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Kristy Holland
Kristy Holland

T here’s shimmying, shaking, bouncing, side-stepping, sexy music and even sexier skin-tight clothing. I’m not talking about the video isle at Fascinations — though you might consider taking a date there at some point — I’m talking about salsa dancing.

Setting sultry moves to Latin beats is an awesome way to leave an impression on your love interest that’ll last the entire steamy-hot summer. You can also use the dance-as-stress-buster angle to convince a reluctant gal that a salsa escape is just what she needs to recharge before her last final.

Boulder’s small-town Latin-dance scene is intimate, so if it’s your first time out, it’s unlikely you or your gal will get split-up by regulars or separated on the dance floor. You’ll be squeezed together and surrounded by sexy beats and sweaty bodies — the perfect setting to tell your lady you’ll stay hot for her as summer sets in.

For a casual atmosphere, suggest a date to the Avalon Ballroom ($8; 6185 Arapahoe Road; Thursday nights the bingo-hall-like room hosts an hour of social lessons for dancers of every level starting at 7:30 p.m. An hour later, the wide-open room turns into a den of low-light Latin flavor complete with a flashing disco ball.

Make an evening of it by grabbing a margarita at Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant (1630 63rd St.; en route to the east-Boulder ballroom. The Avalon’s music ends abruptly at 10 p.m. so if you get hung up with the cocktail and end up skipping the lesson, make an effort to arrive by 8:45 p.m. so you still get a plenty-long sweat session wrapped up in your date’s arms.

For a clubbier salsa experience, Friday night is the time to shake and shimmy your Spanish-inspired booty into her dreams. By 10:30 p.m. the tiny wooden dance floor at Trattoria on Pearl ($5; 1430 Pearl St.;; + 21) is pulsing with bass beats and hot bodies to a mix of salsa classics, occasional cha-cha hits and a super-sexy hip-hopping music style called bachata. Boulder’s smoothest instructor, a stylin’ twenty-something named Lucas, teaches a basic salsa class before the dance floor gets too crazy. But, if at any point the steamy room gets to be too much, grab your lady and cool down with a walk on the Mall, which is right out of the door.

If dancing’s your main agenda — versus the quirky Avalon Ballroom or the easy-access Pearl Street spot — check out the best dancing in the Front Range at Arvada’s D Note ($8; 7519 Grandview Ave., Arvada; on Sundays. There’s an all-level group lesson at 8 p.m., but the dancing heats up between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., when the crowded stage full of musicians — and the floor full of sweaty dancers — hit a groove. The old-town venue is 20-minute drive from Boulder, but it’s also close to Denver, so the live band attracts the area’s best dancers. Including you, right?

Kristy Holland writes about dating once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date-night ideas at