It’s not recommended that salsa classes double as a dating pool—but you can’t deny destiny. One British couple shared their salsa love story with The Mirror, attorney Robert Lye and Adnieszka Lye. Both were living in Manchester, and Robert decided that at nearly 40 years old it was time to finally learn how to dance. He’d been humiliated at clubs before, but it was when he was out with friends and the DJ requested “the bald chap who can’t dance get off the table” that finally got Robert to a dance studio. However, he’s adamant that he was happily single and had no ulterior motives to signing up for salsa.
After a few lessons, a salsa club near the studio was recommended to him. It’s where there were organized salsa nights held regularly, and that’s where he met Adnieszka. She recalls instantly loving his smile and sense of humor. He encouraged her to take up formal classes with him, and the two quickly paired off at studio dances. “Salsa is quite erotic,” says Robert. “You feel like you are actually in tropical Latin America!”
Love at First Shine
It only took a few weeks for the two to go on a semi-formal date—to a dance party. Robert remembers having to have a couple of drinks before dancing with her at clubs, but after formally dancing so close to someone, you lose the need for that liquid courage pretty quickly. Soon enough, the drinks stopped and the romance blossomed. “We were drinking hot chocolate when he got down on one knee,” says Adnieszka. During their wedding, she changed out of her traditional dress and into a black one with tassels for their first salsa dance as a married couple. They now live in Manchester with their young son.
Another couple met at the popular Havana Club in Washington DC, a salsa mainstay in the 90s. Nicole began taking lessons with Eduardo Barada, the owner, who was heavily involved in the salsa community. He introduced her to Eric, a fellow salsa lover, and it was love at first sight. According to Eduardo, playing matchmaker (sometimes accidentally!) was pretty common for him. He estimates that he introduced 30-40 couples who got married during his time at HV.
Watching Love Blossom
I was lucky enough to witness the aftermath of another salsa setup during my time dancing in South Korea. At the time, there was only one salsa club in the Seoul metro area, and it took me a 45-minute subway ride to get to Itaewon from my flat in Gangnam (yes, of the famous “Gangnam Style”) during rush hour. The studio was owned by a 30-something American man from the Midwest and his Korean wife. The two had fallen for each other in one of the very few salsa clubs in Seoul five years prior, and the dance studio they opened together was very much their first “baby.”
Balancing professionalism with passion for your business partner can be challenging, but they pulled it off. The love between them was evident when they danced at clubs and studio parties. Plus, it was a real treat to see just how powerful salsa can be! I’m fortunate that I got such a sweet introduction to salsa, and was welcomed into a studio that was co-owned by partners in more ways than one.
So … Should You Date Your Dance Partner?
Every situation is different, and there are certainly plenty of examples of couples meeting and falling in love at a dance class (just ask any salsa studio owner!). However, just like all romance, it’s risky. If you’re okay with potentially being turned down and then continuing to see and dance with that person indefinitely, go for it! Your best bet is to make an informed decision and act quickly, rather than let a crush fester and get awkward. The worse they can say is no, and if they have any grace at all they will help to ensure your future dances and conversations are still polite and friendly.
Still, keep in mind that it’s important not to treat a dance studio like a dating service. A lot of people get turned off when they sense someone in the class is on the hunt for romance. If it happens naturally, that’s great. And if not? That’s not what you came for anyway, so dance on and enjoy yourself.