On Friday August 7th, 2009, I found myself salsa dancing in Syracuse, NY. Originally, I was not planning to go salsa dancing in Syracuse. I was actually planning a Saturday White Water Rafting trip on the Black River in Dexter, NY!
Hotels were expensive in the Dexter area, so I decided to look for less expensive hotels near there. With my luck, I found an affordable luxurious suite in the Embassy Suites in Syracuse. Its a 4 1/2 hour trip from South Jersey to Syracuse, so I decided to travel to Syracuse Friday morning. I realized that I would have nothing to do that night, so I did a search for Salsa Dancing in Syracuse NY. The website for La Familia De La Salsa (www.lafamiliadelasalsa.com) came up as one of the first search results. I looked in the section "Where to Dance", and I found a place to go salsa dancing!
Every Friday, there is salsa dancing at the Pastime Athletic Club hosted by La Familia De La Salsa.
The Pastime Athletic Club is located at:
1314 N Salina St
Syracuse, NY 13208
It was super convenient, because it was only 10 minutes away from my hotel in East Syracuse.
There is ample parking at the corner of Pastime Dr and Court St
Parking is along the same side as the club entrance. Look for the red brick building.
This was my first time salsa dancing in Syracuse so when I first walked in I was a little confused about where to go. Luckily, someone was kind enough to ask what I was looking for and told me that salsa dancing is on the 2nd floor. When you walk in, there will be a flight of steps to your right. At the top of the steps, the men’s bathroom is straight ahead, the women’s bathroom is to the left behind you, a full service bar is to your right and the entrance to the dance floor to your left.
When you first walk onto the dance floor you’ll see the walls lined with heavy light blue curtains. Chairs will be lined up against the wall at the entrance, and plenty of candle-lit tables and chairs along the left and back wall.
Along the right wall is where the music happens – this is where the DJ table and speakers are set up. There were only two speakers on one side of the room, but the music carried across the room loud and clear and was more than enough to fill the whole room.
Pastime Athletic Club has a huge dance floor! As the name implies, this used to be an athletic club and the dance floor is actually an old gym floor complete with the markings of a basketball court. Red and blue spotlights line the room and add a little bit of color, but they are not distracting. The floor is PERFECT for dancing. Its made of hard wood, and there are no gaps or cracks between the floor boards.
Be careful though, some spots may be slippery if you wear your dance shoes. Be sure to brush your suede soles to avoid any mishaps.
The La Familia De La Salsa website mentions that the Pastime Athletic Club has full air conditioning, but I’m not sure if it was turned on that night. A number of fans were set up along the dance floor. Even if the air conditioning was not turned on, it was as cool as other dance clubs I have visited.
If you are a beginner or have never been salsa dancing in Syracuse before, you can take their "Salsa Survival Lesson" at 8:15 pm for $7.
I showed up at 8:00 pm to find Brian Bromka and his friends dancing Rueda de Casino (Salsa Rueda)! It was a pleasure to watch since this is not as common to see where I live in the South Jersey. At 8:15 pm Brian announced that the beginner lesson actually starts at 8:30 pm because some people come in late and he likes to avoid having a beginner salsero totally lost. So please come early!
The night I went, Brian was not able to stay and teach the salsa lesson. However, he did a wonderful job of teaching the salseros the basic salsa steps before he left. Chelsea Wanner, took over the second part of the lesson and taught the cross body lead, spot turn for the girl, spot turn for the guy, and a slick way for the guy to loop his head and get into a closed position.
Chelsea broke down all the moves to their basic elements and taught how to connect with your partner and showed the guys to lead properly. This was fantastic because the "push-pull" connection is not always taught during a beginner lesson before a dance!
If you want to go salsa dancing in Syracuse, this venue is perfect! The cost is only $5 to get in. The music was a continuous mix of Salsa, Bachata, Cha Cha Cha, Merengue, and Reggaeton — never the same type of music was played for more than two or three songs.
The level of dancing is mixed from Beginner to Advanced with a weekly attendance of 100 to 150 dancers! I spoke to Chelsea, the salsa dancing instructor for the Beginner class that night. I knew that this was THE place to go salsa dancing in Syracuse when I found out that she drove 1 hour 20 minutes from Ithaca, NY just to dance at the Pastime Athletic Club!
The dress code is not "dress to impress" but more casual. A majority of people came dressed in jeans, however there were some women wearing salsa dresses.
Most people danced Cuban Salsa On1 or On3. Telltale signs are the circular dancing and the guy’s handhold on top of the girl’s hand.
Personally, I danced with everyone On1 L.A. style. I didn’t really notice any problems dancing with anyone that night. However, if you are a woman used to dancing Mambo or L.A. style, you may have problems dancing with a salsero dancing Cuban style salsa. Try your best to follow!
UPDATE 1/1/2012: This venue is no longer holding salsa dancing events. Check Salsa Clubs in New York for an updated list of salsa clubs in Syracuse.
Every Friday, there is Salsa Dancing in Syracuse at
Pastime Athletic Club, 1314 N Salina St, Syracuse, NY 13208
Beginner "Salsa Survival Lesson" at 8:15 pm to 9:30 pm. Admission: $7
Dancing from 9:30 pm to 2 am. Admission: $5
Must be at least 17 years old to enter.
Dress code is casual.
This event is hosted by La Familia De La Salsa.
Salsa Dancing In Syracuse Article
Written by: Arren Asuncion
August 10, 2009