Salsa Dancing at Azucar in Downtown San Jose

by 11:59 AM 0 comments
On Monday, I hosted a Jews Next Dor event at Azucar in San Jose. They have beginning salsa lessons on Monday nights starting at 8:30 PM.

After work and before the event, I called to ask if they had a dress code, and they said business casual. Thinking that it would be a total disaster if the person who was supposed to host the event was denied entry for wearing jeans and a t-shirt, I stopped at a thrift store on the way and bought a silk blouse. Fancy! I parked far away for free, and walked to the bar.

I showed up at 8:00, and there were two people there not counting myself: the bartender and the DJ. I started thinking about what a disaster it would be if I was the only person who showed up. They have $5 mojitos, so I got a watermelon one and started composing an email in my mind addressed to the other members of the steering committee explaining how there was no one on the event sign-in sheet but myself but it was totally cool! I had fun anyway! Don't feel bad for me! Really!

Slowly, other people started to wander in, not from JND but at this point I was grateful for anyone. I was really not looking forward to a private salsa lesson, so the more the merrier. I got into a conversation with a dude which started out weird because I was worried he would hit on me. Then he told me about how he and his wife chose his daughter's name, so I was like, 'maybe he thinks I'M hitting on HIM?' and plotted to slip the phrase 'my husband' into the conversation. I got that in, and then I said something about his wife, and then he was like 'oh, that was a long time ago, she's my ex-wife now!' So we were back to weird until the lesson started, at which point he disappeared.

We started out the lesson with guys on one side and girls on the other, since one partner is basically the mirror image of the other. I realized that there were several people not in business casual, which made my thrift store purchase frivolous. Oh, well. Neil and Simon came in and joined the guys, and suddenly the event was an event.

After the separate lesson finished, we tried out our new moves on various partners. The guys and girls formed two concentric circles, and the girls rotated when the instructor yelled 'switch!' Some of the guys had clearly been to more than just this lesson, but most were struggling through just like me. Most people were relaxed and having fun. After the lesson, which lasted about an hour, a ton of much more skilled dancers showed up, as well as more JND people. I grabbed a table with some other JND-ers and we chatted while the amateurs spun by us. Three people asked me to dance once, but no one asked me to dance twice. I sucked pretty badly! It was still fun, though.

Anyway, here's the take-away for anyone thinking about going:

*Don't worry about the 'dress code'
*There's not food there, despite what the website says
*Lessons are $10
*The mojitos are strong, sip don't chug!
*People aren't necessarily going to practice what was taught in the lesson after the lesson. If you want to do that, you should come with a partner who's committed to learn the steps.
*Turnout is good but it's not packed. The teachers and bartender are nice.

Not a bad way to spend Monday night!

Marina Gafni

Marina Gafni is a 28-year-old speech pathology student. She lives with her husband in San Jose, CA.

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