The all-inclusive Salsa Chocolate and Afuego Fridays heat up downtown Provo by creating cultural diversity through the art of dance.
Located on Center Street in downtown Provo, Salsa Chocolate and Afuego Fridays are separate weekly dance events rooted in Latin culture.
Every Thursday night, Salsa Chocolate hosts salsa lessons for all to enjoy. After one hour of lessons, students are able to practice what they learned with social dancing until 12:30 p.m.
Afuego Fridays, Salsa Chocolate’s sister night, has more of a modern club vibe. When Afuego Fridays takes over, Bachata (from the Dominican Republic), Cumbia (from Columbia), Merengue (from the Dominican Republic), Salsa (from Cuba), Reggaeton (from Puerto Rico), and Regional Mexican or Banda music is featured on the main dance floor. The back room features house party music with a hip-hop vibe.
Salsa Chocolate is also an alcohol free establishment, making the dance the main reason to come to this club.
Noel Castro, a regular at Salsa Chocolate and Afuego Fridays, believes that both nights are a good way for people to learn about other cultural customs.
“It’s nice that people learn from other cultures. It’s good to get connected to other people through dance,” said Castro.
Living in Utah County, there isn’t much diversity. According to a 2015 United States Census, out of the 500,000 residents in Utah County, 93.3 percent are white. This makes it particularly important for Utah County to embrace culturally diverse experiences.
Salsa Chocolate was started by Arieh Alexander, a professional salsa dancer who created the dancing nights specifically to showcase the beauty of Latin culture through dance and music.
“Arieh started the salsa dancing club because there was nothing like it in Utah County,” said Castro.
Utahns new to Latin dance will find a unique, vibrant experience, while those already immersed in Latin culture will find a place of familiarity.
Professional dancers and beginners alike attend Thursday and Friday nights, making it a comfortable scene for all skill levels. For those who don’t know how to salsa, professional instructors are there to help anyone learn.
Whether you are a professional dancer, just starting out, or want to experience something new, Salsa Chocolate is a great way to enter the Latin dance scene.
Salsa Chocolate has lessons every Thursday from 9 until 10 p.m. There is a $5 cover fee.
Afeugo Fridays are every Friday from 10 until 2 a.m. There is a $7 cover fee.