Tuesday salsa with Mambo Exquisite at Elks Lodge in Scottsdale.
The address for this salsa night is 6398 E Oak St, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Salsa venue overview:
Dancing takes place at Elks Lodge – a private social club. Salsa dancers take up the left wing of the building that is somewhat of a dance studio. There is no age minimum to get in and the dance crowd consists of dancers of all ages. The cost for the two hour group salsa lesson is $10. It is free to get in just for the social. There is a large parking lot in front of the building and there is never a problem to find a parking space. This is a great place in Scottsdale to go salsa dancing on a Tuesday night.
Before the social dancing starts at 9.30pm there is a group salsa lesson at 7.30pm. The salsa class taught here is “on two”. It consists of one hour of shines (individual footwork) followed by another hour of partner work. The shines are beginner/intermediate level. For the shine part of the lesson both beginner and intermediate dancers are learning the same pattern. The shines that are taught during the class are easy enough for a beginner to follow and challenging enough for an intermediate dancer to take the class. Usually exact same shine pattern is practiced for two consecutive Tuesdays. This way if you are a beginner or just have a difficulty learning the pattern, you have two nights to practice the same footwork. Shines usually start out as very basic steps and get a little more complicated toward the middle or the end of the shine. The shine portion of the lesson takes an hour. After a five minute break the lesson is split up in two groups beginner and intermediate, for the partner work part of the class. Depending on your dancing skills and level of confidence you can join either the beginner or the intermediate group. The group part of the salsa lesson has a new pattern each week.
At 9.30pm after the two hour salsa lesson is over the social dancing starts. After the class most people stay for the social part to dance and to practice the new pattern. There are also many experienced dancers that do not take the class and show up just for the social part. Music that is played during the social dancing is mostly salsa with bachata songs in between. The evening ends at 12am.
About the organizers of this salsa venue:
Larry Garcia and his wife Claudia started teaching salsa (mambo or salsa on two) in Avondale about a year and a half ago. The official name of their dance company is Mambo Exquisite. In spite of the class being held on the outskirts of town it was attracting many people. After the lease of the building they used for the classes was increased, they moved their class where they could get a better deal, which happened to be Elks Lodge at the Scottsdale location. After moving their class closer to the center of Phoenix their following increased even more. Now Tuesday at the Elks Lodge has a very popular salsa lesson and a social night that only continues to grow in number of people attending it. Usually Larry and Claudia (picture above) teach the intermediate class with Kevin and Shali (picture below ) teaching the beginner class. Kevin and Shali are two very experienced dancers and awesome salsa instructors. Kevin also teaches a beginner class at Paragon Dance Center on Sundays.
Reasons I like this salsa lesson:
Larry Garcia, who teaches the intermediate class is not just a good dancer, he is very skilled instructor as well. He always comes prepared for the salsa lesson. Before the lesson he thinks of the pattern, that he is planning on teaching, and practices the pattern before teaching it to the group. During the class you can see that those are not just some moves he came up with on the fly, but something he practiced for a while that day, before teaching it to others.
Some instructors that I have taken classes from, talk for half a class about their dancing philosophy, or crack up jokes (that as a rule are not funny anyway). Next thing you know the class is over and you have not learned anything. Larry’s class is very well structured: it is a short explanation of the pattern segment – practice, short explanation of the next few moves – practice. By the end of the lesson you will learn something new.
It does not matter the complexity of the pattern Larry is teaching, he breaks down every move. You do not have to think where the foot or the arm goes; he shows the positioning of both for every count of the beat.
It is a two hour class and after practicing something for two hours you have no choice but get better at it.
Why I like the social dancing here:
Hardwood floor with enough space for all the dancers; good mix of songs; nice group of people who come there on a regular basis.
Practice of a new pattern during salsa lesson on Tuesday at Elks Lodge in Scottsdale.
Girls practice their part of the pattern during the salsa lesson on Tuesday in Scottsdale.
Salsa shine practice at Elks Lodge on Tuesday in Scottsdale.
Tuesday salsa class practicing the group part of the intermediate pattern.
Why did you decide to take a class here? How was your experience? Did you enjoy the social dancing after the class? Would you recommend this salsa night to a friend? Larry is a skilled dancer and an excellent instructor.
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I am an On1 dancer which has had a tough time learning On2. Larry has ben patient and inspirational in my O2 development. I highly recommend anyone seeking to learn salsa to learn salsa On2 from Larry and then maybe later learn salsa On1, not the other way around!!!
Larry is a skilled dancer and an excellent instructor.