only lasted an hour and I bailed when she started teaching merengue. The club was extremely dark and warm, but the band sounded good, and I had a few good dances. I won't go into detail about the bad ones, except to say there were a few, but overall it was a positive experience. Most everyone dances on1, a substantial proportion of them have no clue about timing, and there's a lot of cumbia too. It is great fun to go to a new place with new people, and try different patterns with different leads, instead of same old, same old. Things improved a bit after 12:30 or so because people started to go home, and I did have more decent dances until the club closed at 1:30am. I was literally soaking wet (my shirt was wet as though I'd been caught in a rainstorm, gross!) and my feet were sore, but it was worth it.
So, here's my shoutout to the good dancers I enjoyed getting to know in San Diego-- Corey Strong and Noah Kunia.