Salsa (and other Latin American dances)
Choose a good salsa school and you automatically become a member of a big, happy family. Salseros for some reason tend to be sensitive and pleasant people and salsa’s much more than just a dance to them: it’s a game and a joyous competition in which the goal is to be the last dancer standing. In addition there are other types of Latin dances besides salsa – tender son, playful and high-energy meringue, and sexy bachata and reggae ton. Try them all. New York and casino salsa is considered very cool in Kyiv right now, and you can practice in a variety of local clubs after you master your lessons. It’s all about getting enough practice – and also about having sensitive partners. Wear anything you like while you’re training: the main thing is to like the way you feel in the clothes you’re wearing, because salsa is one of the most sensuous of dances. Where to study:
Caribbean Club (4 Kominterna). This is Destination Number 1 if you want to learn how to salsa. Salsa music pumps here every day and lessons are available. Tel.: 244-4290
Bailaraton (8 Frunze, School #17). As part of the small group that gathers here you’ll learn salsa, meringue, bachata, son and much more! In addition there’s a special gymnastics class to help you master the more radical salsa moves. Call Anna Tarasova at 8066- 147-7641 or Maxim Bulkovsky at 8050-412-2111.
CubanoBoom (8 Kopernika, School #101 gym). You’ll find here a massive salsa community with a high flirt factor. The groups are huge, however, and it can be a little bit difficult to catch the basics. One lesson costs 20 hrv and one month’s attendance will run you 140 hrv. For more information call Ernesto at 8067-798-3692.
KievLatino (115 Antonovicha, Fiesta Club). Lessons are offered every Monday and Tuesday at 19.00. One lesson is 30 hrv.
Alma Latina (27 Shevchenko Blvr., main hall). One lesson is 35-50 hrv. For more information go to almalatina.com.ua Tel.: 8067-953-4040
Few dances have captured the world’s imagination with the same intensity as has the Argentine tango, that expression of love and passion. Argentinean tango comprehends a variety of styles, but what they have in common is that the dancers hold each other in an embrace that varies from wide open, in which the leader and his partner are at arms length from each other, to very closed, in which the connection is chest-to-chest. Tango is heavily improvisatory, and no two dances are ever the same. While there are step patterns or sequences that instructors use when they teach, in practice the dance varies in speed and affect, and steps can be smooth, pulsing, fluid, or sharp, depending on the dancer’s wish. Tango’s not super-popular here yet but there are some really great teachers and schools to attend. If you are only starting to learn tango, don’t worry about wearing the traditional romantic costumes: just wear jazz shoes or dancing shoes that don’t have especially high heels. Where to study:
Viva el Tango with Vyacheslav Grinchenko. Check for where the lessons will be held! Tel.: 518-2491, 280-1828
Fidelio (24 Starovokzalna). Lessons start every Saturday night at 18.00. Tel.: 592-6318, 493-0002
Tango with Ines Nikolulias (24/45 Pochaininska, Amigos club) Tel.: 417-6164
Jazz dancing is the product of two different eras in American history: the nineteenth century and the modern era. In the former, African-American dance started to develop. Then Broadway choreographers started taking that dance tradition into new places and there developed dance idioms like tap and new dances like the cakewalk, the Charleston and the Lindy hop. In short, however, if you like American musicals you’ll like jazz dancing, which is characterised by a lot of leaping and acrobatic footwork - be ready to get some serious exercise. The other important thing is that you’ve got to have a sense of rhythm, because jazz is a total improvisation and your feet have to catch the spirit of the music! Where to study:
Chapkis Dance (11 Prirechna, Obolon Lipki). Every Wednesday at 20.30 and every Saturday at 14.30 Tel.: 227-1070, 227-1313 One lesson is 50 hrv, 1 month of lessons is 300 hrv.
Dance City (65 Chervonoarmyska). Modern jazz lessons every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 19.50. One lesson is 35 hrv, one month is about 335 hrv.
Filled with the romantic spirit of Spain, flamenco is the passionate dance that Carmen would have danced. Hot music, heels clicking smartly together, bright skirts flowing through the air: it’s an unforgettable style, and one that developed on the Andalusian coast, uniting gypsy, Jewish, and Spanish strains. Between the late-eighteenth and midnineteenth centuries flamenco came into its own, separating itself from local folk dance and preparing the way for a higher level of technical excellence, diversification of flamenco styles, and popularisation of the genre outside Andalusia. Flamenco is a highly expressive solo dance characterised by the emotional sweeping of the arms and the rhythmic stomping of the feet. You can also get crazy with those castanets or folding fans. Wear pants if you’re a beginning student, or else a special flamenco-ready skirt that hides your belly. Eventually you’ll want to get a special pair of shoes with 4-7 centimeter heels. Where to study:
Calle del Sol Flamenco School (38 Shchorsa, Pecherska metro). Contact Svetlana Tkachenko at 8095-278-7043 or go to www.flamenco. in.ua
Arte Flamenco (22 Ivana Mazepy, second floor). Tel.: 587-7537 One lesson costs 30 hrv., 1 month costs 170-200 hrv.
Chapkis Dance (11 Prirechna, Obolon Lipki). Every Wednesday at 19.00 and Saturday at 15.00. Tel.: 227-1070, 227-1313 One lesson is 50 hrv, 1 month is 300 hrv.
