Dance is the vertical expression of our horizontal intentions. Cliche yes – it is an enduring truth of dance, that the act is so erotic and sensual it can even make us fall in love or, at the very least, lead to a good time. Latin Dance in Pereira, is no exception. We are going to tell you where to learn, where to dance and some helpful tips to help you enjoy yourself while staying safe too!

Intro

In this region of Colombia the local culture endures in the way people speak, act and Dance in Pereira. There are a few basic dances which you can find in various parts of the Coffee Axis:

  • Salsa – Both in a folkloric and academic sense. The steps of the common salsa danced here are not taught in any school, they must be felt and followed with a mix of ingenuity and patience. Notice that the movement is more in the rhythm and less in the steps.
  • Bachata – You should find some Bachata wherever a variety of music is played, but the local culture is very simple and you won’t find Dominican styling or complexity.
  • Merengue – Does this dance style ever really change much across cultures? – doesn’t seem to.
  • Cumbia – The basic step pattern is similar but the context is different. You will see this one danced more often in cultural festivals for exposition. In the smaller pueblos you will often find senior citizen groups who keep this dance tradition alive.
  • Tango – There is at least one tango club in Pereira, but really Manizales is the most well known city for Tango in the Coffee Axis.
  • Paso Doble – You will see this one danced in Viejotecas, weddings, and special events. The older generations are more likely to dance or know how to dance this one properly – not commonly seen in discotecas.
  • Vallenato – Not unlike the American Country Western Two Step – Vallenato is a dance “del campo,” or from the rural countryside. Style and intensity will vary depending on where you go in Colombia. There are clubs where this style is danced.
  • Pasillo/Parrandero – The traditional Coffee Axis dances, today they are mostly danced as exhibition or for cultural events. The women wear a traditional costume called “Chapolera.” The men dress in the style of “Arriero,” or mule team driver.

To learn about the tango scene in Pereira, Click Here >> pereiracityguide.com/tango-in-the-coffee-axis/

Where to Learn

Dance in Pereira

Recently moved to a new location – we love the size and quality of their new dance floor!

There are a few dance schools in Pereira where you can study depending on your own personal context. On Avenida Circunvalar you can find Miluzka Dance – which features Ballet, Tango and Contemporary dance styles. One of our favorite schools for the Latin Styles, is Ritmo Latino, in el Centro. Here is everything Dance in Pereira.

Ritmo Latino

Founded in 1995, this is one of the oldest dance academies in Pereira. And with their recent upgrade and renovation – it is a really nice place to dance. As the name indicates, this school specializes in the Latin dance styles: Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Tango (private lessons only), Cha Cha Cha, Paso Doble and Rock n Roll for the fun of it!

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Class Offerings for Social Dance in Pereira:

  • Tuesday & Thursday at 6:30 pm: Tropical Dance This is a beginner level class that focuses on the basics of Latin dance)
  • Tuesday & Thursday at 7:30 pm: Variety Dance If you know the basics, step up your dance game with a class that features Salsa, Cha Cha Cha, Bachata, Paso Doble, Merengue and Rock n Roll styles.

Salsa Dance Specialties:

There’s a separate class for children, adolescents and adults. There are two different salsa specialties. One, Salsa Caleña which is a training program for the performance groups. You don’t have to know anything about this style to participate as there is an entire system which starts learners off in a basic class/team and graduates them to higher levels of difficulty and performance with the highest levels traveling to Cali for the yearly Salsa World Competition in December. Call for information and pricing.

Cell or WhatsApp: 313 – 743-3262 Be sure to follow them on Social Media too! facebook.com/RitmoLatinoEscueladeBaile/

Where to Dance in Pereira

Salsa-teca’s (salsa only)

La Ponceña – is a rather small unassuming place where the music is hot, and the beer is cold! A more intimate atmosphere, this is a great place for a salsa dance date or to hang out with a small group of friends. Try to avoid coming alone as this street can be a bit too quiet at night. facebook.com/LaPoncenaPereira/   Location: Calle 27 el Centro, Pereira

Dance in Pereira

La Ponceña 

Leña Verde – is the most famous salsa club in Pereira. It is located on across the Rio Otun in the neighboring city of Dosquebradas. facebook.com/lenaverdesalsoteca/ Location: Zona Rosa, Dosquebradas

Latin Variety

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Petronia Bar (shown above) – is a really nice place that features a great balance of live music, Salsa/Merengue and some Bachata dance music.  Later on they had some hip/hop & reggaeton thrown in for excitement. The waiters were attentive and the music programming excellent. Did we mention they even had a live band?! Safe location and great ambiance. Our only request: please Mr. DJ – play more Bachata! facebook.com/petroniabar/     Location: Circunvalar – In front of Centro Comercial Parque Arboleda

Maria Misterios – is a new and, from what we are hearing, relatively popular club, that frequently brings in live music to provide dance music. You will always find salsa but also many of the other dances too. facebook.com/MariaMisteriosClub/  Location: Dosquebradas

La Cantaleta – is a discoteca on Circunvalar across from La Ruana behind the Monumento Fundadores, which also offers variety Latin Dance in Pereira. They play a mix of all the popular dances plus Vallenato and local favorites. facebook.com/lacantaletadiscoteca/  Location: Avenida Circuvalar 

To learn about the tango scene in Pereira, Click Here >> pereiracityguide.com/tango-in-the-coffee-axis/

Cultural Dance in Pereira

Dance in Pereira

Local dancers in typical “Chapolera” and “Arriero” costumes.

