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.
Salsa Dance Night takes place from 10pm until 1am 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.
The DanceWorkz Studio at Vantage in Tanjong Tokong, offers Salsa classes every Tuesday at 8pm (RM 35 per session) with teacher Darwen Tolentino, as well as other Latin Dance classes for adults and children. Contact call 0124828770 for more details.
Salsa is a fun and cheerful dance; Tango is more passionate and dramatic. For the last two years, a Tango Night has been happening every Wednesday in the Cinnamon Bar and Restaurant at the Penaga Hotel, on Hutton Lane, beginning at 9.30pm. Normally about a dozen people dance Tango, with a sprinkling of Kizomba, Salsa and Bachata). Beginners are welcome, and the only entry requirement is to buy a drink to support the venue. Updated information is available via the Argentine Tango in Penang Facebook page (www.facebook.com/groups/1563135257271497).
Update January 2018: the Penaga Hotel has changed owners and no longer hosts Tango night. The organisers are currently seeking a new venue.
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 email@example.com. For further information check www.facebook.com/centrestagemalaysia.
Kizomba, a sensual dance originating from Angola in Africa, was relatively known elsewhere in the world until a few years ago, but there is already a group of aficionados here in Penang. Kizomba in Penang kicked off with an introductory workshop a few months ago, and there is now a Kizomba Social on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month from 4pm to 8pm in the Neo Hotel, on Jalan C.Y. Choy. While the nascent Kizomba community continues to look for a local instructor everyone is a beginner, and more beginners are warmly welcomed to dance Kizomba and the occasional Bachata and Tango too. They plan on organizing more workshops in future for people to learn how to dance Kizomba.
More details and updates are available at www.facebook.com/groups/PenangKizombaCommunity and by calling 012 688 0673.