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Dancing at the Bars

From inner city kids to D-list celebrities, everybody's donning their dancing shoes this summer. To do the conga with confidence, look no further than your local watering hole for a quick lesson.

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Bhangra beginners at S.O.B.'s  

Bhangra
A mix of traditional Indian drumming with western instrumentation, Bhangra is as close as you'll probably get to appearing in a Bollywood flick. By now, everyone knows about S.O.B.'s long-running, monthly Basement Bhangra party with DJ Rekha, but if you get there by 9 p.m., you can also catch a free dance lesson. If you get there even earlier (between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.), you can unwind with free frozen mojitos, too.
• 200 Varick St., at W. Houston St., 212-243-4940; first Thursday of every month, first and third Thursday of every summer month. $5-16.


Salsa
There are a handful of Latin clubs in the city, but few are as friendly to salsa newbies as the west Chelsea club El Flamingo. Monday night's Simply Salsa starts with a free lesson at 7 p.m. and an open bar until 7:30 p.m. (Both are covered by the cost of admission.) Later in the evening, head upstairs to the balcony overlooking the huge dance floor and watch the pros.
• 547 W. 21st St., between Tenth and Eleventh Aves., 212-243-2121. $5-15.


Merengue
This Dominican dance involves heavy partnerwork: Purists say couples should never let go of each other's hands. At Lava Gina, a sexy club with red lighting and a V-shaped bar, the seductive dance is taught at 7:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month; an instructor explains the signature sliding steps to a stylish East Village crowd, while the live Latin band provides inspiration.
• 116 Ave. C, between 7th and 8th Sts., 212-477-9319. $10.

Swing
Like those once-ubiquitous Gap khaki ads of the late nineties, swing dancing has all but disappeared in city clubs. But hardcore enthusiasts still jump, jive and wail at Swing 46, New York's last all-swing dance club. If you want to join their ranks, a lesson taught by professionals kicks off nightly some time between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Nervous about doing the lindyhop? Half-priced drinks between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. should loosen you up. And the live big band should seal the deal.
• 349 W. 46th St., between Eighth and Ninth Aves., 212-262-9554. $10, $12 weekends.

Tango
This melodramatic Argentinian dance is hot to watch, but hard to fake. Luckily, Lillie's in Red Hook offers free lessons on Fridays along with its live tango band. Like any other night at this neighborhood bar, the scene is informal and relaxed. Novices form a circle at 8:30 p.m. to learn the basics then eventually partner up. The lesson is free but thankful students show their appreciation to instructor Alfonso by feeding the tip jar.
• 46 Beard St., at Dwight St., Red Hook, Brooklyn, 718-858-9822. Free.

Want to be ahead of the latest craze instead of following it?
Do the forró! A traditional Brazilian dance that's becoming an underground movement, forró is to Latin dance what krumping is to hip-hop. This energetic couples dance has a weekly Sunday residence at S.O.B.'s, with a free lesson at 9 p.m.


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