As you start dancing one of the most important decisions you'll make is choosing your dance instructor. The better the instructor, the quicker you will learn and the more enjoyment you will get out of your dancing. With a bad instructor you may not be happy with your progress and decide to give up. It is not easy for a beginner dancer to evaluate and choose a dance school as there is a fair amount of criteria to consider. Click to read what our friends at says

by Cindy Torruellas 9/10/2010
  •   Salsa Classes (On2)10 week series with José “Papo” Diaz at PEAC Health & Fitness, 1440 Lower Ferry Road Ewing, NJ 08618. Saturdays, from Sept. 25 –Nov. 27. Salsaerobics Shines Class, 12pm-1:15pm; Advanced Beginner Partner Class 1:30-2:45pm; Ladies Styling Class with Anandi (all levels), 3-4:15pm; Beginner Partner Class, 4:30-5:45pm.  Early bird registration until Sept. 18, $115; $123 pp for couples; $130 individuals; $88 students; $15 pp drop in (cash only); $12 students with ID; discounts for multiple class purchases; 25% discount for PEAC members. For additional info call 609-883-2000 or

    • Salsa Classes (On2) with Scarlet Mambo at Studio 808, 808 Raritan Ave. Highland Park, NJ 08904. New Schedule: Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays classes for adults (starting Sept. 13), children & young adults (starting Oct. 4). Class card sale - $13 per class with 10 class card; $14 with 5 class card; $15 walk ins. For every new person you bring, you receive 1 free class. For class description or to register/purchase online go to
    • Salsa Classes (On2)  8 week series with George Dennis of Mambodelphia at Studio 1831, 1831 Brandywine Philadelphia, PA 19130. Mondays starting Sept. 13.   Level 1 Basics, from 7:00-8:15pm; Level 2/3 Beyond The Basics, from 8:15-9:30pm. $90 for 1 course; $140 for both. For additional info, call George at 609-330-6804 or; go to to register.
    • Salsa Classes (ON1&ON2) – with Henri Velandia of HotSalsaHot at the Princeton Dance & Theater Studio, Forrestal Village, 116 Rockingham Road, Princeton, NJ. New Fall schedule starts Sept. 14. For additional info & class schedule, check or call 609-651-6070.
    • Salsa Classes (ON2) – with Liza Steele & Gonzalo at Princeton University, New Graduate College Common Room, College Road West, Princeton, NJ (1/2 mile from main campus). Tuesdays & Thursdays   $5 per class for students, $10 per class all others.  For class schedule & directions check or contact Gonzalo at
    • Salsa Classes (ON1) – at La Luna Dance Studio, 4610 Bensalem Blvd Bensalem, PA. 19020.  Salsa ON1(all levels), Men & Ladies Styling, Cha Cha, Bachata, and more. $20 per class for non-members (includes practice session); membership available. Instructors include Sonya Elmore, Jessica Rodriguez, Noel Rodriguez, José Maldonado, Amber Rawls, Mike Andino, Raul Santiago, Jr.  and others. Now offering TNT (Teens ‘n’ Tots) classes in Salsa, Hip Hop and more. For more info on TNT special pricing, and regular La Luna dance programs, call (215) 638-0418 or check
    • Salsa Classes (ON1&ON2) at Estilo Dance Studio located in Fitness Works, 714 Reed St., Philadelphia, PA. Salsa ON1 & ON2 (all levels) – Bachata – Cha Cha – Merengue – Casino Rueda – Kids Salsa & Ballet program. Instructors include Mike Andino, Kathleen Eccleston, George Dennis, Raul Santiago, Jr. and others. For class schedule and more info check, email, or call or (609) 713-6944.
    • Salsa Classes (ON1) - Atrium Dance Studio, 4721 N. Crescent Blvd. (right off of Rt. 130), Pennsauken, NJ . Salsa, all levels; Casino Rueda and more. Instructors include Barbara Capaldi and others. For more info check or call (856) 661-9166. 
    • Salsa Classes (ON1 & ON2) - with Joe Figueroa of Living in Rhythm (LIR) International at Top Hat Dance Studio, 10771 Bustleton Ave. Philadelphia, PA. Salsa, all levels; for additional info, check or call 215-676-3100.
    • Salsa Classes (ON1) – with Joe Figueroa of Living in Rhythm (LIR) International at Take The Lead Dance Studio, 320 Lantana Dr., Lantana Square, Hockessin, DE 19707  WednesdaysIntermediate Level I, 7:30-8:30pm; Bachata Level 1, 8:30-9:30pm. For more info, check or call (302)234-0909.
    • Salsa Classes (On1)  with Star Seguinot & Remi Rosales at Ballroom On High, returns in September.
    • Salsa Classes (ON1) – with Victor Colon at Studio 737 located at 737 West Chester Pike Suite 3 Havertown PA, 19083.  Offering all levels of Salsa, Ladies Styling & more. For class schedule and additional info & private lessons, call Victor at 267-259-5872 or
    • Salsa Classes (ON1) – at Society Hill Dance Academy Manayunk, 4401 Cresson St. (on the R6 train platform) Philadelphia Pa. 19127. Offering Beginner & Intermediate classes in Salsa, Bachata and more.  For complete schedule, pricing and additional info call the studio at 215-482-1611 or check
    • Salsa Classes (ON1) – at Society Hill Dance Academy Center City, 409 South 2nd St., Philadelphia Pa. 19147. Offering Beginner & Intermediate classes in Salsa, Bachata and more.  For complete schedule, pricing and additional info call the studio at 215-574-3574 or check
    • Salsa Classes (ON1)Salsa in the Suburbs Dance Studio, 1245 N. Providence Rd. (entrance on Evergreen Ave, lower level) Media, PA. 19063. Salsa ON1 (all levels), performance classes, Cha Cha, Merengue, and Bachata. Instructors include Julie Berger. For class schedule and additional info, call (610) 800-8182 or check
    • Salsa Classes (ON1)Latin Legacy Danceat Chill Lounge, 2747 Bernville Rd. Leesport, Pa. 19533. Instructors are Pamela Villagra & Manny Peguero. Sunday classes available: Beginners - Advanced & Performance. Sessions begin the first Sunday of the month, $10 per class. For more info check
    • Salsa Classes (ON1)(NEW!) with Rafael Benitez at City Fitness, 200 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123. Tuesdays, Beginners - 7:30-8:30pm. 8 Classes $50.00.  $10 walk-ins or drop in and watch for free.  Contact Rafael at or call 215-892-4541.
    get ListedWant to list your Dance Studio for FREE or be a Local Correspondent for Salsa In The City? E-mail Salsa In The City for details
Barbara CapaldiBarbara Capaldi
Atrium Dance Studio
4721 N. Crescent Boulevard
Pennsauken, NJ 08110

