Salsa dancing
DVDs by category
Practise 'Solo' at Home
"On the line" Salsa & Mambo, On1 & On2
Cuban Salsa
Styling inspiration from amazing dancers
Turn Patterns
Timing & Rhythm
Bachata & Merengue
Cha Cha Cha
All Products
From Salsa to Mambo via Cha Cha Cha
Timing Products
Timing Exercises Vol 4
Timing Exercises Vol 3
Timing Exercises Vol 1&2
Salsa Timing DVD
Salsa Timing CD
Salsa with the Stars
Advanced Salsa Figures
Cuban for "Non Cubanos"
Salsa Personal Training
Bachata Caribbean Style
Feelin' Merengue
Tools for Students
Timing Lesson
Salsa Dictionary
Salsa Footwork
Salsa Articles
About Salsa
About Merengue
Salsa Video Scripts
Salsa Music Reviews
Salsa DVD Reviews

Us on Youtube: Salsa and Mambo, Bachata, Merengue

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Us

© 2002-2012SalsaIsGood
All Rights Reserved.

Salsa Articles

How to choose a salsa club

easy.. just do the maths

Most cities in the world have more than one salsa club. This means that most salsa dancers in the world have, routinely, to choose which club to frequent.

How to convince a dancer to go to a specific club is what marketing and promotion are about. But understanding how the process used by dancers to choose a club affects the enjoyment of other dancers and the success of the club is surprisingly more complicated. Indeed the way you decide where to go dancing on a weekly basis may have the most bizarre and unexpected consequences. Read on to find out more..

It happens that in the last few years physicists and mathematicians suddenly became very interested in this problem. No, no… I do not mean that the nerds are interested in salsa, or salsa clubs. I mean that there is an amazing similarity between the way you choose where to unleash your salsa passion and the way more ’important’ things, like the stock market, work. What does salsa have to do with the stock market??? Read on..

It so happens that I am one of those nerds (and a salsa fanatic too) and I ended up spending some time (not much) on this problem, and recognized immediately the patterns which I see in the places where I do spend much more time (the salsa clubs!).

To get to the point, let me stereotype things a little; let’s divide salsa dancers into 3 groups. The social freaks, the snobby elitists, and the enlightened ones.

The ‘social freaks’. Let’s call social freaks those people who dance mainly in order to socialize. They want to meet people, to see and to be seen. For them a crowded club is the definition of fun. The more crowded, the better. Now, let’s suppose the salsa community in your town is made up mostly of social freaks. What would happen to the salsa clubs? Most likely, one (or a handful of them) will be packed full, and others completely empty. Suppose you have 2 clubs in town, Salsa Caliente and Salsa Fria. They both just opened. You want to go out and are unsure where to go. So you call a few friends; they ‘heard’ that Salsa Caliente will be good tonight. You go there. Most people are there. You have fun, you decide you will go there again. Your friend Jimmy had decided to go to Salsa Fria. Not many people there. He gets bored. Next week, he will check out Salsa Caliente. The following week comes and all the people from Salsa Caliente will be there again, plus Jimmy. More people, more fun. It is easy to see that soon Salsa Caliente will be packed, Salsa Fria empty. The interesting part is that the initial difference between Salsa Caliente and Salsa Fria is irrelevant.. the clubs may very well be both good, and both play good music and both offer a nice environment.. but a tiny (maybe random) difference at the beginning, results in a huge difference at the end. Some people call this chaos. And to change the tide between the clubs, a major upheaval (= money!! ) is now needed.

What shall we learn from this? If you are a dancer, be well connected. Network with the ‘people in the know’, learn where the crowd probably goes and follow it. If you are a club promoter, generate the expectation for a big night. The expectation itself will make it happen. In this scenario, expectations become self-fulfilling. More important, get the ‘influential’ people on your side, they can achieve more than costly fliers and marketing.. word of mouth travels through friends’ networks faster than anything else. Remember, expectations become self-fulfilling, so make those expectations travel through the network.

So far, no big surprises, surely you have seen this happening already and promoters know this already. Easy.

The ‘snobby elitists’. Let’s call snobby elitists those dancers whose only reason to dance is the technical side of salsa. All that matters to them is to have a club with a handful of good dancers and plenty of space to try out the most bizarre and unnatural moves. Floor etiquette is annoying.. less people around, less dance etiquette to worry about. Now, let’s suppose the salsa community in your town is made up mostly of snobby elitists. What would happen to the salsa clubs?

Now things are more complicated. Suppose you want to find a fairly poorly attended club. You try Salsa Caliente, you find a handful of good dancers, you have plenty of space and you enjoy yourself. Next week you will go again. Jimmy and his friends go to Salsa Fria. It is too packed. They do not enjoy it and they decide to try Salsa Caliente next time. The week after, at Salsa Caliente you find your friends from the previous week, plus Jimmy and his friends. Suddenly, the club is too packed and all of you get frustrated. You all change club the week after. Suddenly Salsa Fria is packed and you all, yet again, get frustrated. There is no way out. You try to be smart. You ask your friends where they plan to go and go to the other club. It works for a while, but then everyone works out the trick and that’s it.. it does not work anymore, since they all do the same. Unlike before, in this scenario, expectations are self-defeating. Every good plan gets adopted by others and as a result the plan will lead to a crowded club. The result is that the attendance of the clubs will vary in an almost random manner. Random enough to make trying to guess worthless. This is actually where the relation between salsa and the stock market lies.

What shall we learn from this? If you are a dancer, don’t even try to make sense of fellow dancers’ behavior and don’t waste time trying to ponder deeply on what club to choose. Picking one by throwing a coin will achieve the same, with less headaches. If you are a promoter… well, no promoter in his sane mind would ever wish to run a club for snobby elitists, so no need to worry..

The “enlightened ones”. Let’s call enlightened dancers the ones who have reached the salsa nirvana. They have seen it all already. They have been around enough to know what social dancing is about. No huge crowds, no fancy, impressive moves. They wish to have a relaxed social environment, meet good friends, have a nice dance, with no obsession for floor quality and space. A reasonably well attended club, with enough dancers and space to enjoy a few dances, is what they are after. Now, let’s suppose the salsa community in your town is made up mostly of ‘enlightened ones’. What would happen to the salsa clubs?

This is a really hard one to answer, but curiously, it is the only one for which there is a recipe. Though the recipe is not trivial. The details of the recipe are written here, and it’s not the easiest dish to digest. But it is reassuring that, in principle, the enlightened ones could learn to spread evenly among salsa clubs, so that all clubs reach a comfortable attendance. It is also reassuring that they could achieve this, in principle, by simple book-keeping, pen and paper and primary school maths. But they would all (or at least most of all) stick to it.

What shall we learn from this? All you would need to do is to keep track of how many dancers attended the club you chose. All the promoters would need to do is to provide that information.. the rest is here.

I know, I know.. reality is more complicated. Which is why I am a nerd and I like to play with this. No city is made up only of social freaks, snobby elitists or enlightened ones. People may have different reasons for choosing clubs… I know it all.. Still it is fascinating how certain patterns actually occur, and you surely will be able to notice them, if you pay attention. We have all seen nice clubs never bloom it, for no apparent reason. We have all seen our favorite club packed one night and empty the week after, again with no apparent reason.. Surely, we haven’t yet seen dancers writing down club attendances and doing some maths in order to decide where to go dancing next.. but who knows.. maybe one day. In the meantime, I will keep working on it, dancing, and enjoying my enlightened state...

Ordering & Shipping Information Translated pages Contact Us