Grevel Lindop

Poet, biographer, critic, essayist and writer on just about everything

Starting the Weekend with Bachata Fridays

Cuba Cafe, in Port Street (off Newton Street, Northern Quarter) – and of course Mo, our legendary host

Michal’s bachata class in full swing

Recently I’ve added a new element to my week’s dancing, by going to Michal’s Friday night bachata classes at Cuba Cafe in the Northern Quarter. (8.15 beginners, improvers 9.30 approx.)

I’d tried to learn bachata several times, at classes and workshops, but either the teachers didn’t go at the right pace, or the instructions weren’t clear, or the numbers were out of balance… So I didn’t really persist and never got beyond the simplest rudiments.

But I took some friends to Cuba Cafe for drinks a couple of months ago, and watching Michal’s class I was very impressed by the sheer good time everyone seemed to be having. A week or two later I went along, and found the class exactly right – for me, anyway.

Michal is a cheerful, amusing teacher, who has the knack of expalining things extremely clearly and beginning from a very basic level, yet effortlesly getting people dancing at quite a decent level by the end of the evening. Everyone has fun in the process, and the classes are also very good value – cheaper than many salsa classes in fact. To sum up, this is simply the best bachata class I’ve seen.

I’m now a regular, and while I won’t say I’m dancing brilliant bachata, at least I have a few basic moves, I feel I’m finally getting somewhere, and I’m loving Friday evenings. As a bonus, DJ Les (Mancuban, Salsa Republic) is having monthly party nights – The AfterParty – following on from the class, playing salsa, bachata, merengue, reggaeton from 12 midnight to 3 a.m. And if you’ve been to Michal’s bachata class first, you don’t even have to pay. Otherwise the AfterParty s a mere £3. For AfterParty dates you’ll need to check out Mancuban or Cuba Cafe websites or on Facebook.

As a PS, I hear Michal’s beautiful wife Anna has recently given birth to their daughter, so many congratulations to the whole family. And Michal tells me the classes are going ahead as usual. If you’re around Manchester on a Friday, give them a try.