Center City SalsaMaster Jay Moves Dance Studio
1807 Chestnut Street 2nd flr.



Joe FigueroaJoe Figueroa
Crystal Dansport
79 Christiana Rd, New Castle DE 19720
Visit his Website

Isabel “Chiqui” Garcia
Peter Watts Fitness Studio
2712 North 5TH & Lehigh St. - 2ND Floor Philadelphia, PA 19133 (609) 603-1588

Eli TorresEli Torres
Rittenhouse Dance Academy
1616 Walnut St (Temple Building) lower level Philadelphia, PA 19103


  Sonya ElmoreSonya Elmore
La Luna Dance Studio
4610 Bensalem Blvd
Bensalem, PA 19020

EstilioEstilo Dance Studio
Fitness Works

714 Reed Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147


  Lime Light Dance Studio

Salsita Dance Studio
1624 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

  Studio 1831



Philadelphia/DE/South Jersey
Atrium Dance Studio
Basic Training Salsa/Mambo
La Luna Dance Studio
Salsero's International Dance Company
Salsita Dance Studio

Philadelphia/DE/South Jersey with no web site
Community School of Music and Art
Wanda Holdren-Vega(Latin Flair,Inc)
345 Dougglas street

Salsa Fuego Dance Company

Los Angeles (LA)
Salsa Soleil Dance Company
Latin Hips - Free Monthly On-line Dance Lesson




Please understand that different students react differently to different teachers. One instructor, who your friends may like, may not be the best for you and vice-versa. Once you have decided you would like to take classes, we highly recommend you visit as many instructors as possible, and watch or join at least one class to see if you’re comfortable with the instructor and the learning environment.

1.4.1) How do I find a salsa instructor?

