Whether they are private, like The Salsa Club’s members-only socials at its studio, or open to the public like Sabor!, the monthly socials hosted at The Village, salsa parties are an excellent way to practice ones steps and patterns, dance to some good music, and, if one is interested, meet new people.
Attending socials becomes the norm for many dancers, but going to the first one can be intimidating for those who are starting out on their dancing journey. Overcoming shyness and attending socials is important because it is where dancers learn how to move to various rhythms, and discover their own unique way dancing. There is no minimum number of steps one needs to know in order to go dancing—one is enough, and the sooner one takes that step to the social dance floor, the better.
While “Licensed To Dance” outlined the general tenets of dance etiquette, this piece focuses on another important aspect of social dancing: dress codes.
The most important thing to remember when dressing for a night of social dancing is that one will be engaging in a physical and aerobic activity. Regardless of timezone or continent, the general advice for any dancer remains the same: be yourself and wear something that makes you feel great.
When choosing an outfit, the following tips might be useful:
- Read the invitation. While most salsa parties do not have dress codes, some might. It is always important to check if there is a theme; some events might be more glamorous than others.
- Movement is key. Free range of motion with one’s arms and legs is needed. Materials that does not stretch will impede certain movements.
- Don’t sweat it. Clothes with darker colours are better suited for concealing sweat marks. Quick-drying materials such as cotton or other natural fibres are usually best for dancers. It is normal to bring shirt changes if one sweats excessively.
- Keep it simple. Dresses, skirts, shorts, shirts and blouses, jeans, and leggings—women can wear anything provided that it is not too tight (remember: movement is key) or loose; generally, anything that needs to be constantly pulled up or pulled down is not recommended.
- Best foot forward. It is recommended to choose a shoe with a smooth sole; this makes it ideal for spins and turns on the dance floor. Shoes should be comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Testing shoes at home or in class is recommended prior to wearing them at a salsa social. For salseras: high heels might complement an outfit but they can be painful to dance in since they restrict foot and ankle movement; flats often suffice—whether open or closed, all shoes should not slip off when dancing.
- Keep it simpler. Formal trousers or jeans and dress or golf shirts are all gentlemen ever need. A hat can be worn, of course, but they add to the heat factor. Shorts are generally not worn to salsa parties.
- Less is more. Expensive jewellery should not be worn since it can be easily lost mid-dance. Other dangling accessories like hoop earrings, chains, or medallions, should also be avoided since they can lead to entanglement. Watches, too, especially if they are bulky or loose might accidentally scratch one’s partner.
- The whole world isn’t a salsa club. Depending on the season, a jacket or coat might be recommended so one does not get cold before or after a party.
Once an appropriate outfit has been chosen, all that remains is to leave the house and make one’s way to the nearest social. Tony Velardi, Aymee Nuviola, El Timba, Kay One, Prince Royce, Jessy Rose, Apurimac, and Orlando “Cachaito” Lopez are an offering of salsa, bachata, and cha cha songs worthy of any night out dancing.
El Manisero—Aymee Nuviola featuring Gonzalo Rubalcaba
Un Bla Bla—El Timba featuring La Palma and Ronny Tavares
Bachata—Kay One featuring Christobal
No Tengo Palabras—Jessy Rose
Mis Dos Pequenas—Orlando “Cachaito” Lopez