LITTLE FERRY, NJ -- Dee Belfiglio closed her dance studio a few years ago but has continued to teach patrons on Latin dance nights at the Little Ferry bar owned by her husband and brother-in-law.
Four dozen or more dance hopefuls from meetup.com show up at Cabana Grill each Friday to learn salsa, bachata, and merengue for a $10 cover.
"I'm really passionate about dance, so I wanted an entertainment place where people didn't have to have drinks in one place and leave to go dancing in another," said Belfiglio, a 22-year dance veteran.
Dance instructors Maria Foley and Tony Lopez work with eight to ten pairings of dancers, going step-by-step through cross-body leads and Copacabana turns, in a space renovated after Hurricane Sandy.
Customers can enjoy a spot at the bar, dine until midnight with friends, enjoy comedy or live music shows during the week -- even learn ballroom dancing.
"You don't have to have a partner here. You can just show up and get together and dance with someone," Belfiglio said.
"We try to have several dance groups and I'm thinking of hosting a singles group," said Louis Clase, who works the door for the meet-up group, teaches dance and designs flyers for clubs while managing groups.
He and the other instructors who had approached Dee about Latin dance nights have seen more online inquiries about their programs.
"I'm an engineer, so I do this as a hobby - purely for fun," he said.
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