Finding a dance instructor in your city is not always easy. Today most major cities will have a number of salsa instructors to choose from. If you are in a smaller city you may have more difficulty. Here are a few methods for locating salsa dance instructors:

Internet: Many cities have a web page dedicated to listing salsa instructors for that region. On the search engine, type "salsa" and "city name" for your city. This will give you a large and varied list of instructors but it’s still up to you to evaluate them. Click here for a list of salsa city links.

Word of Mouth: Asking dancers in the clubs about salsa schools. This is a good method because you'll get someone's opinion in addition to the instructor's name.However you have to keep in mind that they may not have ever tried anyone else's class so take the advice with a grain of salt.

Phone Book: Call up dance schools from the phone book (salsa or ballroom) and ask if they teach salsa classes. This is probably the most time consuming, but you will be able to ask what styles they teach and what their specialty is.

In case there are no salsa instructors in your city, we would recommend finding a willing partner, and ordering instructional videotapes to learn from. The alternative is to travel to nearby cities for instruction. This may not be feasible depending on how far away you are, as it can get expensive and time consuming.

1.4.2) Is the more expensive instructor better?

Price does not determine the quality of an instructor. Although some instructors who gain a good reputation may match their demand with an equivalent price, the more expensive instructor is not necessarily better. Also class length can range from 45 minutes to 2 hours, so pay attention when you look at the price.

1.4.3) Instructor to Student Ratio

The more individual and personalized attention you get, the better. The amount of attention you receive in a group lesson can vary greatly. The 1:1 ratio of a private lesson is ideal but a small class can be just as effective and a lot cheaper. Some classes are small with a limit on the number of students able to enroll. Others have as many as 50 students. Just keep in mind that the smaller the class, the easier it is for instructor to give more individual attention.

Some classes have multiple instructors and/or volunteers. This improves the ratio in your favour considerably. These classes may be more expensive, but if you value personal attention the cost will be worth it.

1.4.4) Male or Female instructor?

Whether you prefer a male or female teacher is really up to you. A female instructor may have more insight for females, and a male instructor may have better insight for guys, but this is not always the case. A good instructor should understand both roles, and be able to teach both guys and girls equally well. For specific things like styling, you may want to choose an instructor of the same sex; but for everything else, it shouldn’t matter (especially at the beginner level).

1.4.5) Is the best dancer also the best teacher?

There are some great dancers who are also great teachers, but this is not always the case. An instructor's skill set is very different from that of a dancer's. Teaching requires a fundamental technical understanding of dancing and human movement. This is gained though experience and training. However even if a teacher has the required training and experience, they still require the ability to verbally and visually communicate with the students at a level they'll understand and learn. These traits are not always present in a great dancer, so don’t assume the best dancer will be the best instructor. The only way to tell is to take or watch a class and ask their students for their opinion.

1.4.6) Are instructors who teach many different dances better?

Instructors who have studied various types of dance for a long time can use this experience and knowledge in their classes. This experience can definitely improve their teaching ability. However, some instructors with various dance backgrounds may not have studied salsa specifically. Although they seem to know salsa, they teach with a different "style". This is often the case with some ballroom schools which teach salsa on the side because of its popularity. Many ballroom teachers can teach salsa well, however a teacher who is a "jack of all trades" may not be as good as one who is a salsa specialist. This is not a good indicator of the skill of the instructor as it can go either way; again the best way to judge is by participating in their class and seeing if that is the style you want to learn.

1.4.7) Location and Venue

The instructor you choose should hold classes in a venue that is relatively convenient for you the student. In addition, select a class time that will give you some leeway in case of traffic or other delays. Make sure you are able to attend on a regular basis. If you can’t commit to a fixed weekly schedule; then try doing a workshop which only requires a few hours on a specific date. If not, then buy an instructional video, which allows you to watch and learn at your own pace.

Another key factor when discussing venue is what type of room the classes are conducted in. Classes can be held in a variety of locations - dance studios, dance clubs, gymnasiums, basements or homes. The ideal location will have good ventilation and lighting, hardwood floors, full-length mirrors, and lots of space. It is possible for a great instructor to teach at a bad location, however it is important for you to be comfortable with your learning environment.

