My wife and I have been taking classes with DSantos for 3 years. I think our experience at Puerta Negra in Montpelier, VT is a perfect example of how DSantos can enhance a community. This bar/restaurant was recently opened and having some quiet evenings. They let us come in on Tuesday nights and run classes in the unused second floor bar. We started there during the winter. The first classes had just a few beginners supported by some DSantos regulars. People began seeing us stream upstairs, the music started playing, they heard has having fun, and it did not take long for the word to get out. This small town of 10k people now has regularly full classes. It is filled with people who are new to Salsa and now regulars at the Tuesday Night Salsa Classes at Puerta Negra. They now open the bar for when we have classes. I think what attracted my wife and I was the culture of the Dsantos community, and how the emphasis is on having fun, and how much we have learned. That positive energy is what greets you at the door and is what makes them such an asset to our little town. Dsantos has been a welcome addition to our community.
DSantos, for me, feels like home. I first started taking lessons with DSantos three years ago when I spent a summer in my hometown in Burlington. I have since lived in three different cities, two international, yet I keep making an effort to back whenever I can because of how special my experience has been in the dance community they have created. Tyler's energy and silliness makes learning dance fun for beginners, yet he also has the knowledge and experience to teach those who have been dancing for a while. One of the reasons why DSantos is so special is because of the perfect combination of fun and technique. I know that I'll always smile and laugh while dancing with a ton of different partners throughout a class, yet will also be challenged, whether it's through dancing on the "2" instead of the "1" or learning about musicality and the different instruments' roles in salsa. As a result of DSantos's ability to cater to beginners and aficionados, the dance community has blossomed in Vermont. And that last aspect - a sense of community - is why I value their teaching and the work they have done wherever they have gone. Students get together before class and have drinks, they go to socials together, they carpool to Montreal and AirBnB their way through a salsa convention weekend. When I was abroad in Madrid last year, I had the amazing opportunity to dance 15 hours a week, perform bachata with Daniel and Desiree's World Team Project, take lessons with world champions of salsa/bachata/kizomba, and attend a half dozen dance conventions; when I heard, "You're American? You dance like an Angolan/Dominican/Cuban!" I knew that DSantos's classes prepared me well for Madrid's booming latin dance scene. More importantly, however, I have never felt as welcome nor have I had as much fun as I do when I am back home dancing among my DSantos friends. DSantos has really shaped my love for dance in the past few years and has made me feel like a part of something exciting, buzzing and big, even in a small town like Burlington, Vermont.
Dsantos Dance brought me from a person intimidated to get out and socialize to someone who now brings new friends in to join the party! Tyler makes class fun by joking and getting everyone laughing and meeting new people. And he is able to build that into a structure that has novices learning the complicated salsa basic step at the first class. They are inspired they can dance and keep coming back for more. When I discovered DSantos, I lived nearly two hours away and would drive that distance to make the monthly socials. When I chose to move closer, part of that decision was because I knew I would be able attend more DSANTOS events. Now we've started a new class in my hometown! We fill the room every time and arrive early to get dinner and drinks with friends.
Nina Joy Kalantari
The month before I started dance classes I was in the middle of making some major life changes. I had been in a medical receptionist for several years, working under a hateful micro-manager. When I quit in January 2015, I made a resolution to participate in a “just-for-me” activity every week. One of my patients had been talking up a Salsa class he’d been to, so I decided to make that my first “just-for-me” activity. Originally nervous to go alone, my anxiety dissolved as two experienced dance students walked right up and introduced themselves to me (thanks Mark and Kiera)! The experience was so welcoming that now- 1 year and 3 months later- I still come to (at least) one class a week. I’ve seen lots of new people come in, and I’ve had the pleasure of welcoming them the same way I was! I am very grateful for the self-propagating FUN within the Dsantos teachers and community! Wepa!
Fresh out of a divorce and spending my evenings sitting in my apartment or more likely the neighborhood bar, I was lucky enough to meet a friend who told me about Dsantos. 2 days later I attended my very first social. I hated it! I felt so out of place, my dance moves I use at half drunk weddings were no help and I didn’t know anybody. But what I quickly learned is that nobody cared, everybody was just dancing and having a good time, everybody was friendly and all had the same advice. “Come to salsa lessons” So I did it, I started going to Dsantos dance lessons 2-3 times a week and only wished I had done this sooner. I not only learned to dance (sober) but I met many terrific people who are now my best friends. Tyler and Misha taught many of my classes. It was their bubbly personalities, support, and ability to make each lesson a new and fun experience that kept me coming back for more. I often wonder what my life would have been had I not taken that first step. You won’t be sorry