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The air in the room is thick but no-one cares. People are dancing. Really dancing. One pair breaks into a full out dance routine while others form a circle around them. After the song ends the dance floor fills again with quickly moving feet. It is an ordinary Tuesday night but the bar is packed: every corner is occupied. This is a salsa night in the heart of Sydney.

We are in Australia, but a variety of other cultures are represented here in Sydney. Latino nights are especially interesting aspects of Sydney’s nightlife. Popular bars have weekly nights dedicated to salsa, mambo and bachata. No flashing lights or electronic pop music. The atmosphere is relaxed and adults of all ages and nationalities enjoy the music. This is the night when you really get to dance your heart out.

Everyone is welcome. Proper salsa dancers do their own thing with all the tricks you see in films like Dirty Dancing. The others dance just the way they like to. No need to know any moves. Just follow the music, watch others and pick up the basics.

However, if you do want to learn to dance salsa, some of the bars offer free salsa classes at the beginning of the night. Also, the University of Sydney Movement and Dance Society has weekly salsa classes for students (in the picture). For a few dollars, you can practice turns and steps to prepare yourself for a night out. Maybe you will find a dance partner for the next night or gather a group to go out with. Sydney Salsa Scene website will help to find out what is on and where to go. It lists all the Latino events for each day. Pick one and go along.