1.4.8) Class Atmosphere

It is very important to be comfortable with the instructor and the students around you. A social and fun atmosphere will enhance your learning experience. Some instructors may not always have control over their class; others may seem to teach with some form of military training. A fun learning environment usually means a better learning environment. Also, make sure there is a relatively even number of guys to girls or ensure that the instructor regularly rotates the students to ensure everyone gets a turn at trying a new move. Keep in mind it is rare to have the exact same number of guys and girls. However if there are 20 girls registered and only 5 guys, many girls will not get a partner for the entire class, even with the instructor rotating partners. You may want to find a session with more even numbers so you will get more time to learn the step with an actual partner.

1.4.9) Ask Around!

When deciding which instructor to select, a good approach is to ask some of the veteran dancers in the clubs which instructor they recommend. Note, many dancers are biased to the instructors that taught them, so also ask why they recommend this particular instructor. Try to get as many opinions as possible and this will help you to get a good sense of which instructors are the best or most popular in your city.

1.4.10) Changing schools

We recommend you try many different instructors. However if you decide to change schools, there are a few things to keep in mind. Instructors all have different ways of measuring class levels. Some may rank students as "beginners", "intermediate" or "advanced". Other schools may use levels "level 1", "level 2", etc. In addition, "advanced" students from one school may not be at the same level as "advanced" students from another school. One instructor's syllabus and rating system is usually quite different from another. This variation will not make a difference to you unless you switch schools. Most instructors will want to evaluate your skill level before you join so that you will be placed in the right level. You may want to choose instructors that you know will also offer advanced lessons in the future when you progress.

It is natural to feel loyal to your first salsa instructor, but try to avoid feeling like you’re "cheating" on your current instructor if you decide to take classes with someone else. It’s okay, and in fact very beneficial to your dancing to a get as much varied input as possible. You also don’t have to leave your existing school. If you’re happy with it you may just want to supplement their classes with a class or workshop from another instructor every now and then.

1.4.11) Skills of a dance instructor

A dance instructor must have excellent understanding of the material he/she is teaching. In the case of Salsa, this includes being able to teach both the men’s and woman's steps. In addition to the steps, additional details such as the timing of leading and following or weight transfer should be well understood by the instructor. An experienced instructor will be able to warn you about common problems students have with each step and how to prevent them.

Assuming the instructor knows all this, he/she is required to be able to successfully communicate this information to the student. This is probably the most important skill of a good instructor. Just watching the instructor perform a specific step over and over is not enough for the average student. The instructor should be able to break down the step, and verbally explain each segment of the pattern. They should be able to pinpoint the problems the students are encountering and help them through it using explanations, examples and demonstration. A good instructor should be approachable and open to answering your questions.

Lastly, just like a coach, an instructor should be able to encourage the students and be understanding. A caring and fun class atmosphere will greatly enhance the learning experience and will most likely bring the student back.

Note: There are different types of classes, and different levels. Higher level classes are purposely not broken down as much as beginner classes. So make sure you’re in the right class by doing a placement evaluation with the instructor

1.4.12) Evaluating an Instructor's Skill

As a beginner student it is very hard to evaluate how good an instructor is
at teaching. Remember we're evaluating their teaching skills, not dancing skills. You can learn a lot about the instructor through observation even if you are new to dancing:

(1) How well does the instructor break down the steps? Is it too fast for you? Too slow?

(2) At the end of the classes, did most of the students learn what the instructor tried to teach? Did you? If most of the students have a look of confusion at the end of the class, the instructor most likely did not adapt to the class level, or did not break down the steps well enough.

(3) Did the instructor cover both the leaders and followers parts thoroughly? Were student questions answered well? Did the instructor even ask for questions and/or feedback?

(4) A great way to judge an instructor is by his/her students. Can the instructor's advanced students dance well? Can they dance with students not from the same dance school?

In addition to these observations, any professional instructor would be glad to answer questions you may have. The following is a list of sample questions you should ask your potential instructor.

(1) Their dance/salsa experience.
(2) Length of time they have been teaching.
(3) Ask to explain the style they teach and if it is the same style that is danced in the clubs.

We highly recommend that you try a few different instructors. You will notice different teaching styles. One is not necessarily better than another, but you may have a favorite from which you learn the most. The most important questions to ask yourself after the class are; Were you happy with the lesson? Did you learn something new? Did you enjoy the lesson? If the answers are yes, then you’ve succeeded in finding a good instructor for you.

(Exerpt from's guide to Salsa)

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