Chris Pentland

Chris’ classes and socials draw a large and diverse crowd  of regulars. His warm charisma and unique brand of humour keeps people coming back, as well as getting them up dancing at the end of the night.

The pace of the classes feel more laid back then other classes I’ve attended, especially for beginner levels. The technicality soon ramps up for the more advanced routines, which you are quickly encouraged to stay for.

Chris Pentland DJing at Black Swan

What initially attracted you to Salsa?

I was bored doing the same thing every Friday night so I told my friends I was staying in but was sneaking out to salsa. I got the initial feeling whilst travelling South America.

Favourite salsa track of all time?

Sonido bestial by Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz for the sheer energy and musical theatre it brings

Your golden rule?

Never leave your t-shirts in the washing machine too long before they’re dried. Once you dry them you think you’re ready to go soon as you get onto your fourth dance and heat passes through them you smell like a pair of tramps kegs…night ruined 

I couldn’t recommend Chris’ classes enough for beginners, and his social events are popular through no accident.

I’ll be listing all regular events on the where to dance page!

5 Essential Salsa Dancing Tips You Already Know

Smaller Steps

When dancing salsa, it is safer to take smaller and more controller steps. Men are less likely to crush a ladies toe, and ladies are less likely to spear a calf!
Secondly, it looks better. The dance looks more controlled, and it brings out a sexy movement in the hips. Leave lunging and large steps for your Zumba class, and lets have less jiggle and more wiggle!
Smaller steps allow faster and sharper transfer of weight, so you’ll not look flustered during a faster track.


Pin your ears back and take in the music. Even if it means dropping the “arm fu” and shines in favor of more basic steps, you’ll look sharper and interesting if you react to changes and shifts in gear.
Listen at home, at work or in the car. Details you may overlook in the buzz of a social will become more pronounced.
Learning to freeze on a pause or accentuating a drum fill with a shine will make you connect more with the music.


Let people know you’re not being held against your will at a social with a warm smile.Not only does it make you more inviting, but it also transforms your body language and movements. Let your partner know you’re enjoying their company.

Let Loose

Its easy to get locked into a set of moves you know you are “allowed” to use, but remember that you’re here to dance and let your hair down. Sometimes we can look a little stiff and robotic going though our repertoire of cool moves and practiced shines.
Do what you want and what feels natural. The more you suppress that desire the more your going to train your body to ignore what is going on in the music and march through the same routine to every song.
If you let it go, and ride it out, you might not only sprinkle on some of your own flavor but the more you allow this then the more your training your body to interpret the music and make it a fun expression rather than a memory test!
So use your arms, move your head, strike a pose… let loose! Worse case scenario is you get a laugh out of your partner.

Pretend Your Partner is a Person

When leading, try to invite your follower to move with you instead of forcing her. There are times when she just isn’t going to understand what you want, but it doesn’t matter, she’s there to have fun too.
Likewise, as followers, if you’ve agreed to let someone lead you then let them. The leader might be out of step, following the wrong beat or have absolutely no rhythm. If this is the case, then the leader has enough problems without also having to get into a battle for control.
Adjust your moves to the level of the other dancer. If the follower is not in the right shoes, or looks off balance during a certain type of turn then dial it down a bit. If the follower is really confident and is putting in lots of styling, then give her some space to do her thing.
In Conclusion
Have fun, and allow other people to have fun as well.
Did you agree with the above? You’re allowed not to!
Feel free to add your own tips in the comment section. 😄

Sam Mills

Every week kicks off with Sam’s party in Passing Clouds, attracting a medium sized group of mixed ages and abilities looking to opt out of the Monday Blues in favor of something decidedly more upbeat.

Sam Mills & Natalie
Sam Mills with, his dance partner, Natalie

My first class with Sam (and his cheeky partner, Natalie) was actually above Paradiso. The new venue, however, has been used for a couple of months now, and draws in extra dancers for the social. The raised stage allows Sam to more effectively demonstrate his footwork.

Sam has been on the scene for over seven years, initially promoting the Salsa / Bachata scene on Facebook. He’s a regular at the congress and has built up a dedicated band of regular students.

Sam’s teaches a Cross Body Salsa that emphases hook turns and intricate leads that will have the guys turning as much as the ladies.

Teaching a very smooth and polished style, which despite looking effortless, I found quite challenging. The routines are short, in-depth and build on-top of one another over the weeks.

Without feeling overwhelmed, I quickly felt I had a nice repertoire which was usable at socials.

I find the length of the classes just right. Sam and his partner are warm and welcoming, and always open to answer questions.

Overall a good relaxing night, with a deceptively steep learning curve.