Again, I don't mean to imply the existence of the dance is a fad but the increased popularity. Consider a the American football team, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have been around since 1933. They are regularly featured in the sports section of all the local, and most regional, newspapers. Games are nearly always sold out and even the cheapest of seats sell for a minimum of $60 from the box office. Nearly everyone who lives in Philadelphia is aware of the Eagles and has probably seen a game on TV. Then, in 2008, the Eagles win their divisional playoffs and wind up in the conference championship. Suddenly, the whole city is filled with Eagles fans Everyone knows the players, everyone has plans for game day, everyone has Eagles paraphernalia. Go Eagles! They lose the championship, however. Many of those rabid followers may watch the Superbowl, but hardly with the same enthusiasm. Some will come back to watch the new season, but most will drift away, and within a year or two popularity will be down to pre-division playoff levels. This is a fad. The Eagles, and Eagles culture, existed before the fad and continue to exist afterward. The fad refers purely to the nearly-universal surge in popularity. The fact it is a surge does not negate the team's validity. You can see similar surges in many other areas, and cultural movements, including art, fashion, and yes dance, are particularly susceptible. A fad is measured not by the core adherents of its subject, but by those who jump on the bandwagon. At the height of what I refer to as the salsa fad, salsa was everywhere. Most nightclubs began putting a salsa night into their mix - a still popular form of scheduling but hardly as ubiquitous as it was but a few years ago. Salsa spin-offs were extremely popular, such as salsa-based exercise classes. There were excuses to feature salsa dancers in movies and dance performances. None of these are bad things but they are signs of a mainstream flirtation with salsa and, as the mainstream moves on, they are left behind, all without affecting the long-term viability or integrity of salsa as a dance or culture. I'm interested in examining studio inquiries not as a way of gauging the strength of the salsa community but of measuring mainstream interest. If you pull Joe Bagofdoughnuts and Susie Creamcheese off the street and tell them they need to learn to dance, they'll probably look in the phone book or search Google for dance lessons and end up calling a ballroom studio. Whether they actually take lessons there is irrelevant; they begin their search at such a studio. Most couples rarely progress beyond that initial inquiry, but that initial inquiry will record the interest in salsa, and records of such inquiries can reveal a mainstream interest in a particulra dance. Perhaps I should stop saying "fad" as it implies superficiality. "Trend" might be better. Regardless, this is not intended to be an attack on the salsa community. I believe the salsa community has done a wonderful job making dance accessible and attractive to the popular culture, and though I believe it will end up being a temporary thing, that is because popular culture has an incredibly brief attention span. Those who have come to love the dance will remain behind.