Social dancing is good fun, good exercise and a great way to meet people. Salsa, one of the most popular types of partner dancing in the world has a small but passionate following in Penang, but you can also try out Bachata, Merengue, Tango and Kizomba.
The exuberant Salsa is a good place to start. There is a Salsa Night every Friday at Friendscino, a bar in Pulau Tikus. All are welcome, including beginners, and no partner is required – if there are not enough people to go round the dancers take to the floor solo. Bachata and Merengue tunes, whose steps are simpler to follow than Salsa, are also played from time to time during the evening, and Kizomba is also regularly danced.
The Salsa and Social Dance Night takes place from 10.30pm until 2am every Friday night at Friendscino, 19 Lintang Burma in Pulau Tikus. Contact 013-359 0443 for more details.
If you feel you want the confidence-booster of a few lessons first before taking to the dance floor, Montana Dance Academy in Sungai Ara offers lessons in Salsa, Bachata, Zouk and Argentine Tango, for adults and children, and hold a monthly social dance party for students and friends to practice, socialize and mingle around with other dancers. The address is 280-2, Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim, Sungai Ara. Contact 012-423 3892 and www.mdapenang.com.
Darwen Tolentino, choreographer, instructor and performer, teaches Bachata on Mondays (8.00 to 9.00 pm), Salsa on Tuesdays (8.00 to 9.00 pm) and BataTango (Argentine Tango) on Fridays (8.00 to 9.00 pm) with On D’Spot Dance Studio. Classes are held at Studio 2, Performing Arts Centre of Penang (PenangPac). He also offers private lessons and workshops. Contact 011 2462 7352 for more information or check his Facebook page. Information is correct as of August 2019. Y
The newest social dancing venue in Penang is Studio 32 Disco, which opened its doors for social dancing every Friday and Saturday evening from 9.30pm in August of 2019. With cha cha, jive, salsa, bachata and free style disco on offer, there is someone for anyone who likes to move. The venue itself, with a proper dance floor, a good sound system and disco lighting, is absolutely ideal. To find out more contact Ms Amy on 017 591 7991. Studio 32 can be found at 32 at the Mansion, 32 Jalan Ahmad Sultan Shah. More details on their facebook page.
Salsa is a fun and cheerful dance; Tango is more passionate and dramatic. For A few years, a Tango Night took place every week but for the moment there is sadly no regular Tango. Check the Argentine Tango in Penang Facebook group for any updates.
Lessons can be taken at the Montana Dance Academy mentioned above, and also with Mr Chan Soon Tat at the Centrestage Academy of Performing Arts on the 3rd floor of Island Plaza in Tanjong Tokong . Mr Tat can be reached on 012 429 3386 and at firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information check www.facebook.com/centrestagemalaysia.
Kizomba, a sensual dance originating from Angola in Africa, was relatively unknown elsewhere in the world until a few years ago, but there is already a group of aficionados here in Penang. There is usually a social night for Kizomba once a month on a Saturday. You can check their facebook group (link below) for more details. Beginners are warmly welcomed to dance Kizomba and the occasional Bachata and Tango too. The group also posts information on workshops and other Kizomba activities in Malaysia and elsewhere. More details and updates are available at www.facebook.com/groups/PenangKizombaCommunity and by calling 012 688 0673.