Located in the San Bernadino Valley of Southern California, Ontario is an industrial city that derives that bulk of its economy from mills and its large international airport. As part of the large Los Angeles metropolitan area, Ontario, despite its relatively small size, has been hit by the salsa craze that burns through the city. For those who live or are visiting the area, there are several options for salsa dancing right in Ontario.
Due to its proximity to the major cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Ontario has the option of booking major live salsa bands in its clubs just about any night of the week. These events bring out dancers from many of the surrounding communities, including Rancho Cucamunga and Fontana. At the time of writing, Club After Dark and Jazz Cafe (clubjazzcafe.org) was the major live music venue for salsa, with their Sunday Salsa Night attracting salseros from all over the area. Salsa lessons are offered before the live show and a DJ keeps the party going until the wee hours of the night after the band steps down.
Even though it is a small city, Ontario has its fair share of nightlife and dance clubs, many of them clustered near Central Avenue. Several of these clubs feature Latin nights, where salsa is played along other popular Latin dance music such as bachata and merengue. For example, Tuesday nights at Fusions Bar and Grill (fusionsbar.com) is Latin night as well as ladies night, meaning women get in free and get drink specials. Like most of the salsa and Latin nights in the area, the evening begins with a dance lesson.
Before you get out on the floor at the salsa clubs, you may want to get some practice in, getting a grasp on the footwork and learning some of the many turns and spins that salsa is so famous for. Although the city does not feature any big name ballroom dance schools or nationwide dance school chains like several of its neighboring communities, it does have a small downtown dance studio called The Dance Shop (danceshopontario.blogspot.com) that does offers classes in a variety of styles including Latin dance and salsa.
Besides hitting the formal floors of clubs and the less formal environments of classes, there are several local groups of salsa fans and aficionados that not only get together at area events but even host salsa parties. One of the largest is the Inland Empire Salseros (meetup.com/Salsa-Caliente) who regularly update their group members with the latest in local salsa happenings.
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