I’ve got that salsa fever!

Written by Julie | February 18, 2020

Salsa is sexy, social, builds confidence, it’s popular and healthy (it’s the perfect form of cardio).  Wherever in the world you go, there’s a big chance that you’ll find a salsa club nearby. Panama City offers a different option almost every night!

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What you need to know beforehand

You want to salsa in Panama but no hablas español? Don’t worry, dancing is its own language and salsa teachers will always find a way to make sure you understand what to do.

If you come with a dance partner, you’ll most likely be separated at some point. Yes,  being so close to people you don’t know might be a bit awkward at first to (at least it was for me), but don’t worry cause it’s the best way to learn! Switching partners teaches you how to move in sync with another person which, let’s face it, is never easy.

You’ll repeat a lot of the same movements and you might feel like Daniel washing the windshield in The Karate Kid (“wax on, wax off”). You might feel bored of it and won’t understand why. But just as Daniel trusted Mr. Miyagi, you’ll have to trust your teachers. They know that if you repeat the basic steps enough times, your memory will take over when the time comes for you to dance on your own.

There are different types of salsa in Panama. The most popular ones are salsa cubana (Cuban Salsa) and salsa en linea (Salsa in line or line dancing). Salsa cubana is a bit more informal and is danced in a fictive circle whereas salsa en linea (also called the L.A Style), is danced on straight imaginary lines and is more
structured.

Majestic Mondays and Tuesdays

Three: this is what it will cost you ($3) for a course divided in three parts and that teaches three different levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced.

Bachateame Monday

This one is my favorite day to salsa in Panama. This day is meant for all those who – like me – are always looking to discover more. On this day, you’ll warm up to bachata rhythms before starting your salsa class. This Monday is also to perfect your technique and once warmed up you’ll be separated by genders to get to learn “solo” moves[1].

What is solo and why should you care? Solo is choreography made just for the men or just the women. It teaches you how to move according to “your role within salsa” and will allow you to be able to improvise when suddenly your partner lets go of your hand for you to improvise. But beyond that, it gives you confidence and rhythm.

 

Happy Tuesday, thirsty Tuesday

A salsa class all the way from warm up to the finale, but for the same $3 you get a drink at the bar or even 2 beers. Needless to say, Tuesdays are more crowded.


[1] Only for intermediate and advanced dancers. The beginners will be learning the basic steps first.

Wednesday at the hotels

Their slogan is that they have the best view of the city and they aren’t wrong. Every Wednesday evening, you’ll be able to dance and listen to a live salsa band on the rooftop of the Hard Rock Café also called The Bits (short for “Bar in the sky”). I bet you never danced salsa on the 62nd floor of a building. Note that it’s usually free if you arrive before 8.30 PM but the band only plays around 11 PM. Also, you should always check with them first as sometimes they are closed.

If you are more a Casco type of person (the old town), then you can always try Tantalo which has Latin Night on Wednesdays. Tantalo is also a rooftop and has an amazing view. The staff are also really friendly and the passion fruit mojito is to die for.

Thursday, practice your technique in class and on the dancefloor!

If you still feel like you need to perfect your style, then every Thursday you can join a class for $5 at Hotel Torres de Alba (Via Veneto) or for $3 at Fantastic Casino (Albrook Mall) or for free at Selina Casco, in the downstair area.

For those of you who would like to put everything into practice on the dance floor, end the night dancing on the rooftop of Selina Casco with people from all over the world.

Friday and Saturday, fiesta baby!

As they say in Latin America, “Es viernes y el cuerpo lo sabe” (it’s Friday and the body knows it), which means, it is time to P.A.R.T.Y. in Panama.

During the weekend, various places offer live salsa so always check what genre it is or which artist is going to play that night in Wateke, Malecon (Casco Viejo) and at the Hilton Hotel.

Sunday, free day!

It is free, open-air salsa in Parque Urraca (Urraca Park) from 4 PM to 6 PM every Sunday. This is an initiative from the municipality, and you’ll find it under the dome in the Parque Urraca on Avenida Balboa.

To summarize

Where to learn salsa in Panama

Monday and Tuesday, 7 PM – Where: Majestic Casino, Multicentro – Cost: $3

Thursday, 7 PM to 10 PM – Where: Hotel Torres de Alba (Via Veneto) – Cost: $5

Thursday, 7 PM – Where: Fantastic Casino (Albrook Mall) – Cost: $3 ~~ Where: Selina Casco Viejo – Cost: free

Sunday, 4 PM to 6 PM – Where: Parque Urraca – Cost: free

 

Where to dance salsa in Panama

Tuesday to Sunday, 5PM to 12AM – Where: Wateke, Obarrio

Wednesday, 10 PM and later – Where: Hard Rock Café Rooftop and Tantalo Rooftop – Cost: free but sometimes they do have a cover charge, call ahead to make sure.

Thursday, 9 PM – Where: Selina Casco Rooftop – Cost: free

Friday and Saturday – Where: Malecon – Cost: Depends on the artist playing that night

Friday – Where: Hilton Panama – Cost: free

Some Sunday afternoons – Where: Panorama Veracruz (contact them on Instagram) – Cost: free

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