How many times have you said to yourself, “One of these days, I’m gonna learn to dance salsa,” or samba, or meringue, or hip-hop, or any number of dance styles … but you put it off, instead coming up with some – any – excuse, like that you don’t have enough time or money.

Ya basta! Toss all of your excuses to the side. A Taste of Dance arrives again this year at the Music Center Plaza and demands that you proceed to the dance floor.

The event sets up shop throughout the plaza, including between the Mark Taper Forum and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the sprawling courtyard around the fountain. Some five or six dance floors are installed, and classes are provided at the ridiculously low price of $1 per 20-minute interval.

You might ask, how can such a thing happen? It’s all made possible by the Music Center. So indulge … put aside all the well-worn excuses and get your tickets to groove.

Here’s how it works: The ticket counter opens at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, and you can buy a ticket in the form of sticker (Why not call it a “sticket?”) for the class you want to take and the time. Classes generally last about 20 minutes and begin anew every half hour, beginning at 11:30 a.m. and continuing until 3:30 p.m.

At 11 a.m. a free half-hour warm-up is offered, and at 3:30 p.m. take advantage of the 45-minute closing dance, Bollywood Blast, which is also free. The individual classes are limited, which is a good thing because it can get crowded. In recent years the secret has leaked out, and now classes tend to fill up. It is definitely a good idea to arrive early.

The best thing about A Taste of Dance is the warm, friendly vibe that pervades the atmosphere. It is simply impossible to be in a bad mood after spending a little time among the spirited booty shakers who migrate to this event twice a year.

People of all ages, from grannies to grandkids, fill the ranks of enthusiastic dancers. It is always surprising to observe the dancing ability of folks you might never imagine could get down.

In the past, the dance forms have been as varied as the Charleston to krumping to Country Western, but this year a theme is presented: fitness. All the dance forms are geared to getting your sweat on.

The morning session – from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – consists of Cardio Samba, Jazzercise, Hip Hop Aerobics, Hula Workout and the latest craze, Zumba. The afternoon session – from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. – includes Bellydance Burn, Salsa Workout, Pure Barre, Step Dance Aerobics and (I can only imagine) Cardio Ballroom.

The day concludes with a group class involving any and all dancers present called Bollywood Blast.

What is guaranteed is that the entire event itself will be a blast. How could it not be? You have sun, music and hundreds of beautiful people getting down and feeling good.

No experience is necessary but dress in comfortable clothes/shoes. Also, some classes may be danced barefoot. And it’s cash only, so have your dollar bills handy.



Music Center Plaza is located at 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, visit musiccenter.org.