Turkey and Egypt’s popularity among Ukrainians has made belly- dancing popular here: along with hookah pipes and Turkish delight, in fact, it’s almost become part of our culture. The presence of an Arabic diaspora in Ukraine doesn’t hurt either. Learn to belly-dance and you can dip into a different culture and maybe even meet one of those Middle Eastern men local girls are so hot for. Not that belly-dancing is all about flirting and fun. It’s a very healthy gymnastic-type exercise and has an interesting philosophy behind it. The Odissi style of belly-dancing comes from India and has its own esthetic; then there are the Lebanese, Egyptian, and Turkish varieties, which are more sexually charged. All the important muscles are working while you dance, and dancing helps connect a woman’s body with her soul. Where to study:
Shelkovuy Put (79b Volodymyrska, Lva Tolstogo metro). This is one of the biggest Kyiv schools in which to learn Indian and Arabic dance. For more information call Ihor at 8050-184-0527 or go to http://www.orientaldance.com.ua/
Miriam Every Tuesday and Thursday, at central building of Taras Shevchenko University, room #148 (60 Volodymyrska) For more information call 8-066-182-7786
Leila (25 Yaroslaviv Val, School of Arts). For more information call 8096-335-5770 or go to http://www.leiladance.kiev.ua/
BigDance (12b Igorevska), Tel.: 490-9099
Irish dancing dates back thousands of years, but it exploded onto the world consciousness in 1995, when ‘Riverdance’ started thundering across the stages of the world. Ukrainians fond of ethnic entertainment, not to mention of attending pleasant openair festivals, have taken to Irish dancing something fierce. It’s a good thing that there are a couple of Irish pubs in Kyiv where you can demonstrate your skills. If you want to become a serious Irish dancer you’ll need to buy a special dress and jigs or ghillies (those funny Irish shoes). If you’re only starting out then trainers, athletic trousers, and a t-shirt will be okay. Where to study:
FireDance (School of Arts # 5, 11v Marshala Malinovskoho; and Kiyanochka cultural centre, 204g Borshchagovskaya). Admission is 160 hrv (classes are held twice a week). The first lesson is free! Tel.: 587-8599
By modern dance we mean Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, and other legendary choreographers. But we also mean dancing that takes off from idiomatic dance styles like street-dancing, R’n’B, pop dancing, and so on. You want to be in good shape for this stuff, as it’s physically taxing. Where to study:
Grand Pas (7 Generala Zhmachenka, Kryzhynka ice rink, Darnytsya metro). Dreamed of being a ballerina when you were a kid, but the dream never came true? Don’t worry, you really can learn to dance ballet as an adult! You’ll be trained by professional coaches and acquire some academic skills. Lessons are daily, in both the daytime and the evening. Tel.: 247-1520
A6 school (27 Shevchenko Blvd.). One of the leading schools, with its own popular ballet troupe. There are classes for beginners and for those with more experience. Kids groups are also offered. Tel.: 239-5630, 240-54-20
Yuris (various locations). This is a big school with different locations, and it teaches a whole bunch of different types of dancing. Tuition is 200-250 hrv per month. For more information go to yuris. kiev.ua. Tel.: 8050-462-7892
In the 1990s, as hip-hop music evolved away from the funk from which it came, it became slower and more aggressive. And so new styles of hip-hop dancing were born. Most of them focus on upright dancing, in distinction to breakdancing, which is known for its floor-oriented moves. Get some great-looking trainers and give it a go. Where to study:
Dance Street (4 Nekrasovskaya, School #106). Here you’ll find great lessons for those who have already started learning to dance in the hip-hop idiom. Admission is 120 hrv for a month. One lesson is 20 hrv. Tel.: 237-0843 or 8063-237-08-43
My Way (8 Prorizna, fourth floor). This place is filled with rich Kyiv kids, but the teaching of the basics is excellent. Tuition is 400 hrv for the month. One lesson costs 50 hrv. Tel.: 587-5193
Quest (9 Anri Barbyusa, second floor). This hip dance school became even more famous after the Quest Pistols played here. Tuition is 300 hrv for the month. Tel.: 8067-408-1577
Breakdancing has its roots in the New York City of the 1960s and became a cornerstone of hip-hop dancing. It’s somewhere between dancing and athletics – you’d better work those abdominal muscles. If at first it’s hard, keep trying! Where to study:
Raffneck Attack (Sputnik Club, 22b Shota Rustavelli) every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 16.00 Tel.: 8067-209-1030
Ballroom dancing means any one of the several dances in which a leader and a follower dance while maintaining physical contact with their upper or lower bodies - or simply their arms depending on the particular dance. Currently there are ten dances in the ballroom canon: slow waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, slow foxtrot, quickstep, cha-cha, samba, rumba, jive, and paso double, but dances are always being added and removed. Ballroom is massive here in Ukraine: it’s even heavily promoted on TV. (Witness ‘Dancing with the Stars and Nataliya Mohylevska and Vlad Yama’s ‘This Dance.’) Where to study:
Chapkis Dance (11 Prirechna, Obolon Lipki). This school is wellknown among the masses thanks to the legendary Grygory Chapkis and his endless performances and interviews on TV. He’s been one of the leading jury members on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ so when you take lessons here you’ll feel you’re in the presence of a star. Lessons are every Monday and Friday at 19.00 and 20.45. every Saturday at 11.45, and every Sunday at 13.30. One month will cost you about 300 hrv and one lesson is 50 hrv. For more information go to www.chapkis.com.ua Tel.: 227-1070, 227-1313
Big Dance (12b Igorevska, 6 floor) This is a stylish modern school with professional teachers and very reasonable prices. Admission is about 200 hrv per month. The first lesson is free. For more information go to www.bigdance.com.ua Tel.: 490-9099