In blog by maricza valentin / January 3, 2017 / 0 Comments
Written by Monique A. Maldonado

What is Boogaloo? Well, I don’t know. All I know is that I love the sound and it gets me moving! For the first time at Latin Rhythms, we will be offering Boogaloo and so I did some research to learn more about it. Here’s what I learned.

Boogaloo has a very rich history that brings excitement just learning about it! Boogaloo originated in New York City in the 1960’s. It resonated particularly with African American audiences and an interaction developed between Latin Musicians and African American dancers. Influences of R&B, Jazz, and Doo Wap are what you may also hear when listening to Boogaloo. Performers like Joe Cuba, Johnny Colon, Ricardo Rey and The Lebron Brothers were inspired by this interaction and began to further develop this unique fusion and sound of Boogaloo.

Although the time when Boogaloo was “on and poppin” was short, the music created during that period is still endured. Many artists like Tito Nieves, Sonora Carruseles, and Grupo Gale continue to revive the Boogaloo sound by creating new music we all can still enjoy.

We are excited to be offering our first Boogaloo class at Latin Rhythms with none other than Nadia Alvarado. “In this class, you can expect to build a repertoire of funky moves and learn how to embody the swag and style of the Boogaloo era. The class is taught On2. Come and get your sexy on, Boogaloo style, baby!”, says Nadia.

Boogaloo will undoubtedly bring out something new to your dance style. Why not give it a try with us?! Check out this video of Sirenas, directed by Nadia Alvarado, as they get their Boogaloo on at the Chicago International Salsa Congress. To learn more about our classes and schedule, visit our website here.

In blog by maricza valentin / July 26, 2016 / 0 Comments
Written by: Monique A. Maldonado 

Weddings involve making a ton of decisions and a big one is your first dance. If it’s not the most important decision, it’s definitely up there in the ranks for couples. This is the moment you get to enjoy one another without all the wedding chaos. At Latin Rhythms, we do our best to work with each couple to be sure they are getting the first dance that fits their style and personalities.Here are a few things to consider when choosing your first dance.


Finding a common musical interest is really important. You both may enjoy Latin music but one may love Salsa more than the other. Try to choose a genre that fits you both. Plenty of the couples that come to Latin Rhythms for lessons or choreography choose songs that are outside of the Latin genre as well.


Couples can be in love with one another all day long and not enjoy all the same things, right? Opposites do attract! When choosing your first dance be sure to talk about what you both can handle–Especially when one of you is more bashful than the other. This will help you decide if you want to have a more traditional dance or something a little more out of the box. This  brings me to my next point.


Your wedding day should be all about you! Make sure your wedding dance reflects who you both are. If you both like Guns N’ Roses and “Welcome to the Jungle” is your favorite hit, then let’s do it! Instructors are well versed in other genres of music and can make an exceptionally unique dance that will keep your audience in awe by your style and sometimes “hidden talents”!


Picking your song for your dance can be difficult. Just remember to keep all things above in mind. Another helpful tip is to think about the lyrics. It’s always nice when you can find a song that reflects your story, personalities or a special time in your lives. For example, a song you heard while on an epic vacation together.

If you or someone you know is looking to have an exciting first dance, be sure to speak to our instructors on how Latin Rhythms can help. Here is an amazing couple, Neel & Sheena, who worked with our instructor Blanca Aviles on their first dance. This couple loves Bachata but they took another approach and chose a song of a different genre. It turned out beautifully!

In Uncategorized by maricza valentin / July 21, 2016 / 0 Comments
Written by: Monique A. Maldonado

Taking dance classes is the start to becoming a great dancer. But, your learning doesn’t stop there.

Any seasoned dancer will tell you that social dancing has a big impact on how they’ve advanced as a dancer. At Latin Rhythms, we encourage our students to go out to local clubs, events and congresses to continue their growth.

Going social dancing gives you the opportunity to dance with other local, and sometimes non-local, dancers in the scene. You can test what you’ve learned in classes and work on the areas you may struggle with.

We want our dancers to learn and advance, but most importantly, we want them to enjoy their dance experiences.


There are plenty of places in Chicago that offer salsa, bachata and kizomba nights. Here are some of the top places we recommend. 

Seasonal (Summer ‘18)

Pier 31: Every Tuesday 6pm-10pm (all ages)

Chicago Summer Dance: Join Latin Rhythms at Summer Dance (2018 schedule to be determined) 

Weekday Spots

Alhambra – Every First and Second Tuesday

The Drake Hotel & The Wild Hare– Wednesdays 

The Promontory (18+) -Third Wednesday of the Month

Patrons,  Reverie, Trophy Room, Stereo Nightclub – Thursdays

Weekend Spots

Dylan’s Tavern & GrillJC Martini Night Club – Fridays & Saturdays

Cubby Bear & The Apartment – Sundays


Don’t like the club scene? Have you been to one of our socials? Latin Rhythms hosts a social bi-monthly to give our students the opportunity to feel right at home while social dancing. Socials are the perfect place to get your feet wet and dance with your fellow classmates and instructors. Plenty of other dancers frequent socials giving you the same opportunities to dance with others you don’t get to dance with while taking classes. It’s a win, win!


Follow Chicago Salsa Dancing on Facebook to learn about other local social happenings in Chicago.

Here’s a video of our very own Maricza Valentin, social dancing with Luis Aguilar for the first time back in 2012. 

In blog by maricza valentin / June 21, 2016 / 4 Comments

Written by: Monique Maldonado
Contributions by: Maricza Valentin & Blanca Aviles

Most dance classes focus on positioning, posture, finding your center, and alignment, among other things. But yoga really takes dance training a step further for dancers. In Latin dance,  “You have to understand your technique, have clean footwork, great timing and body placement. Just to name a few things,” says Artistic Director and Owner of Latin Rhythms, Maricza Valentin.

But in yoga, you add in breathing, strength training, and mental clarity,according to Blanca Aviles, LR’s In-House Yogi. This combination of skills shapes some of the most controlled, balanced, and composed dancers we see on the scene. Blanca and Maricza help us break down the key elements of yoga, and why you might want to consider incorporating yoga into your dance training.

Read more →

In blog by maricza valentin / May 8, 2016 / 0 Comments

by Monique Maldonado

Going out social dancing is a good time to practice all the new moves you’ve learned in your classes. However, there are plenty of things to consider when social dancing. The dance floor is your playground but don’t play too rough and get your recess privileges revoked, if you know what I mean.

I‘ve done quite a bit of social dancing in my day (we won’t mention any dates) and there were a few things that I felt worked and others that didn’t, and should be avoided at all cost.

Read more →