Consider this for an icebreaker: You’re staring into a stranger’s eyes while your bodies, fueled by Latin rhythms, swivel together across a dance floor. If that doesn’t sound like a recipe for love, we’re afraid the arctic tundra that is your heart is destined to perish alone.
Local dance studio Latin Street Dancing has been bringing people, and their bodies, together since 1998 with dance classes offered in salsa, merengue, bachata, cha-cha-cha, mambo and cumbia. Instructor and LSD founder Lisa “La Boriqua” says the class structure makes it easy for singles to get to know their classmates. “In a way it’s like speed dating,” she says. “You get three minutes to dance with everybody—you go around and around.” And unlike ballroom- or jazz-dance classes, the ratio of men to women showing up to dip, shine and cross-body lead is surprisingly even.
But the real romance starts outside of the studio, when students pick out their favorite classmates to join them in practicing their new moves at a club. LSD encourages this kind of after-school mingling with a VIS (Very Important Salsero) card that offers students free admission at participating salsa nights throughout the city.
But you’ve seen Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, you say, and you’re pretty sure your two left feet could never take on those fast and fluid moves? Not to worry. Beginner classes accept every form of dancing fool. The friendly atmosphere may even be just the thing to quell a lifelong case of dance anxiety. Or maybe your intimacy issues have you turning beet red at the mere suggestion of a pair of hips gyrating just inches apart. “This is a way to make contact with a person in a very safe environment,” Lisa says. And all that movement could have a positive effect on your physique, too. “You get a workout but it’s not like exercising at the gym, where people don’t talk to you-—here, you instantly have ten or 15 friends with similar interests.”
Latin Street Dancing, 540 N LaSalle St (312 427-2572, www.laboriqua.com). Classes cost $65 for a four-week session.—Martina Sheehan
Let us know where you’ve found that special someone, or at least pocketed—and saved!—a few numbers. If we use your suggestion, we’ll give you gift certificates from Restaurant.com. E-mail us at email@example.com.