Turn up the heat with salsa

Patrons at the Wharf can now enjoy a little Latin American passion at the restaurant’s weekly salsa nights.

Free dance lessons are held every Tuesday from 9pm to 10pm with local instructor Kirk Rowe, who leads participants in learning the basic steps, leading up to a simple dance sequence.

Following the lesson, salsa music carries on late into the night, so guests can put their newly-learned dance moves into practice.

The Wharf has been running the night for the past three years.

‘We started the night as soon as we re-opened after Hurricane Ivan,’ Restaurant Manager Reno Mancini said.

‘At that point there was a lack of entertainment and things to do on the island. A lot of musicians had lost their equipment and many venues were still closed, so we wanted to start something up that was fun, but that was simple.

‘A salsa dancer called Roger Thompson suggested giving salsa lessons and the idea went from there.

‘The great thing about salsa is you don’t need a five piece band.’

The salsa night has grown to become one of the venue’s most successful evenings. It’s easy to see why.

Salsa dancing is bursting with energy and passion, while the music and its raucous rhythms are vibrant and spontaneous. It’s fantastic exercise and a great way to meet new people but above all else it’s great fun.

The infectious music simply makes you want to get up and dance. Even first-timers find after just half-an-hour tuition they soon become adept at the basic steps and are able to take to the dance floor. Trust me; even those with two left feet will quickly get the knack of it.

‘The beauty about salsa is that anyone can learn it,’ Kirk said.

The nights are attracting a wide range of people, from expatriates and locals alike.

‘It’s not just Latinos who have been coming,’ Reno said, ‘but people of all nationalities. It’s very popular with people from the UK, but we also have a lot of Caymanians too.’

Kirk has been teaching salsa for the past three years. A trained professional dancer, he also teaches contemporary, modern and hip-hop for the dance company Dance Unlimited.

‘The great thing about salsa is its fun and simple to learn,’ Kirk said. ‘I think that is what has made it so popular.’

If you’re keen to make a night of it, turn up early and enjoy dinner at the Wharf.

One of Cayman’s premier waterfront restaurants, the Wharf boasts an international team of chefs who have created an exciting menu teeming with international and local Caribbean cuisine.

The envious waterfront location offers the ideal dining spot and is the perfect venue to enjoy a drink while the sun goes down.

There’s tarpon feeding at 9pm – it’s a real tourist draw, but still fun, even if you have seen it before.

Featured menu items include a zesty Caribbean shrimp salad, marinated conch, escargot bourguignonne, lobster bisque, surf and turf, seafood pasta, grilled turtle steak, slow roast rack of lamb and blackened jumbo tiger shrimp. Daily chef specials add even more options.

A dessert menu offers ample tempting options, including Cayman key lime pie, pistachio and dark chocolate cake and warm toffee banana pudding.

Its worth indulging – after all, salsa dancing the night away you’re bound to burn off the calories.

The Wharf is open daily for dinner, 6pm to 10pm. Call 949-2231 for reservations.

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