I've lived in Flagstaff, AZ, since 2003, where I'm an active member of the Coconino County Sheriff's Search & Rescue team and an avid hiker.
Tango, Two-Step, Swing, Salsa, Samba and So On, All Over Town
Flagstaff may be a small city, but there's so much to do here. Something for everyone, really. And if you like to dance or want to learn, there are plenty of opportunities and in all sorts of styles, from ballroom to Latin styles to country dancing and more, and some of those lessons and events are free.
Here's what's happening in the social dance scene around Flagstaff. You'll see....
- Dancing on the Square
- Salsa Rueda at the Mad Italian
- Country Dancing at the Museum Club
- Swing Dancing at the Galaxy Diner
- Contra Dancing at NAU
- Dance Parties at the Green Room
But First ... Do You Like to Dance? - A Visitor Poll
Social Dancing is...
...simply dancing as part of a social occasion.
Dancing on the Square in Downtown Flagstaff
Wednesday nights through the summer -- free lessons and social dancing at Heritage Square
Photo taken at "Dancing on the Square" as the lesson was just starting
Beginning at 7pm on Wednesday evenings, from June through August, members of the Flagstaff Unified Dancers give free lessons in all sorts of styles -- salsa, swing, tango, cha cha, lambata, etc. -- at Heritage Square in the heart of downtown. You don't need a partner, because we form a circle and change from partner to partner during the lesson. If you do have a special partner, though, and prefer to dance just with that person, you're free to do so.
After the free lesson, the music continues till 10pm for dancing with whoever you'd like or even on your own. There are no rules in that department! Or you can just sit and watch and tap your feet.
Watch a Little Dancing on the Square - Part of the Lambata lesson...
As it got dark on June 8th and the social dancing began, Heritage Square filled with people. Musical and dance styles ranged from Latin to swing to waltz.
Salsa Rueda on the Roof of the Mad Italian in Southside, Flagstaff
Located on the south side of the railroad tracks on San Francisco Street, south of Old Route 66, you'll find the Mad Italian bar and club, which hosts dancing on the rooftop every Friday night starting at 6:30pm. There's a free salsa reuda lesson and then the dancing continues from there.
What is Salsa Rueda?
"During the late 1950s in Cuba, there was a popular dance that was done in the streets and in the clubs and in peoples' homes. It was called Rueda de Casino, or simply Rueda. Rueda ... means "wheel." Casino nowadays refers to the kinds of turns and breaks you might normally see in ordinary partner salsa dancing. ... What makes Rueda unique is that the dancing is done in the "rueda," as a group, with the "followers" being passed in the Rueda, rapid exchange of partners, and many complicated moves -- sometimes done as Ruedas within Ruedas -- and all done in time with Salsa music."
This is Salsa Rueda
Line Dancing and Country Dance Lessons at the Historic Museum Club
Located on Old Route 66 in East Flagstaff
On Thursday nights beginning at 6pm is a country line-dance lesson, followed by a one-hour pairs dance lesson at 7pm. As with other social dancing opportunities in Flagstaff, you don't need to come with a partner.
The dances, both line and pairs, change each month, but each lesson will start at the beginning, so you don't have to have come to the first lesson of the month. Jump in at any time. The first lesson is free. Then, if you want to return for more, you pay just a few dollars each time, or get a discount and pay for the whole year's worth of lessons for $20. You can do the line dancing, the pairs dancing, or both.
After the dance lessons each Thursday, there's open dancing and karaoke for the rest of the night. No cover charge.
Visit the Museum Club website. (The Museum Club is also locally known as "the Zoo.")
Saturday Evening Swing Dancing at Galaxy Diner
From 7-8pm on Saturday nights, join the Flagstaff Unified Dancers for a free swing lesson at the Galaxy Diner at 931 W. Rt. 66.
The lesson and dancing takes place in the waiting area of this 1950s-style diner but sometimes spills over into the aisle.
Watch Swing Dancing at Galaxy Diner - Go Paul! (I know that guy.)
