Just learned Salsa

Had a salsa workshop today, first time I ever did it. It's lots of fun, and I'm heading out to a club in a while to dance some more, even though my feet are already starting to get sore. Do they usually let you bring your own water bottle? I'm a little worried that all they'll play is fast songs, and I won't be able to dance to any of them. Do most clubs play slower ones as well? Anyways, wish me luck.
:D Good luck...!
I am sure you won't need it though. Most clubs play a variety of salsa songs with different tempos. (besides, unless it's super fast, the faster songs are easier to dance for the newbies.....my opinion anyway)

Water bottles-----I usually sneak mine in! -------sssshhhhhhh.....!
Well, I'm home. It was a blast. I'm hooked. They have free lessons on wednesday nights. I'll be a regular. Hopefully that way I'll know a few people there too. Starting wednesday after next I'll take lessons. (next is last day of classes, and lots of parties) Water is only 2.50 there, so not too bad, and drinks aren't too bad either.

I just learned salsa for the first time at a workshop earlier today, and the instructors were there. They put on an impressive show, made me feel kinda silly dancing with her immediately afterwards, but it was still fun :D


Well-Known Member
Welcome to the salsahollics club devin!! :)

I always bring in my bottle of water, even when you're not supposed to. That's what the dance bag is there for!! If I bought drinks/water whenever I went dancing I would be broke pretty soon.

As salsachinita said songs with a variety of tempos are played. So there should be at least one or two slower ones that you can danec too. Also, you should get additional dance opportunities if you know some of the other latin dances -- merengue, bachata, cha cha...as usually some of these are also played during the night.
Well, the club I went to played a variety of salsas. But they only played salsas and merengues. No Rumbas or cha chas or sambas. I was dissappointed with that. Ah well, salsasing and merengueing was fun.


Staff member
Very, very few salsa clubs that I've ever been to play rumbas and I've never heard a samba.... For that type of mix you need to find a "Latin" night, not a salsa night. Also remember that some of us hard core salseros prefer nothing but salsa when we go out salsa dancing...

Glad to hear that you enjoyed it anyway! :D


Staff member
No, we have this going in some other thread too (can't recall which at the moment and I'm running to lecture as soon as I finish this post), but one of a salseros/salseras biggest pet peeves is latin nights billed as Salsa nights. We show up, ready to get our groove on, and end up listening to a lot of stuff that just doesn't even come close to moving us in the same way...
Definitely do not expect the ballroom mix of Latin dances at a Latin club. My x-girlfriend, with more of a ballroom than salsa background, used to say she wished they would dance some rumba, meaning ballroom rumba, at these Latin clubs. They don't do it because that kind of rumba exists almost solely in the ballroom world. It is not a Latin club dance. And the other type of rumba is folkloric and isn't going to be done in Latin clubs, normally. Ballroom rumba is not part of Latino culture. (There may be exceptions I don't know about, but this is what I have seen and heard.) The relationship between ballroom Latin and street/club Latin is tenuous at times. Ballroom Latin is not a good source of information of Latino cultural practices. It is its own thing (though not completely unrelated, of course).

Remember that samba is Brazilian. Salsa, cha cha cha, merengue, bachata are all Afro-Anitllan (i.e., from Cuba, Puerto Rico, or the Domincan Republic). These countries have a fairly close historical connection, and they all speak Spanish. Brazil is not all that close, geographically, has developed a very distinctive musical tradition of its own, and speaks Portugese. If you are in an area that has a substantial Latino population that is, say, mostly Puerto Rican, it's not going to have a whole lot of interest in hearing sambas at a Latin night. Additionally, I don't think people would be generally be dancing ballroom samba in a club, and possibly the samba music that would be played wouldn't even be appropriate for it. Even if you are not in an area where there is not much of a Latino population, salsa and cha cha cha are closely related, so it makes sense to have them together. (But cha cha cha is not very popular at this point. On a good night, at the clubs I got to, I might hear three at the most. I find you have a better chance of hearing one if there is a live band playing, or at least that's true near me.) Merengue and bachata have become popular with populations who have traditionally listened to a lot of salsa, so they've kind of been linked to salsa, even if they are very different musically.

"Latin Night" will mean different things at different times. You might want to call in advance. I went to one "Latin Night" this past year during which about four salsa songs were played, early in the evening. After that it was merengue (and not much of that even), reggaeton, Latin house, and some things I couldn't identify.

(Sorry to be so didactic here, but I sometimes get frustrated with partners I know who have been dancing for a few years and yet remain clueless about the most basic facts of the cultural context for this music and dance.)

To people who sneak water bottles into clubs: maybe you are genuinely so broke that you need to do this, but I think it's a good idea to financially support clubs that hold Latin nights, by buying some drinks (even if that's only water--which it usually is for me). They do not make most of their profit from cover charges.
Incidentally, I don't want to imply that ballroom rumba and ballroom samba are purely inventions of ballroom dancers. It's more complicated than that, but I don't know the details.

Also, when I say that salsa is Afro-Antillan, I mean that it's foundation is Cuban, and to a lesser extent, Puerto Rican. It might be as accurate to say that salsa is from New York. And I don't mean to dismiss the many excellent musicians and soneros to come out of South America, but still, salsa is a form they have adapted, not one that they originally had much part in creating.

And these things are always more complicated than they seem at first. Bachata is a Dominican form, except it is partly derived from Cuban bolero son, or so I've read.


New Member
I think you raise several excellent points, HothouseSalsero, and it's a useful info for beginners to know not only from a general educational standpoint... but also in terms of such practical implications as knowing what they want and choosing instruction accordingly (the whole street/club dance vs. ballroom option, or if smb is interested in both, they should KNOW it too!!!)

I am with you regarding water bottles: unless a club charges a serious cover fee or sells water bottles at a completely unreasonable price, one has to remember that they are not only have to pay DJ, bartender and sometimes an instructor (who gives a complementary lesson) but also make some profit to stay open...


Staff member
The typical arangement that I am familar with is that the promoter get's the door (from which DJ, instructor, etc.) are paid and that the club takes the bar. What this meas is that if the club is not doing enough business at the bar it will eventually close down, no matter how popular it is with the dancers or how well the promoter is doing.

As an aside, however, short sighted business practices hurt a lot of the bars too... overcharging for water is one such item. If a bottle of water is $4, I very well may not buy one while, if it is only $2, I may get two!


Staff member
vey said:
Thanks for pointing it out, SDsalsaguy. I was not aware of the role of the promoter....
This does, of course, vary by situation. Sometimes the club promotes its own salsa events, so they make both door and bar. The same general concept is at work though... DJ, band, instructor, promotional materials (flyers, ads, etc.), etc., will be paid out of what's taken in at the door. If the bar tab is lower than what could be expected with a different type of event/group of patrons, than often that change is made. Perhaps if the door is making serious bank and the club is running its own event they won't mind diminished bar tabs. Or, alternatively, if a promoter shares the door with the bar than that's also fine... the club doesn't really care where the money comes from after all, now do they? :wink:

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