The Most Famous Salsa Teacher in Cali, Colombia (and he’s Irish???)

8 Jul

As of last Wednesday, July 3rd, the Dancing Irishman is now probably the most well known salsa teacher in Cali, Colombia.

I was featured in an episode of the show, “Tiempo Real” which aired last week on the local Cali channel, Telepacifico. You can check out the clip below.

The whole thing came about when a journalist friend of mine (muchas gracias, Paola) mentioned my story to a a friend of hers who was looking for stories about foreigners doing things a little bit “different” in Cali. Apparently and Irishman teaching salsa in the “world capital of salsa” qualifies as different… (go figure).

In the clip you can hear some of my students talking about my teaching technique and a number of them mention a couple of things that have given me my own little niche here in the (as you can imagine) “saturated” market of salsa teachers in Cali. Those would be:

  • I speak English (which makes teaching a hell of a lot more efficient when your students don’t speak Spanish)
  • I break down the movements in a way that local teachers simply don’t do because that’s how I learned myself and that’s why my students, some of whom have never been able to dance in their lives, learn salsa so fast.

Another thing that I think has been helping my students is the fact that I only teach moves that they can use (in the “wild”) in salsa clubs in Cali. Most big dance schools here tend to teach a huge amount of complicated footwork which is fine if you eventually want to perform in a show or something like that but in general, you don’t see that out on the dance-floors in Cali and very few “untrained” girls can follow it.

On the other hand I stick to refining my students basics, body movements and turn patterns so they can use everything they learn on an average night out in Cali with the vast majority of dancers. It looks like that plan has been paying off.

Wouldn't you like a mild mannered, poorly accented, bearded Irishman as your salsa teacher???

Wouldn’t you like a mild mannered, poorly accented, bearded Irishman as your salsa teacher???

The Accented Irishman
In the video you also get to hear my spectacularly awful Spanish accent. I literally cried when I heard it for the first time :-(. Thankfully, some of my friends have assured me that I don’t speak that way normally so I’m going to put it down to being nervous in front of the cameras (I’m really very shy 😉 ). It has, however, given me the incentive to work more on my accent in Spanish, so I should have an article on that in a few weeks.

Anyway, since the show aired last week I’ve been getting a huge amount of emails from people (most of whom are Colombian) wanting to take salsa classes with me (Wuhoo for mass media). I guess with the World Salsa Championships just around the corner (August 5th) people want to learn what their city is famous for.

So there you have it, how an Irishman ended up teaching salsa in the World Capital of Salsa: Cali, Colombia.

Keep dancing folks.


Have you been working-out lately? Because you look spectacular 🙂 If you liked this article go ahead and share it with your friends via the Facebook or Twitter buttons below and if you use Stumbleupon please give it a “Thumbs Up”. I’d really appreciate it 😉


22 Responses to “The Most Famous Salsa Teacher in Cali, Colombia (and he’s Irish???)”

  1. Roisin July 8, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    Well done and your accent is fantastic, sure I met you 2 years ago and you didnt speak on word of Spanish so you have really put your mind to it and learnt well, wouldnt worry one bit about the accent, you are actually speaking quite colloquially and well.

    • The Dancing Irishman July 8, 2013 at 11:18 am #

      Awww, thanks Roisin. Still though, I’m going to start working on it and see if I can improve it a bit. No harm in trying right 🙂

  2. steve July 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    well done Richie, you have seized life by the balls once more. Irish guys dancing, who wouldve thunk it, eh?

    • The Dancing Irishman July 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

      We should start a club!!! make it all exclusive and snotty! and then we will be outcasts…yaaaaaay!

  3. gregebersole July 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Ha, Telepacifico wanted to interview me about my show in the gallery. At the designated time, they weren’t there. I waited 40 minutes and then left. Later, they called while I was running errands. I never heard the phone and never heard from them again. Last year, the same thing happened, except that I waited 45 minutes or more. Well, maybe I need to take a couple of lessons from you too, before I leave.

    • The Dancing Irishman July 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      Hahaha yeah, they are definitely not the best time keepers, but at least they showed up for me. It was really bad form that they didn’t contact you to apologise.

  4. Sarah July 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    Wow and congratulations!!! You look really happy and I remember your place and our Christmas lesson with the Bogota crew! You are a great teacher keep up the good work because salsa is your soul!

    • The Dancing Irishman July 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      Thanks Sarah, that lesson with you guys was one of my first in Colombia, so thanks for helping me get started. I hope everything is good with you back home! Un besito desde Colombia!

  5. erinfrances July 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Wish I’d known about your school while I was there – would have loved to visit! And re your accent, I was watching the vid with my Chilean boyfriend and he said “Wow, he speaks amazingly,” without even knowing how you felt about your accent. So, be proud!

    • The Dancing Irishman July 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

      Wow thanks Erin, I really appreciate the comment (tell your boyfriend thanks too). Let me know if you ever make it back to Cali.

  6. Peter July 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Inspirational Richie!! Well done… Also,
    your apartment looks amazing!

    • The Dancing Irishman July 8, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

      Thanks Peter. Yeah the apartment is great but has plenty of downsides too.
      How go the preparations for Tokyo?

  7. david garcia July 14, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    Great job Richie, would love to come to one of your classes one of these days… no need to worry about your accent, you sound just fine (I’m a native from Colombia). I actually think accents are cool, it lets other people know where your from and I’ve found out that some girls really like foreign accents 🙂

    • The Dancing Irishman July 16, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

      Hahaha thanks David, I’m still gonna try and improve it. If you ever feel like a class, just let me know.
      Take care.

  8. Chilly July 15, 2013 at 3:26 am #

    This is kind of Insane to be honest: An Irish man learning to dance in Japan and teaching it in Colombia – definitely qualifies as different.Nicely done!
    Did you know Cali style is the only style of Salsa I am still to learn? So I now know who is going to give me lessons when I eventually make it over there.
    Ill bring you the pair of jeans that go with your hair as discussed.

  9. RebSolomon July 15, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    In all that talking about how great your apartment is you failed to mention what happens during a storm 😛

    Love the video….Love you.

    Rebs says she also loves your wiggling hips. Me too.

    Salo y Rebe

    • The Dancing Irishman July 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      They wiggled quite a bit in the video eh haha. Wait till you see the next video I put up, it’s got some serious hip moving. By the way, it looks like Andy and crew had a pretty great time in Cali. I get the feeling he was really happy to be free of his old job haha!

      • RebSolomon September 3, 2013 at 2:35 am #

        Yeah they had loads of fun and raved about you. Thanks so much for meeting up with them and showing them around.

  10. Frankie July 4, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say
    excellent blog!

    • The Dancing Irishman July 22, 2014 at 4:52 am #

      Hi Frankie,
      Thanks for the comment and sorry you lost the original one you wrote.
      I hope to hear from you again.


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    […] coming into their own and tearing it up on the dance floor. I mean that both as someone who has taught salsa and as a member of the broader salsa community. I’ve also said it many times before that […]

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