Strap on your freshest pair of Nikes and prepare to get in touch with the Cuban side you didn’t know you had. Saturday nights are Salsa nights in Milwaukee, and it’s dominating the dance scene at the Wherehouse in Walker’s Point.
Salsa is traditionally an energetic style of partner dancing. It incorporates three main elements: nimble feet, Shakira-esque hips, and tantalizing twirls. Fellas, prepare to take the lead because you’re expected to call the shots. Ladies, channel Queen B and get ready for some intense hairography.
When Salsa dancing, you’ll be connected to your partner at nearly all times. It integrates up-close and personal steps and dips with distanced, and sometimes solo, twirls. With Salsa, don’t anticipate time to stand around. When done right, you should be constantly moving with your partner.
Mario Asencio, a senior at Marquette and a regular attendee of Salsa nights at the Wherehouse, says the dance steps are easy to learn, no matter your dance background.
“There are lessons available for free before the club gets crowded,” Asencio says. “Otherwise, there are simple steps that most can get the hang of.”
The Wherehouse offers those free lessons on Saturday nights from 9:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m., but why not stay later and put those new moves to work? Most people don’t arrive at the Wherehouse until 10:00 p.m., which gives you 30 extra minutes to practice what you learned while providing free time to calm any nerves you may have developed.
While Asencio says the Wherehouse is a popular dance club in Milwaukee, it is still relatively unknown to the Marquette community. Many students stick to campus, hesitant to venture out from the “Marquette Bubble,” an imaginary divider surrounding campus roughly from 6th Street to 20th Street and from Clybourn Street to State Street. Plus, the Wherehouse is only open to those 21 and older, excluding underclassmen from the fun.
Asencio characterizes the Salsa night crowd as one with people of every ethnicity mingling on the floor.
“Milwaukee does not have many dance clubs and much less Latin music dance clubs,” Asencio says. “[The Wherehouse] is definitely popular among Hispanics.”
One thing that drives regulars back every Saturday night is the Wherehouse’s mix of authentic music from Cuba and Latin America. The music played is fresh and full of variety, and Salsa music delivers much-needed spice to the nightly playlist. “Salsa just adds a mix of dance nights out,” Asencio says. “Other dance clubs in Milwaukee can play the same songs week-in and week-out, which gets repetitive. Wherehouse adds variety.”
How to not make a fool of yourself
DO: Think about your outfit beforehand. The goal is to be comfortable, cool, and stable on your feet. The energetic style of Salsa makes it easy to get overheated, so leave your jacket behind.
DON’T: Pregame the night. Salsa dancing involves fast movements and the occasional twirl or two. You want to be clear headed, not stumbling over your partner.
Where To Go
818 S. Water St., Milwaukee
Saturdays 8:00 p.m.–2:00 a.m.
Free lesson 9:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
$5 cover after 10:00 p.m.