Salsa on a Budget

A college student's guide to dancing seven days a week

By Dominique Marcella Jean-Marie
Published on LatinoLA: May 1, 2003

Salsa on a Budget

If there is one thing in life you can always count on, it is a college student being broke. Between tuition, overpriced books you can't sell back the next quarter, gas prices, and Starbucks (we have three at my campus), money can get pretty tight. Try adding any sort of social life to that, and your pocket book really begins to cringe.

So what is a poor college student to do? College and partying are practically synonymous in our vocabulary. Still considering myself new to the whole salsa scene, I found out real quick how expensive things can get. Parties, workshops, dance camps, drinking, clothes, shoes?the list goes on forever and before you realize, it you've maxed out your poor little emergency credit card.

So here is a list of helpful tips that anyone can benefit from?especially us broke college students.

1. GUEST LIST: This is the most important two words you will ever get out of this article. You would be surprised how many clubs have a guest list available. Get yourself on the guest list buy contacting the promoter of the club to see if there is a guest list available and how to get on it. Most of the time you can be just an email or a phone call away from a free entry.

2. WEBSITES: Coupons and Discounts. Check out club websites and the websites of dance companies for discounts or coupons on classes. Some places offer you a free entry when you bring a friend. Some clubs that have websites will offer discounts to the entry fee. It may not be free, but you can get close.

3. CONVERSATION: Talk to people. If you are at the club and you see someone with an outfit you like or some dance shoes you'd love to wear, ask them where they got it. You never know?you may be talking to the person who is selling them. Make it a point to talk to someone new every time you go to the club. Who knows, you may be able to persuade someone to barter with you for a service!

4.VOLUNTEER: At salsa conventions and camps, people oftentimes sign up as volunteers. You will be required to work a set amount of hours, but you'll be able to attend the event for free. The only thing you'll have to pay for is your hotel stay.

5. CLUBS AT YOUR COLLEGE: Check if your college has a salsa club. For a minimal dues fee of $10 to $20 dollars for the quarter or semester, you can take classes, a great place for beginners to start. For two hours a week, I was literally paying a dollar a class. The class was really geared for beginners, so after a brushed up on my basics I would learn the the guy parts on how to lead and became a better follower because of it.

6. Now as if you have not heard of this one, let me remind you that ladies FREE BEFORE 10 PM is the best way to get your foot in the door. By the way, do not take being early as a bad thing, We all want to be fashionably late but along with free cover charge is free time to scope out the scene to find who can dance and who can't.

7. PLANNING IS KEY: Now you have all the info you need to go out in the most cost efficient way. If done correctly you can have a Monday thru Sunday week full with little or no out of pocket expenses.

About Dominique Marcella Jean-Marie:
Dominique Marcella Jean-Marie is a 4th year Business Major at the University of California Riverside. She is a freelance writer hoping to make a career in journalism. For questions and commments email her at morena427@hotmail.com

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