Are you a studio dancer, afraid to step outside your warm and familiar dance floor into the dimly-lit Latin jungle? Do you lose sleep wondering if dance can be more creative and spontaneous than the syllabus steps you’ve been learning? Fear not! The following comprehensive FAQ is designed to answer all questions about the nightclub scene, both great and small! Let’s start with…
What are Latin nightclub dances?
In the western world, there are 3 main genres: the Latin scene (salsa, bachata, cha cha, merengue, kizomba, etc.), the swing scene (east or west coast, lindy, balboa, blues, etc.) and the Argentine tango practicas or milongas.
Do I need any dance experience before I go?
It certainly helps, especially if you’re a leader. Many clubs begin with a beginner lesson however, so go ahead and dive in if you feel inspired.
How much does it cost?
Clubs usually charge between $5-20 for the night, often including the lesson, and often charging less for women. Keep in mind, if you live in a big city, there might be different types of Latin festivals which, most of the time, are held outside. In that case, admission is usually free.
What are the male/female ratios?
It varies from club to club, but one thing is certain: the stereotype that men don’t dance as much as women often does not apply in the nightclub.
How old is the crowd?
Club-goers tend to be in the 20-50 age range, with the Latin dancers favouring towards the younger and the swing and tango dancers to the older.
What do I wear?
Clothes should be classy, form-fitting and breathe well. Think smart casual or business casual. Shoes can be the same ones you take lessons in, although many people have a second, more beat-up pair for their nights out.
Do I need a partner?
No. Most clubs encourage a social dancing atmosphere, where everyone dances with everyone. In practice, people tend to dance with others at the same or similar ability level. And yes, there’s nothing against dancing only with your date, if that’s what you both want.
How do I ask someone to dance?
Keep it simple, and direct. In my experience, simply walking up to someone, making eye contact, and offering my hand with a ‘wanna dance?’ works most of the time. Everyone gets a no sometimes though – just thank them and ask someone else.
Do a lot of people hook up at Latin dance clubs?
Some people do, just like some people hook-up at bars, concerts, or even book clubs. Most nightclubbers are just out to have fun however – it’s very common to have an intimate dance with a charming partner, say thank you, and not see them again for that evening. Even if you think someone’s ‘got the hots for you’, best to err on the side of caution until you’re more familiar with the club scene.
What if I still want to know more?
Take a few minutes to look up the club online. Check their gallery for clothes people wear. Check their schedule to see the dances they play, and if they offer lessons. Ask friends or check testimonials to hear what others thought about the place. Or just show up one night, grab a drink at the bar, and watch the action from afar to get a sense of the vibe.
Author: Ian Crewe – SocialBallroom.Dance
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review