Where: Los Angeles, California
Address: 2500 Riverside Dr. in Silverlake
Reviewer: Rachel Levin
The Place: Rudolpho's
2500 Riverside Dr. in Silverlake
Los Angeles, CA
The Dancing: Salsa and Merengue on Mon., Wed., Sat.
Lessons from 8:15-9:30 p.m.
Friday is Rockabilly Night
Saturday is Gay Night or Drag Queen Night
The Price: $5 on Monday and Wednesday
$10 on Saturday
If you pay for the lesson, you get admission for half price.
Parking is $3
Rudolpho's is one of the best spots in Los Angeles for Salsa. Located near the intersection of the 5 and the 2 freeways in Silverlake, Rudolpho's is truly a crossroads for all different types of people and dancers. Lessons on Monday and Wednesday night are taught by local master teacher Laura Cannelias, who is by some credited as the person who has taught all of L.A. how to Salsa (she also teaches at the Boathouse on Sundays and at the Studio of Performing Arts on Tuesdays and Saturdays).
After lessons end around 9:30 pm, the place gets going with a lively D.J. (there are unfortunately never live bands). There are two dance floors. The main one closest to the D.J. is long and rectangular, with mirrors on the far wall so you can catch a glimpse of yourself as you whiz by with your partner. The other one is a small square near the French doors that lead to the patio. This floor is for practicing or fooling around, or is simply a place to dance where you can feel the cool breeze from outside. If you get really steamy or hungry, you can slip out and grab a seat at one of the plastic chairs and tables on the covered patio, where a moustached man with a gas barbecue sells hot empanadas. There are also plenty of places to sit inside, either at the long bar, on one of the couches, or at one of the small round tables with short velour-topped stools. The dÂ»cor inside is nothing memorable, but little touches give it just the right feel: the fade to black light after the lesson, the multi-colored spotlights on the main floor, the steam machine that goes off at random intervals, and the shiny gold curtains framing the far wall painted with a tropical scene.
The energy of the dancers is really the reason to come. While most patrons are really quite good at Salsa and some are clearly experts, beginners will not feel intimidated. There is no need to come with a partner; people here seem to be open to dancing with anyone. Furthermore, Rudolpho's has a quintessentially "L.A." feel. Located across the street from a gas station, kiddy corner from a greasy spoon restaurant, and down the hill from large homes with terraced yards and views of the San Gabriels, Rudolpho's is truly a spot that captures the borders and intersections of L.A. culture. Like the city, the club attracts a mix of ethnicities including Latino, Asian, African American, Jewish, and white. You will hear Spanish, Portuguese, and English being spoken. However, as I learned when I accidentally went on Gay Night one time, the gay and straight crowds tend not to mix, attending the club on their respective "designated" evenings only.