Salsa Night vs Latin Night
What is the Difference?
When starting to learn Salsa, Bachata or Kizomba you might be looking to have any opportunity to go out Latin dancing. There are plenty of “Latin Nights” on the market to go dance, which is great. However there is a huge difference between them.
(Salsa - ‘Latin Night’) vs (Reggaeton ‘Latin Night’)
... So, what is the difference and how do you tell the difference?
Lets just give these some definitions to work from. A 'Latin Night 'could mean many things. So we will define the Latin nights in two ways for the purpose of understanding the names, because they both are considered “Latin Nights” the two main types of Latin Nights are Salsa partner dance focused Night or a Reggaeton focused Night. The way to tell the difference is to look at the music style list from the DJ’s or Bands, they don't usually advertise the fact its one or the other.
Salsa - Latin Nights
DJ’s on a Salsa Night will play at least 50%-60% Salsa and the rest Bachata, Cha cha, Merengue & Kizomba, with Partner dancing being the focus of the night.
Also these DJ’s generally do not mix songs together for Salsa Nights, this way you can end a dance easily to ask another person for the next dance.
Salsa Latin Nights will have a dance crowd that is there specifically for partner dancing including Salsa, Bachata & Kizomba etc. These dancers are usually more open to dance as much as possible and even with people they don’t know. During these Salsa Latin Nights, the primary focus tends to be more towards socialising and enjoying the company of friends and new people you may meet to dance with. This crowd is much more educated in partner dancing and dance floor etiquette, because most have learnt through dance schools i.e. less bumping into each other.
Partner dancing is more dependent on the ability to see hand requests from your partner and to know where you are leading your partner. As such, darkness and lights flashing in your eyes at the wrong time hinders a quality partner dance and may jeopardise safety & comfort at times. Try looking for a hand when you have a lazer light hitting your eye balls. The dance floor is another important factor. Generally organisers have this in mind so its more ideal for partner dance turns & spins. Also with less drinkers on the floor spilling on the thing we need the most, a nice non sticky and dry dance floor so you can wear dance shoes. These Dance nights are often in bars, dance studios or halls, each offering advantages of their own. Bars often don't need security on the door for these nights because they rarely have security issues with a Salsa Latin crowd because they don't tend to drink as much.
Reggaeton - Latin Nights
DJ on a Latin Night will play approximately 50%-60% Reggaeton and might play a mix the rest with Latin Pop, Pop Salsa, Cumbia, Bachata, Samba, Axé & Merengue. The music will generally be more Latin Pop Reggaeton flavoured too. The volume of music on a Latin night is significantly louder and the DJ’s mix the songs continuously. Which is very hard to end a partner dance with someone if you do decide to dance.
Reggaeton Latin Nights will have an array of people that are mostly into Reggaeton and Merengue and most will not even know how to partner dance properly.
Also a Reggaeton Latin Night it is more common for women to dance together and more common for guys to be turned down on their request for a dance. Often at these nights a guy will have his date figuratively handcuffed to his side, so as to prevent her from dancing with anyone else. It's normal for people to only dance within their existing social contacts, if there is any partner dancing going on. Dancing mainly Reggaeton and Merengue serve as a means of socializing with these people rather than beyond their inner circle. Think of these Reggaeton Latin Nights as more of a Night Club Environment like a Hip Hop Night.
Reggaeton Latin Nights are generally more dimly lit and accented with strobe and other lighting effects as well as significantly louder music. The dance floors usually wont appropriate for no turns or spins, drinks are often spilled on the floors from the dancers making it sticky. Making it a disaster trying to wear dance shoes.
In a Nutshell
Once you understand these different types of Latin Nights, look for the music and organisers involved, you can make a good decision about what to expect when you go out. With that knowledge, go out and have a great time wherever or however you choose to party.