Contra Dancing at Northern Arizona University
Hosted by Flagstaff Friends of Traditional Music (FFOTM) on the first Saturday of the month, there's contra dancing to live music at Ashurst Auditorium on the NA U campus. Instruction for the basic contra dance moves is given at 7:30pm, followed by dancing till 10:30. There's a suggested donation of $6.00 for all students and FFOTM Members, and $9.00 for non-members.
For more information about contra dancing at NAU and other venues around the state, visit the FFOTM website.
See Some Contra Dancing at Ashurst Hall
It's similar to square dancing but done in long lines, with each couple facing another.
Two-Step Tuesdays and 80s Dance Parties at the Green Room
Flagstaff's Green Room, located downtown at 15 N. Agassiz St, features all-request Two Step Tuesdays wit The Museum Club's DJ TY. There's no cover charge.
Every Wednesday is Ladies 80s Dance Party night with 25-cent drink specials.
For more information and a calendar of events, visit Flagstaff Green Room.
See a little of Ladies' 80s Dance Night at the Green Room....
Mark Your Calendar!
Visit the Flagstaff Unified Dancers Google Group to view the monthly Dance Calendars.
© 2011 Deb Kingsbury
Do You Wanna Dance? Come to Flagstaff! Comments welcome....
Salsa Dancing on January 24, 2013:
Sounds like Arizona has quite the scene! I'll have to check out some spots the next time I'm down there.
anonymous on November 02, 2012:
My husband and I live in chandler a suburb of south Phoenix and we love visiting flagstaff. We have had some of the best food ever up there and the scenery is beautiful. We took a drive out to meteor crater and that area is awesome. I wish Intel was in Flagstaff so my husband could work up there ;-)
anonymous on September 04, 2012:
They swing at an Italian restaurant on Tuesday night. I just don't know which one! Someone want to help me out with that?
jeffster on August 13, 2012:
Looks like great fun and dancing is a wonderful way to meet new people. Thanks for the lens.
mjtaylor lm on April 04, 2012:
I love contra dancing, and I wish I had known what it was when I was visiting Flagstaff. I did get to two step at the Museum a few times; wow what a place! Everyone should see the Zoo! By the way, that video you have where you say 'contra dancing is like square dancing' ... that's actually a square dance. Square dances are done in circles - weird, I know, .. and contra is done in long lines of couple, each pair facing another couple. The second video on this page , http://www.ffotm.net/contra/#videos, is from the same event, but is a contra dance. FWIW.
Saralyn LM on March 19, 2012:
Really nice and complete lens!
pierre-rambear on February 15, 2012:
Good Job Ramkitten... I really enjoyed your lens! I ballroom dance every tuesday night with my wife of 10 years. I love dancing and my two girls are into tap dancing which we enjoy watching them do.
Dancing Cowgirl Design from Texas on February 09, 2012:
Sure, I always want to dance!. Sounds like there's plenty going on there for dancers.
Lorelei Cohen from Canada on November 23, 2011:
Flagstaff looks like such a fun place to live. I love to dance and if dancing is a part of the Flagstaff lifestyle then I am looking forward to visiting there someday.
Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on June 16, 2011:
Enjoyed the dancing! Great lens!
ChrisDay LM on June 11, 2011:
puerdycat lm on June 11, 2011:
Isn't this one of the best secrets of western cities! Love to dance, love Flagstaff!
Mary Beth Granger from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA on June 11, 2011:
Looks like a great time...blessed.
NC Shepherd on June 11, 2011:
OMG! I am so moving to Flagstaff!! I've done some line dancing, square dancing, and swing...and I love it! I just wish I had a dancing partner. And a place in town where there is dancing.
Deb Kingsbury (author) from Flagstaff, Arizona on June 11, 2011:
@anonymous: I do! As often as I can. Thank you, Tipi.
anonymous on June 11, 2011:
@OhMe: I do love to dance, but since I joined Squidoo I don't find the time to go to a dance. Although, I do dance at home, because its great exercise. Flagstaff does seem like it would have lots of fun events for everyone. ~ I hope you dance, Deb.
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on June 11, 2011:
What fun! It sure sounds and looks like some great dancing going on in Flagstaff