I live in Portland, Oregon, one of the fastest growing, most popular American cities for young adults. It regularly tops the country’s list of highest growth, best city for (fill in every imaginable blank here), worst traffic, and as a native Oregonian I grew up with the notion that our unofficial state motto was “Thanks for visiting (now please go home).” In other words, along with the classic metros like New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta and Chicago, Portland was destined to have a wide offering of Latin dance classes and studios. Anyone who’s looked for diversity in salsa classes—in Portland or anywhere else—will find they’re sorely mistaken.
No matter how big the city or widespread the salsa craze, there’s one maddening trend for self-proclaimed morning people: It seems like salsa classes are always in the evening. There is, of course, a very good reason for this. Evenings are when the vast majority of students are available to take classes! Still, that does nothing to help the students who either want or need to take classes in the mornings, during their lunch break, or in the early afternoons. As someone who routinely checks out local group classes, the earliest offering I’ve found is around five in the afternoon (and that class would be a two-hour commute with the city’s now famous rush hour).
Luckily, there are some options if night classes aren’t for you. For starters, what if you just think they aren’t?
When you work the night shift.
Okay, in this instance, you really can’t make evening classes work—at least not without changing jobs. In this case, it might be time to either budget in private classes that will work with your schedule, take online classes or Skype with an instructor, or a little of both. A lot of people think private classes are reserved for just yourself and/or a single partner, but that’s not true. Many fantastic salsa instructors are happy to adjust to “off hours” and you can make up your own class! Reach out to friends and family to see if anyone else is interested in putting together a motley crew of morning dancers. Not only will you save money on private lessons as the instructor adjusts everyone’s fees to reflect a fair price for all, but you’ll get to see the people you care about more in a fun and healthy weekly (or more!) session.
Alternatively, you can check out a myriad of online lessons that are now available. Stream from your smartphone, laptop or tablet just about anywhere. From free videos compliments of leading instructors to live video lessons, the options for digital dancing have never been more readily available. You can select from partner dancing with someone else, or work on your solo flair and footwork with just the instructor.
When you have no energy at night.
Maybe it’s not that you can’t make evening classes, but you’re just too tired by the end of the day. This is common for morning people who feel most energetic upon waking and that energy steadily wanes throughout the day. It might take a little more effort to make it to those evening classes, but raising your heart rate will quickly re-energize you. Plus, more studies are showing that (contrary to popular belief) exercising at night will not keep you awake. Rather, exercise any time of day will help you improve your sleep habits. Just make sure you don’t take the latest possible class when you have work the next day, because your body does need time to prep for bed and slow back down after a dance session.
In fact, you might be extra-tired in the evening because you’re not practicing good sleep hygiene. Don’t worry, most people struggle with this. Check out the Sleep Foundation for tips and tricks to get more energy throughout the day by improving your sleep habits.
When you don’t want to miss happy hour, your favorite shows, being sloth-like …
It’s understandable. You’ve had a long day and now all you want to do is reward yourself by binge watching half a season of House of Lies. Whether you zombie out with a significant other or solo after work, that kind of indulgence can be a treat from time to time, but not every day of the week. Instead, committing to at least one salsa dance per week night can be a welcome way to shake up your routine. If you go solo, it’s a chance to connect and socialize with a group outside your work and usual friend group. If you want to bring friends or a significant other, a dance class is a healthy and fun way to spend time together. Plus, it’s a lot more affordable and better for your liver/waistline than happy hour. For couples, dancing can help spark passions. It’s sexy to dance with each other or watch them take a spin with another student! After all, you have six other days per week to sit in front of the television or hunker down at your favorite bar or restaurant.
Only the lucky few will be able to snag a morning salsa class, so it’s time to get creative and re-hash your priorities. Likely, the closest thing you’ll get to morning salsa is your local zumba class, and that too can be an excellent complement to salsa dancing.
So … what are you doing tonight?