Holy City Salsa, Charleston's only designated Latin dance studio, celebrates its grand opening this weekend at its location in West Ashley. Opened a few months ago by local dancer Georgia Schrubbe, the studio has been quietly holding classes and Sunday night socials. Now Schrubbe is ready to unveil the space, a dance studio located in an unassuming strip mall — and home of Mayor Tecklenburg's former campaign office, at 1954 Ashley River Road.
"I want to bring it more to the forefront," says Schrubbe of Latin dancing in Charleston. "People don't realize it's an option."
Schrubbe started dancing ballet as a kid, a foray that started when she saw a professional ballet performance ... and subsequently peed her pants. "I was kinda hooked after that," she laughs.
After years of ballet, Schrubbe became a Zumba teacher while studying at CofC. The music she danced to in Zumba classes has connections to Salsa, which Schrubbe quickly picked up. "Salsa dancing felt natural," she says. "Ballet is not natural."
Schrubbe took her newfound passion one step further when she traveled to Cuba to study in college, hoping to hit up as many nightclubs and Salsa-centric spots as she could. Back in the Lowcountry, Schrubbe taught Salsa classes at various studios, and hosted her first big event, Strings and Salsa at Striped Pig Distillery, in 2014.
"I thought I could do this professionally," she says. So she created Baila ConmiG.A., a Latin dance service, which eventually became part and parcel of Holy City Salsa, the current studio.
"I was being a gypsy, and I wanted to create a community," says Schrubbe. She says that most people who take her classes are young professionals in their 30s and 40s, noting that people in caretaking professions, like teachers and nurses, flock to her classes. "It's a chance to do something for themselves," she says.
"A lot of respect and self-expression is taught through dancing," says Schrubbe. And while Schrubbe clearly has a soft spot for Salsa, she is open to hosting all kinds of dance at her studio. She hopes that the space, and HCS in general, will become a hub of international culture, featuring dance and other arts.
Learn all about Holy City Salsa, and get your dance on, this Sun. Sept. 4 from 7:30-11 p.m. There will be a free lesson at 7:30 p.m. and dancing from 8-11 p.m. The event is $10 per person and BYOB. Check the Facebook page
for a full list of free classes and more during the grand opening week.