What Makes for a Great Social Night & Keeps Dancers Coming Back?

At SalsaSpots DANCERS rate venues and dance nights

What do dancers prefer in a social night? What inspires you to loyally return to a dance club? How can an organizer/DJ/night club make theirs one of the best, bringing in the dancers and revenue?

SalsaSpots is launching a new feature that caters directly to the dance world: Reviews!

What does a Yelp, Google, or TripAdvisor review mean to a dancer? AbsaFreakingNothing. We could care less what the taxidermist, the retiree or the Brady Bunch thinks of a restaurant’s toilets or gluten-free options.

We’ve segmented what dancers care about into various categories and you can now rate each of the dance social nights based on these criteria in SalsaSpots!

  • Dance Floor
  • Music
  • Space to Dance
  • Venue
  • Crowd
How to write a review: 
Go to the SalsaSpots Dance Calendar
>> click on an event that you'd like to rate
>> the site will ask you to login or register
>> use the stars and write your review!

We’ll describe what each of these categories mean later on and give B2B tips we’ve heard through the grapevine, but for now: let’s see what dancers in Miami, Broward and West Palm Beach say is important to them in a social dance night.

Surely you know some of these dancers, DJs and instructors!

Mena Soranh (Kizomba instructor)

  1. Classy place
    When Hollywood Live opened seven years ago it was sparkling. They’re remodeling again!
  2. Sensitive DJ
    This doesn’t mean that she wants to see the DJ weeping emotionally during romantic songs. Mena thinks that a DJ “must read the dance floor,” and pick up on what people want to dance. “Not just play the music they like or they think that the dancers will like.”
  3. Socialize!
    Don’t just go to dance, dance, dance, dance. For Mena a social dance night is just that: a moment to enjoy the company of your friends. And dance.
  4. And of course, dance with everyone!
    It’s rather pointless to go to a social night only to dance with one girl or one guy the whole night. In fact, Mena thinks it’s just wrong! “If the instructors go out, make sure to dance with everyone and socialize as well. That’s what’s important for me in a social dance.”
Meme of teary-eyed man: When you're drunk and the DJ plays a romantic song
Sensitive DJ

Hilarious, Actual Whatsapp chat:

Open question in chat group:
>> What’s important to you in a social night?

Taylor
>> Tequila, obviously.

Valentina
>> If there’s enough space to dance. I hate f*ing getting stepped on.

Taylor
>> OMG. Yes, can I change my answer?

Scott MacDonald (Salsa On2 Instructor)

Just one thing matters most to Scott:

MUSIC is what makes the social for me. I could be in a crowded space or in a place with very few people, but if the music is HOT and FRESH, I’m in!

Michelle (dancer with Afincao in Orlando)

  1. Space & dance floor
    Its always the first thing I notice. I hate concrete floors or when water gets spilled all over the dance floor, or it gets sticky with spilled Cuba libres (typical Florida problem). I appreciate the water and beverages, but the dance floor should be clean and drinks shouldn’t be in the dance area. I can survive any social as long as there’s space and a good ass floor!
  2. It’s about ratios
    DJ’s song choice and Bachata-to-Salsa ratio are everything. They gotta understand their crowd.
  3. Love the photographers
    Photographers at socials give everyone something to look forward to and remember.
  4. Seating
    Ample seating to give those feet a rest… and keep dancing.

Danny Hernandez (Broward dancer)

A large number of attendees and a relatively even ratio of men to women. An ample venue. Free is always appreciated [SalsaSpots takes the liberty of emphasizing: always]

Amparito (Miami dancer)

Great variety of music and sound system at a reasonable volume. Dancers that don’t take up the the entire dance floor and bump (crash!) into other dancers.

DJ Harvey (South Florida)

  1. Organized?
    The reputation of the organizer and his/her team.
  2. I’m friendly, are you?
    A place with a friendly and welcoming crowd is where Harvey feels at home.
  3. The venue itself
    If it’s a studio I’d like ample dance space, a good floor and sound. If it’s a restaurant or lounge, I have the same expectations and also appreciate friendly bar and waiting staff.
  4. Cover price
    For DJ Harvey, if the dancers and venue staff are friendly, the cover is the lowest on his list of priorities. So treat him with an open smile – he will light up!

