The honour of being named 2008 European Capital of Culture has illustrated that Liverpool has spectacularly succeeded in destroying its old reputation as a gruff, industrial, rather humorless city. This can be seen in the bustling centre of town where you now have more choice of entertainment venues than even before. If it is ballroom or Latin dance clubs you are after, the fourth-largest city in the UK offers something for aficionados and nervous beginners alike to get their teeth into.
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El Rincon Latino
El Rincon Latino offers a Latin American experience in the heart of Liverpool. The food is authentic, and the drinks are strong, but it is when the music kicks in the atmosphere is ratcheted up a notch.
As well as the live bands, drum troupes and dance presentations on offer at El Rincon Latino they also host regular dance classes where expert teachers will talk you through everything that you need to know to feel comfortable.
El Rincon Latino also looks to provide social awareness with talks and events to give introductions to Latin American life and illustrate the plight of the rainforest.
El Rincon Latino Roscoe Street L1 2SU Liverpool 0151-709-1177 allthingslatin.co.uk
The beautiful little stone-fronted Casa is a destination for an intimate Latin American club that stays busy until the doors close at 2 a.m. The Casa has a Latin American feel almost every night of the week, but Thursday night attracts patrons to this mecca of Latin dance. Regular DJ Martinsalsa picks out tunes that feel authentic, but not stereotypical or tacky, from Colombia to New York.
If you are not feeling quite up to the standards of the regular dancers at The Casa, salsa classes accommodating to beginners kick off at 8 p.m. before the DJ starts the party at 10 p.m.
The Casa 29 Hope Street L1 9BQ Liverpool 0151-709-2148 skiddle.com
Orrell Park Ballroom
Every Wednesday night the Orrell Park Ballroom comes alive with the sound of Latin beats and laughter as beginners desperately try to find their rhythm. Before the club really kicks off around 11 p.m. a "beginners welcome" dance class helps everyone feels included.
It's little wonder that the atmosphere is always buzzing by the time the DJ starts spinning some terrific Latin music, and even if the beginners aren't quite experts just yet, guests are typically merry and confident enough for a dance.
Orrell Park Ballroom Moss Lane L9 8AW Liverpool 0151-525-4982 ents24.com
Cat and Fiddle
Cata and Fiddle offers outrageously good value for this popular, friendly salsa night: absolutely free. Every Sunday at 8.30 p.m. the resident DJ plays Latin beats, and experts are on hand to show you the moves and tame your two left feet at this little venue on famous Stanley Road.
Cat and Fiddle Stanley Road L20 3LG Liverpool 0151-922-9561 viewliverpool.co.uk
Ballroom clubs are a more niche and difficult-to-find genre of dancing, but The Bluecoat provides eclectic fare from contemporary dance shows to ballroom dance classes.
Check listings as The Bluecoat does not follow such conventions as having regular slots, but if you are a fan of ballroom dance you may well find opportunities in this interesting arts venue.
The Bluecoat School Lane Liverpool L1 3BX 0151-702-5324 bluecoat.org.uk
Harlequin Dance Club
This is one of the few locations in Liverpool that provides a casual, friendly approach to a discipline as structured as ballroom dancing. Beginners are accepted and even welcomed, as this club takes great pleasure in taking people with very little knowledge base and showing them the ropes.
Harlequin Dance Club 178 County Road Walton Liverpool L4 5PH 0151-526-0684 clickanddanceschools.co.uk
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