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A Salsa Weekend



It’s cold and grey in November why Eastbourne? Not the first place to spring to mind for a weekend break. But add some salsa, tango or Zumba, a group of good friends and some good old fashioned partying and you have the recipe for a memorable weekend.
We arrived at the Mansion Lions Hotel on a drizzly Friday evening after work and were greeted in the hotel lobby by an eight foot smiling Father Christmas model adorned with florescent tinsel; casting work and commuter stress aside we could tell this was going to be a fun weekend. The traditional UK seaside hotel is a unique surviving relic from the British coastline's glory days, maintaining their bingo nights, afternoon teas and three course dinner which ALWAYS begins with soup of the day. But these are hotels are often the hidden gems of our increasingly modernised resorts; The Mansion Lions and others like her retain the charm of an era past and transport us back to a carefree time of candy floss and donkey rides.
What's more, traditional British seaside hotels always have a ballroom. Light, airy chandelier bedecked spaces, some with picture windows overlooking the sea, they are the perfect space to spend a dance weekend getting to know a group of like-minded people, with serious tuition by day and partying by night.
Our salsa in Eastbourne weekend began with a traditional but delicious three course dinner, a reasonably priced bottle of house wine followed by an entertaining, high energy introduction to salsa and her related dances. The Friday evening class allowed the teachers to separate us into dance ability groups in preparation for the weekend's course. While beginner and advanced dancers mingled at the bar the teachers worked hard to ensure everyone would get something out of the weekend and return with a new confidence and a new repertoire.
After Friday night's party we awoke late to - what else - a full English which set us up for the day's demanding schedule of salsa classes and workshops. We danced Cuban salsa, Rueda, On1 and dabbled in Kizomba and Bachata and STILL had time to stroll along Eastbourne's Grand Parade and eat giant cake / confectionary concoctions on the pier.
Saturday night's party allowed us to put our newly learned steps into practice and continued until the very unrespectable hour of 4am. With another full English and more classes on Sunday we left feeling stuffed full of salsa, good food and seaside charm.
A UK dance break is so much more than just taking a few dance classes. Because of the intensity you have no option but to embrace the entire weekend and live a whirl of salsa and seaside decadence in some of the UK's favourite resorts. We'll be coming back to Eastbourne (and Bournemouth and Torquay and Blackpool) but after falling in love with the combination of dance, parties and that "holiday feeling" we'll also be venturing further afield to Spain and perhaps even Cuba.