Craig

WYSISYG
When someone advertises a “Latin night” with pictures of congas, and I’m expecting at least 50% Salsa, but instead I get 50% Reggaetón.

“It’s tantamount to training to be a fairly competitive tennis player, showing up to the venue with one’s three or four racquets and six cans of tennis balls, only to find that everyone there is playing… beer pong.” sad face.

Priceless, Craig. We could actually hear the sound of your face plant as you were writing your beer pong comment.

Reggaetón meme: Reggaetón is to music like "beer pong" is to Olympic sports... and yet when you hear it... Jim Carey's smiling perked up face
You know you be like…

Polo Brice (Miami dancer)

Polo is up for anything! “Just a good floor and dancers from different levels. When I get more advanced, the music playlist will definitely matter more.”

Compilation (general dancers)

  1. Mix it up, DJ!
    With so many types of beautiful music out there, you don’t have to stick to one type of music. We like to dance everything! Mix it up!
  2. Free parking
    Enough said.
  3. >$10 cover charge
    Of course, everyone needs to get paid (the instructors, DJ’s, organizer, sometimes the venue asks for a cut), but for this community to go out several times a week, it gets a little pricey between parking, cover, drinks, etc. In the end, if a social night attracts many people at a low cover charge, it’ll still be able to cover their expenses and make money.
  4. More leads
    Ahem. We need more men to show up in classes and socials. Just sayn’
  5. Lights
    Fun lights create an atmosphere, but they can also leave you blind.
  6. Temperature
    One more drop of sweat and someone is going to have a heart attack.
Meme of pilot from Airplane movie sweating profusely at the helm: Dance night with broken A/C "Mayday. Mayday."
What it feels like when the AC is broken at a dance night

Ife (Broward dancer)

Alafia. Peace. No discrimination or cliques. Enough leads to dance with. Take it easy with the lights. Just overall good vibes and to go home with happy, tired feet!

SalsaSpots Reviews

In all of my travels from Egypt to Panama and a good part of Europe, I’ve not seen a review system from dancers for dancers. SalsaSpots is offering a unique opportunity to contribute your thoughts and let other dancers know what to expect. Your reviews also help perfect and bring out the best.

Between our years of dancing, Christian, Andrew and I (Dalia) saw recurring themes and categorized them: music, the physical state of the dance floor, the vibe of the dancers overall, and the venue itself. So as you are writing your reviews, you can consider:

  • Dance Floor: Is it in good condition? Is it large enough? Do your feet get stuck because it is sticky or falling apart?
  • Music: Does the DJ have a good variety of highly danceable music, and do they developed the eye to sense what the crowd is in the mood for?
  • Space to Dance: Do you have enough space to dance without receiving (or giving) a painful death blow? Does the venue calculate accurately the best chairs/tables versus dance space?
  • Venue: Do you feel good there, either because of its friendly staff and/or because of its decor and location?
  • Crowd: We will always come back to this. Dance can be competitive when you’re on a stage wanting to be crowned champion. But on the dance floor of a social night… it’s a social thing. Is the crowd friendly? Can you dance with everyone? Are they considerate? Do you feel happy being among them?

Constructive criticism is welcome, and of course, praise always keeps the community in good spirits.

Compilation of practical, business-side tips:

  • clear expectations with the venue: don’t set their expectations high on making money off of alcohol since dancers cannot drink a ton, so create other ways to make money
  • good agreements with the venues: special light-finger food menus seems to be a hit in some places for dancers who want to keep up their energy, small-serve two for one drinks at decent pricing
  • pick venues that have easy parking
  • good DJs
  • constant promotion through social media
  • pay taxi dancers when necessary and when budgeted
  • play games to get people out of their shell
  • get your loyal followers to click “going” and to announce events on their social media

THANK YOU SINCERELY TO ALL WHO RESPONDED

We love (and share) your passion for dance, for our community, and we’re all happy to be a part of making it grow and be even more fun and more positive.

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