Pereira is home to two distinct culture elements. The Paisa’s and the Indigenous People’s, of which there are many different tribes and affiliations to many different regions of Colombia, in part due to displacement from the conflict.

Los Paisa’s

The well-spring of this cultural element is coffee production. They have dances which go back to the Colonial Era which today are mostly danced in expositions, cultural celebrations and special events. You will find both local schools and dance performance groups which are working to preserve the dance culture of the coffee growers.

The Indigenous People’s

The traditions of indigenous dance follow their planting seasons, relationships, war and new life – not unlike Native American dances. The below video is a dance by some local Embera women at Interculturalidad 2017.

Dance Shows in Pereira

One of the best places in Pereira to see live music and dance, is Hotel Movich on Circunvalar. Their bar The Tipsy Bird, features several live bands which play on a rotating schedule and special performances or events which often feature Arabela Espectaculo as one of their offers. To read more about Movich click here.

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We wanted to include this section to talk about a woman who we admire quite a lot for her work with women from poor or troubled backgrounds. Arabela of Arabela Espectaculos, has dedicated her passion for dance into a dance school and performance company for hire. She helps to give dreams and employment to those who have none.

The rules are strict, but the pay-off is being able to earn an income through dance. The result is a profession that traditionally, tends to be restricted to people who are wealthy, or on scholarship. Arabela showed me her rules which include no drinking alcohol at events, chewing gum or using cell phones.

Dance in Pereira

“To have a closet full of pretty things like this one was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.” ~ Arabela

Arabela, the fearless leader and dance instructor, who has been dancing her whole life, is certified in Middle Eastern dance. She draws her dance roots and inspiration from these styles, while incorporating international favorites too. The dance team offers more than 50 different dance styles at any given time including traditional dance like Pasillo or Parranda, and popular dances like Salsa or Swing.

Whether you are looking to give your party a sense of atmosphere, or put on a grand spectacle – “Arabela Espectaculo” should definitely be on your list! Call or message for more information: 310 506 2111   facebook.com/arabelaespectaculos

Editor Note: We are not receiving any project donations for promoting Arabela Espectaculos – we simply admire their dedication and inspiration for helping people!

Tips for Dancers

Dance is such a unique thing wherever we go, that no two regions of the world will ever be able to dance exactly alike. In every part of the world it is understood and expressed in as many different ways as we can imagine. We put together some helpful tips to help people come to Pereira and have the best dance experience possible.

  • When in Rome: Do what the locals do. Be sure to spend some time observing and getting acquainted with the rapid but swinging hip movement of Coffee Axis salsa styling. Very few in this region are familiar with New York & LA Style salsa – but that doesn’t mean they don’t know what it is. Be patient and give yourself time to adapt.
  • Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene. The most common thing I hear from locals is “stained or yellow teeth, bad breath and body odor” being an issue with visitors. And, it’s ok. We just have to realize it. Colombians are very hygiene conscious so be sure to go to some extra effort to smell and look your best – especially if you are hoping for some romance along the way. If you are au natural, use some lemon juice in all the right places for a quick and easy deodorant.
  • Dance in Pereira With The RIGHT Shoes: This one is tricky. If you are a dignified dance shoe owning dancer – leave them at home. Even in most schools, the proper dance shoes we use in the US et. al., are not common here except for performance. Zumba style dance shoes, or even a pair of Converse sneakers will give you enough turning power but blend in with what the locals are doing – if you are self-conscious like that. At nightclubs, the dance floor flows in and around the tables – with plenty of sticky spots! For women we recommend a pair of flats or low heels, men – flat bottomed sneakers. Opt for comfort over presentation!
  • Staying hydrated: Remember! Pereira is at high altitude and if you aren’t accustomed to it you can get drunk easier and/or have altitude sickness. Be sure to take some electrolytes, eat a good dinner, and intersperse your drinking with some water to help keep your head on straight.
  • Safety First: Find Your Tribe! We do not recommend going out dancing alone. Especially if you are a women. Especially in sectors like La Badea. Date-rape drugs and scopolamine, are not unheard of, so don’t set yourself up to become a victim. Take a dance class, bring some friends, or catch up with a local social group like Let’s Talk Pereira to find people who would enjoy going out dancing with you. Never accept drinks from strangers.

Conclusion

We hope you find this dance guide both informative and entertaining. If you have any recommendations or comments be sure to share them with us, so we can update our info, or relay relevant data to our loyal readers. If you are a nightclub or discoteca, and you would like to sponsor this article, please contact us at pereiracityguide@gmail.com to learn how we can help your locally owned business stand out and get noticed by international travelers and the local expat community!

Owner/Editor of OpenMindedTraveler.com, Erin is also the Project Administrator/Editor of Pereira City Guide.com - She has been living in Pereira, Colombia for several years.

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