It’s only one floor up and buildings are pretty much all you can see around you. To the right are some trees that provide shade. Other than that, there’s not much to look at. But…
This is Joburg’s hottest party spot on a Sunday (it’s the only place you’ll find me). Cuban Salsa and Kizomba tunes provide the background to enjoyable chatter, happening at Arts On Main, a huge warehouse filled with culinary delights and pictures from local artists.
The music adds ambiance to this colourful, casual market. It’s rich in dialects from around the continent and beyond. You’d never say you’re in one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
Danger is not on the minds of the hundreds of people walking the streets here. They are there to sample the African cuisine, shop and explore.
And then, of course, there are the addicts of the social dance community.
Every Sunday, without fail, dancers from various schools and different walks of life bring vibrancy to the rectangular space above the canteen. Some of us are regulars, while others drop in now and then.
Those who don’t dance, sway to the tunes of Thabo Moloto – aka DJ Salsa Touch. Their eyes don’t leave the dance floor, where bodies gyrate, swing and quick-step.
Cell phones are focused and fingers point, as Salseros turn and twist their ladies at rapid speeds, suddenly stopping, dipping, and pulling them from one side to the other, with effortless control and flair.
People stare when Kizomba beats prompts the ladies – and some gents too – to do mesmerizing hip movements while smoothly stepping together, bodies seemingly pushed tight against each other. It’s that intimacy and synchronized movement that astonishes most and makes others cautious about trying this sensual dance.
I know little of Bachata, but only two songs are played, and while meringue gets everyone jiving, DJ Salsa Touch plays more Salsa (he lives by his DJ title) and Kizomba, as students of these dances dominate the floor.
Onlookers approach us, quizzing us about where we learnt, where they can learn. If they’re brave enough, they ask for a lesson. The delight of dancing is shared and the bliss is evident.
Dancing, or more so the dancers, do not discriminate and share their expertise with the new found fans who follow to the best of their ability, and laugh at their mistakes when they step incorrectly. They thought it’s easy. Ha.
As dark shadows replace the summer sun, DJ Salsa Touch switches to Afro beats to the delight of the Angolan, Congolese and Nigerian attendees. P-Square’s music is a firm favourite with the crowd. Old School, RnB and the heavy bass of rap music, fill the cooling night air. You would swear tomorrow is a public holiday.
The Salseros and Kizombies exit what is now a full-on party, I mean, some of us have to work on Monday. The Revelry continues until 9pm when DJ SalsaTouch is obliged to disconnect the speakers.
There may be no view at this venue, but who needs one when the sexy ladies, audacious dancers and spontaneous entertainment will leave you excited – until we dance again.