“In salsa, you can be totally spontaneous. It’s a chance to let go and express whatever the music makes you feel.” —Katia Carranza

Katia Carranza heard salsa music constantly while growing up in Mexico. But it wasn’t until she began dating Luis Serrano, a Cuban dancer who now directs Ballet de Monterrey, that she actually learned to dance salsa. “When Luis and I first started hanging out, we’d go out on dates to salsa clubs,” says Carranza, a principal with Miami City Ballet and Ballet de Monterrey. “I loved the rhythm and how different it was from ballet.”

Now the couple, who have since married, salsa most weekends. “Every party, every get-together, and out at clubs: we salsa,” she says. “Even if we just throw a barbecue at home, by an hour into it everybody’s dancing.”

Carranza says learning salsa has given her ballet technique more musicality and spice. “Salsa helps you feel rhythms of the music all through your body,” she says. “And it helps you find your hips and shoulders. You barely move them in classical ballet, but many choreographers today want you to be able use them.”

She’s also learned from salsa’s approach to partnering. “In salsa, you have to let the guy move you and lead you. In a ballet pas de deux, it’s the same thing—it’s very important that the girl wait for her partner to guide her. As ballet dancers we want to be in control all the time, but we have to learn to trust our partners completely.”

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Darian Volkova, Courtesy Shayer

After years of rigorous training, ballet dancers become accustomed to constructive and oftentimes harsh criticism. Being scrutinized is something that comes with the territory.

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News
Greta Hodgkinson and Guillaume Côté in Margeurite and Armand. Karolina Kuras, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

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Training
Students at Sun King Dance's Adult Ballet Camp. Jenny McQueen of Capture Photography, Courtesy Sun King Dance.

For adult recreational dancers, summer isn't just a time for swapping out warm-up sweaters for breezy tees—it's also about taking your training to the next level, and perhaps packing your bags for a ballet workshop. Why should teens and pre-professionals have all of the fun? Fortunately, there are scores of adult summer programs all over the United States, and even abroad for those of you looking to sprinkle in a little sightseeing after your final reverénce. (Can't wait for summer? Check out these spring workshops at National Ballet of Canada and Sarasota Ballet.)

What can adults expect from a weekend or a week of dance training? Everything from technique to repertoire to yoga. Most of all, it's a chance to just dig in and dance, without a pesky to-do list waiting for you after class. Here are some summer programs designed for adult recreational dancers to keep on your radar.

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