Dancing doesn’t have to mean grinding on a relative stranger in a crowded bar. There are plenty of other opportunities to bust a move around Columbus. There is no such thing as not being able to dance; it’s just a matter of how willing you are to lose your inhibitions. I encourage you to not look at dance as a way to attract a partner or as a skill you have to master, but simply a way to blow off steam, escape and have fun.
Nyoh’s Buckeye Bar
2871 Olentangy River Rd.
Nyoh’s is a great place for line dancing. There’s specific choreography according to the song, so you don’t even have to make up any of your own moves, just follow the people around you. Lessons go from 9 to 11 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and after that it gets pretty serious on the dance floor. The best advice is to just jump in. Others on the dance floor are always happy to help a newcomer out by saying the moves as they go. It’s also fun to watch the experienced line dancers who can do whole routines with a beer in hand or while texting. I’ve never been a country music fan, but that’s all this place plays and it’s definitely made me hate it less.
790 N. High St.
Friday nights are salsa nights in the ballroom above La Fogata Mexican Restaurant. Salsa is a Latin American ballroom dance that requires a partner, but you don’t have to bring one, as partners are rotated throughout the night. Lessons go from 8 to 10 p.m., and dancing goes until 2 a.m. It’s well worth the $10 entry fee to experience something new. Besides, dance that encourages eye contact with a partner is a nice change from the usual bar scene.
Ladies ‘80s Night at Skully’s Music Diner
1151 N. High St.
Being a fan of ‘80s music is a requirement for this experience. Ladies ‘80s technically starts at 9 p.m., but the dancing doesn’t really get going until after 10 p.m. The event definitely caters to a more mature demographic, so there’s no pressure to be cool because it’s mostly middle-aged adults reliving their glory days. But that’s the best thing about it. The combination of extremely loud ‘80s music, flashing lights and tipsy adults somehow makes Ladies ‘80s feel like home. It’s the perfect opportunity to bust out dance moves you’ve gleaned from watching every teen John Hughes ‘80s movie.
775 N. High St.
If you fancy a more traditional dance club, Axis is the place to go. Gay bars have a reputation for being good places to dance, and this one lives up to that reputation. It plays pulsing dance music, and there is plenty of space on the dance floor. What’s nice about Axis is that it’s clean and not sketchy. No matter how you dance, it’d be difficult to stand out here, and the exuberance of the other dancers will push you outside of your box.
Dance Fitness Classes
Don’t underestimate the power of a good dance fitness class. The RPAC and Ohio Union Activities Board offer them weekly. This is a good opportunity to learn moves to translate into your daily life and get in a good workout that’s actually fun. My personal favorite is “Shake It,” which combines a lot of different styles of dance with current popular songs. Bonus: You don’t even have to look presentable!