Rooftop Salsa is a salsa social in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa that began at Arts On Main in 2011 and moved to nearby 28 Auret Street in 2016.
The core philosophy of Rooftop Salsa is that dancing has a magical effect on our mood. It's akin to meditation in that it focuses you on the moment and allows you to shut out all the noise and distractions of the outside world. Put away that smart phone, absorb the sun on your face and just boogie. When you dance, everything is reduced to making music with your body, and the focus on all your other identities fades away.
I helped kickstart salsa in Joburg by hosting a weekly salsa party at a restaurant I owned in Melville from 2006 to 2008. After I sold the restaurant, I kept on organizing salsa parties all around town. In 2011, I approached the Canteen Restaurant and launched Rooftop Salsa, Sunday afternoon dance sessions at the open air bar above the Canteen. Rooftop Salsa moved to nearby 28 Auret Street, corner of Fawcus and Jules, in June 2016.
The crowd at Rooftop Salsa is as diverse as the city of Joburg. There are a fair number of expats, but otherwise, it's a cross section of the city. We have a core of dance fans, but what makes dancing at the Rooftop especially fun is that we welcome everyone, even those who claim they have two left feet. There is no such thing! If you can walk, you can dance.
There is no better place to bring visitors to Johannesburg than the Maboneng Precinct of which Rooftop Salsa is now a big part of.
Maboneng is a particularly ideal space to host a salsa party because its urban landscape echoes the birth of salsa in the Latin barrios or neighbourhoods of New York City, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. It's loose, sassy, cosmopolitan. You throw in salsa music in the mix, and you get a sexy, chilled vibe to while away a Sunday afternoon.
hat is required to join our dance sessions? A pulse! But seriously, people can be precious about dancing. They say, Oh I can't dance! Well, do you expect to know how to play tennis without learning? Why should dance be any different? If you put in an hour or so of basic steps, you should be off and running. You don't need lessons to come and dance on the roof. Comfortable shoes and a happy spirit. We provide the music and dance partners.
When not promoting salsa, I work as a print journalist, filmmaker and video trainer at www.media-academy.co.za.
Birth of Salsa in Jozi and Other Tales - Kaya FM Interview with Rooftop SalsaThe
Salsa in Joburg began taking serious roots with weekly Saturday evening parties at the Melville Grill about ten years ago. Here is an oral history of how it began, as well an overview of the dance scene in the city as captured during at an interview of Rooftop Salsa creator Samson Mulugeta with Bridgitt Masinga of Kaya FM.
Rooftop Salsa on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RooftopSalsa/
Salsa Jozi on Facebook: https://goo.gl/tSN8Pz
Video Training: www.media-academy.co.za
Salsa Lessons with Leigh Nathan of Salsa Addicts: https://www.facebook.com/salsaaddictsjhb/?pnref=lhc
Kizomba with Ezra Smollan: https://www.facebook.com/groups/495445047288980/
Ahora Si!: http://www.ahorasi.co.za/ahorasi/
Kizomba with BailaAfrika: https://www.facebook.com/bailaafrika/
En Fuego Salsa Band at the Orbit: http://www.theorbit.co.za/
A Brief History of Salsa
Salsa is a young art form that started taking its current shape in the streets of New York City in the 1970s and blended music from jazz, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and other Latin influences to become a passionate past time for tens of thousands of fans around the world.
Top 100 Salsa Songs
The classic time tested songs that never get tired - from Trucutu to Lloraras.
The legendary concerts that established salsa as an art form.