At the risk of wearing out my rose-tinted glasses, I recalled promoters putting more effort into their offerings. I put it down to a time when the salsa scene was niche, and, with the actual dance population being small, salsa nights had to have the capacity to 'fascinate' the larger non-salsa audience and draw them in, since they had barely a sense of what salsa was. Now that the salsa-experienced population has grown to a significant enough size, it seems that that attention to fascinate and welcome has drained away.
On more than one recent occasion, I found myself paying to dance in a box.
I've wondered, "has the salsa experience become commoditised?" "Would we, as first-movers in a fledgling salsa scene, have been able to grow it to what it is now by offering today's kind of experience?"
I was saddened. But at the same time, I realised that there was something in it. You see, two friends had been bouncing around the idea of starting up a salsa event with me; and I was only going to commit if the night came from the right place: from the heart. It had the right feeling.
And it just so happens that I'm in Barcelona with them.
They'd never been to the great Catalan city before, and had always wanted to see it. So I let myself be cajoled into being their guide, and I was keen to give them a touch of the Barcelona lifestyle they would treasure.
And it was in 'El Xampanyet' that they experienced the right feeling. 'The Champagne' is one of the city's finest bars, run by the Esteve Family for three generations.
|Traditional, yet trendy|
|Everyone creates the spectacle|
|A sense of place|
|A feeling of generosity|
|People come back for friends|
So there you have it. What a fledgling salsa scene once had, and lost. And perhaps what it might have once again.
Loo Yen Yeo