One night stand: Salsa Fridays at Yuca

Crowded house: Salsa Mia at Yuca on Lincoln Road. Photo: Rayme Samuels

Picture this: It’s Friday night and you find yourself sauntering down Lincoln Road. Somehow along the way your feet start tapping, your hips start shaking and before you know it, you’re swept up in the sensual rhythm of a salsa beat. No, your ears aren’t playing tricks on you. Look up on the corner of Drexel Avenue and your senses will surely be overwhelmed by the flurry of sexy dancers spinning their way across a crowded dance floor. Salsa Mia has hosted an addictive salsa night in the upstairs lounge at Yuca restaurant for more than two years and has successfully attracted both diehard dancers and novices alike week after week.

Once you venture past a cheerful doorman and up a narrow staircase, you will find a ceramic tile dance floor filled to the brim with some of Miami’s most enthusiastic salseros. “People come here to socialize at the end of the workweek, have drinks and practice dance with other students,” says Salsa Mia owner, Susan Fisher.

For the novice dancer, Cuban salsa classes begin every week at 9 p.m., when impossibly attractive instructors cover the gamut of basic steps, intricate twirls and classic rueda calls. Arrive a few hours later and you’ll be amazed by the gravity defying spins and dips enacted by the second wave of visitors — some of Miami’s best and surprisingly humble dancers. Everyone here is eager to share the spirit of this Latin dance. If you’re feeling shy, pony up to the bar for a Corona or mango mojito, two popular favorites, and just enjoy being inspired by the crowd.

For those with two left feet, don’t worry. It’s not all salsa here, as DJs Alex and Alfredo mix things up regularly by adding reggaeton, merengue, bachata, and hip-hop to their rotations. At Yuca, where the party goes on strong until the wee hours, says Fisher, “everyone fits right in.”

Salsa Mia at Yuca, 501 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach; 305-532-9822

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