We at PromoAmbitions are huge supporters and advocates of the Latin dance community. We have been active participants in the Latin dance schools, socials, and events that this region has to offer and we figured we’d create a helpful, organized guide to help you get your Latin dance fix.
Why spend extra time and money escaping to NYC or Philly when some of the best Salsa and Bachata events and instructors are right here in North Jersey? We figured we’d give back to the Latin dance community that helped us to reset after work with the nicest and most beautiful dancers from all walks of life.
Here’s a list of the top spots North Jersey has to offer for sharpening up your Salsa and Bachata skills and escaping onto the dance floor …
North Jersey's Best Salsa and Bachata
NJ Salsa, led by Steve Santos, is a large dance community spread throughout North Jersey. They take pride in being the only dance company in the state to offer all free group lessons which typically occur right before the events they host. You can find an NJ Salsa dance lesson and event every night of the week, sometimes at multiple locations (see below). They mainly focus on four dances: Salsa (On1 & On2), Bachata, Merengue, and Kizomba. Steve Santos (@NJSalsa), Paula (@PaulaPrince16), MK (@mkathe0305), and the rest of the crew make everyone from all walks of life and dance level (beginner, intemediate, and advanced) feel very comfortable. You’re sure to have a refreshing, memorable escape when you head out to their events.
MDN, led by Marcus Nieves, is a very popular dance studio located at 289 Main Street, Belleville NJ. It’s New Jersey’s only Eddie Torres certified studio – Eddie Torres is known as the “Mambo King” and is credited with spreading New York Style Mambo (Salsa Mambo aka Salsa on2) all over the North East. MDN is run in cycles of 3 months each and the classes are progressive. There are four levels: Beginner, Advanced Beginner 1, Advanced Beginner 2, and Intermediate. You have to pass a test to advance to the different levels. Without a doubt, it is the best studio for learning shines (intricate footwork patterns). We loved the MDN experience because Marcus incorporated a lot of music theory, you will learn the exact counts, the point of the clave, and how to make the most out of the musicality of Latin dance. We highly recommend this studio only if you can dedicate yourself to attending the classes for a few nights a week for a full 3 months at a time.
Caribbean Soul, led by a true pioneer in the latin dance scene in North Jersey – Ismael Otero, teaches you how to truly dance and how to find your own unique style and rhythm. Ismael teaches you rhythm of various types of dances so that you can be comfortable dancing all styles of dance. The Salsa and Bachata of his students seems to be infused with the right balance of technique and flavor. Ismael’s classes are really fun, but also challenging. As he himself says, “you can argue with my methods, but you cannot argue with the results!” Be ready to activate muscles in your body which have been laying dormant and start to really feel the music. He is very welcoming of all dancers, so feel free to drop in to one of his classes without feeling intimidated. Shout out to Melissa, Ric, Mark, Paula and others from Caribbean Soul.
Gift of Dance Studios, led by lifelong dancer Sasha, is the go-to destination for many beginners who want to learn Bachata and Salsa on 1. The classes are held in Paramus (49 East Midland Ave) and Teaneck (319 Queen Anne Rd). She is the absolute best at getting beginners to the intermediate level and beyond in a very fun and inviting way. Her teaching style is exceptional and she makes sure everyone is comfortable and enjoying themselves. She has an aura about her that is very uplifting and if you’re looking to escape after work to a fun studio that will make you feel comfortable and help you burn some calories while learning new dance skills, then this is a safe bet for you. She also hosts monthly events (usually in Paramus).
Peak Latin Dancing, led by Eleanee Jimenez and Baudilio Rivera, is located at 734 Grand Ave in Ridgefield, NJ. Eleanee and Baudilio are seasoned performers and have a friendly, effective teaching style. Eleannee is also an accomplished choreographer and has had the distinct pleasure of performing all over the world. They offer group classes for both youth and adults ranging from Salsa and Bachata to Youth Street Jazz. They host unique events in the area which are well received and you can learn more about them on the events section of their website. Both Eleanee and Baudilio are very welcoming of all students of various dance levels, so if you live in the Ridgefield, NJ area we highly recommend you give their studio a visit.
Smiling David’s Dance School is led by Smiling David who has been teaching for over 20 years in Newark, NJ. Workshops and classes are available for all levels of expertise and styles range from salsa, bachata, cha-cha and beyond. All instructors have at least a dozen years of experience. They have the largest youth Latin dance program where students don’t only learn salsa but also bachata, merengue, ballet, tap, jazz, and more. Smiling David’s is also well known for hosting well-known annual parties including Smiling David’s Dance Extravaganza at the Poconos in April and Smiling David’s Dance Extravaganza Holiday Bash in late December.
Just One Dance, led by Jose Rojas, is a great option for those wanting to improve their Salsa on1 or Salsa on2 dancing skillset. Their instructors are very talented and commended for being able to breakdown movement and explain it in an easy-to-understand manner. We’ve had experience both attending classes and parties through this studio and were very pleased. As they put it, they do not “dancecriminate”, regardless of expertise or which walk-of-life you come from, you will be treated with the same level attention and respect. Their instructors are passionate, dedicated and offer both group and private lessons. The folks that we meet on the dance scene who belong to this studio highly recommend them.
Salsa Fever On2, led by Mario J. Gonzales, has been teaching Salsa to North Jersey dance enthusiasts for two decades now. Every one of their teachers has at least a decade of professional dance experience in their arsenal. They’re located at 83 Franklin Street in Jersey City. Aside from Salsa on2 and bachata classes, they also offer unique monthly workshops such as Timing & Musicality, Afro Body Isolation, ChaChaCha, and Ladies Spinning & Styling. You can also spot some of their instructors teaching at the beginning of various weekly socials in the area. We’ve taken enough classes with Luis Matute at 46 Lounge to know that this dance studio has a lot to offer.
Con Ritmo Salsa Studio, led by Manny, is conveniently located in Clifton at 605 Van Houten Ave. Manny specializes in New York Style Salsa On2. Manny’s students love the passion and energy he teaches with and he offers classes at all levels of dance capabilities. Manny hosts a monthly student practice party held on the third Friday of every month. We’ve had the pleasure of taking classes with Manny just prior to the weekly dance socials at 46 Lounge and Cubanelle and were happy with his teaching methods. Manny’s studio is affordable and he offers referral discounts to those who introduce new students to his studio. Manny’s classes are a healthy combination of challenging and fun.
North Jersey's Weekly Salsa and Bachata
Below you will find the best socials this region has to offer on any given day of the week. Please make sure that you call the contact number to confirm the event is happening on the night you’re planning to stop in, otherwise you may find yourself showing up in shiny shoes ready to party and you’ll be out of luck.
North Jersey's Monthly Salsa and Bachata Events...
Aside from weekly socials, there are monthly and bi-monthly parties. These events are usually packed and there is usually a cover charge at the door. Please make sure to visit the links provided to find out which date the particular event will be taking place.
North Jersey's Best Who Keep The Tunes Spinning...
Salsa and Bachata Latin Dance Parties and Events Etiquette
Leave your life problems and stressors at the door and go unwind. Make new friends, sweat out the stress, and most importantly – enjoy yourself and have a memorable time.
Social interactions are not always easy, especially for those who are new to the Latin dance scene. Be mindful of not rejecting anyone or being rude for no reason.