Written by Lori Shecter

I figured that if I provided marketing and technical advice to dance studios, it would really round out my expertise if at least I took a few dance classes.  Unbeknowst to me, was the huge salsa community in the big dirty apple (AKA NYC.) I guess it shouldn't have been much of a shock, but when I got the urge to shake it, I simply Googled SALSA and, that glorious Sunday night, up came a few (not one or two but a FEW) Salsa "parties."  I thought, "what is there to Salsa but a few steps, turns and shakes of the booty." Um, well you know where that lead.

I showed up at the event that was attended by over 300 Salsa dancers (at $11 a pop, not a bad night's take.)  But no one would dance with me because I didn't know how!  This was serious stuff.  And so I began my search for the perfect Salsa class. Salsa got under my skin.

Interestingly, a few of the men I met at the party recommended GroupOn or Living Social, which I did try, but for naught.  No good deals going on.  Another teacher was recommended to me by three different men (interesting) but when I looked up his class and times, they were neither near my office, or my apartment.  PLUS he had a cycle and I was READY to start RIGHT NOW.  (Nothing like impulse dance class.)  Which brings me to:

POINT 1: Offer one beginner trial class every week to catch the impulse buyer. 

Next, I dropped in to the studio 2 blocks from my office.  Their schedule and "cycle" was so confusing, I had to have the receptionist explain it to me.  Additionally, this school has drop in and 4 week cycle classes.  Apparently there are two types of Salsa which the receptionist did a bad job of explaining.  Lastly, that dance studio had a drop in Salsa class that evening, which I had to ASK to observe. (I was allowed a free observation.)

POINT 2: Your receptionist can help you or hurt you. Luckily I was so determined to find a Salsa class, that I pushed my way into this drop in class. A more timid person might have just walked away and then never joined.

In the class, my feet immediately started tapping to the beat.  My instructor, Nick said, "don't just sit there, join the class.  Won't that be more fun?"  When I replied I was only a beginner (this class was intermediate,) he assured me that if I just picked up the one basic step, it would be great.  And guess what? I did!  I was so impressed with Nick that I was determined to go to the Sunday DROP IN beginner class.

POINT 3:  Your teacher can make you or break you.

Nick was welcoming, patient, hip and an awesome teacher.  He made sure that I didn't feel clumsy, which I was, and also made sure that I got that first basic step down pat.

After the class I was so inspired that I wanted to buy some appropriate clothes for my next Salsa class, but guess what?  No shoes, no tops, no pants.  Missed opportunity?  Maybe.  Maybe this studio doesn't want to get into the clothing business--this is New York and we are surrounded, but...

POINT 4:  If you have room, sell something!  

High margins make for decent profit.

Ok, so I am really digging my the beat, love the exercise.. it is much better than the eliptical.  So, this is NY, lots of Salsa.  I again use Google to find another class, and thanks to great search engine optimization, find:


And, even though I know all the tricks, I just read all those amazing recommendations. (Plus the website was really ugly, so I thought maybe a potential client LOL)  I was convinced by the recommendations PLUS the fact it was only 1/2 mile from my apartment.

POINT 5 + 6:  Have testimonials on your home page. Have good search engine optimization (your web developer should do this.)

Tonight I went to the class and I was immediately turned off.  I walked in and the one studio was packed and hot.  But, I was here on a mission--adding to my Salsa experience.  If I wasn't so determined, I would have left.  Immediately.

POINT 7:  Close your classes if they get too crowded.

The rest is just a Salsa nightmare:  the class was PACKED.  There were two classes in the same room.  The first hour had NO MUSIC!  Can you imagine dancing Salsa WITHOUT A BEAT?  Even I know, don't learn to counting, learn to music.  Yuck, yuck and yuck again.

Last, but most important, the instructor was bored, not interested, impatient and not very nice.  Which brings me back to Point 3. Obviously I will never go back to that class, but I can't WAIT to go back to Steppin' Out Studios to dance the Salsa with Nick.  

Stay tuned for more on my Salsa Search found under "The Web Developer Dances."