Teacher poll: If there is one thing that could be improved with the Ottawa salsa scene, what would it be?

One thing we’re big on at Azucar! is always striving to get better, whether it’s improving our own dancing or seeing what we can do to make the world a better place (one song at a time!). This week, we asked our teachers what improvements they’d like to see in the salsa scene. Here were  some of their answers:

I think it’s a combination of venue and atmosphere. I started dancing in Toronto where there were designated salsa night clubs. There were strict rules about not bringing drinks on the dance floor and so on, but it was great. For new dancers, being able to have a drink by the bar makes going out a lot less intimidating.

I would love to see the overall salsa population in Ottawa grow.  There is never a lack of beginners, which is great, but it would be even better to see more people continue to advance their salsa repertoire.  Some hardcore dancers have to go to Montreal or Toronto to get their salsa fix; it would be great if Ottawa could be one of those places as well!

One big improvement for me would be to have an environment that is more accessible to newcomers. A common complaint I’ve heard lately from beginners is that the Ottawa salsa scene can be hard to break into. When they are out on the dance floor,  they find a crowd of people that already seem to know one another, and tend to dance with the same partners out of routine. This saddens me, as when I first came to Ottawa, I found the salsa community to be incredibly warm and welcoming.
I would love for all of us to get back that community spirit and welcome new dancers, so that newcomers at all levels continue to find a fun and vibrant dance scene! I am trying to promote that with Azucar!, and I think we need more events like last year’s Summer Salsa on Spark Street, which brought salsa to the people in a welcoming and accessible way.

To me, variety is the spice of life. Ottawa has some great long-standing social dance venues already (Rahim’s Latin Fridays, Salsaria, Club Caliente) and some newer ones that are picking up (Discoteka, Sundays at Amigos), but I’d love to see more “non-traditional” dance venues and events – like Summer Salsa on Sparks Street and Salsa at the Vineyards.


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