Wednesday night salsa at Dave and Busters in Tempe.
Dave and Busters is located at 2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy, Tempe, AZ 85281.
Salsa venue overview:
The name for this event is “Havana Salsa Nights at Dave & Busters”.
Both lesson and social dancing are on the outside patio that has a very nice view. They have cooling misters during the summer and heaters in winter to soften the impact of the weather.
Since on the patio where the event is held there is bar that sells alcohol you need to be at least 21 to get in. The cost for the lesson and the social part on Wednesday is $5 for men, no charge for women till 8pm. On Sunday there is no charge for anyone. Parking is free and a huge parking lot where Dave and Busters is located never runs out of the parking space.
During the social they play salsa, bachata, merengue and cha-cha. The social dancing ends at 12am. (After 12am the die-hard salsa dancers go across the street to San Felipes Cantina that is open till 2am). Dave and Busters has two salsa nights a week. It is Wednesday and Sunday. As on Wednesday they do not compete with any other venue it is a more popular night than Sunday.
The lesson starts at 7pm. It is an hour and a half long. It is broken down in three sections of thirty minutes each: merengue, bachata and salsa. It starts as a small class and towards the end it gets more crowded. Sometimes it looks like over a hundred (hard to tell, may be even more) people are in the class. The lesson goes at a slow pace, as there are many people in the class with various levels of learning abilities. It is a beginner class where basic moves from each dance are shown. From the entertainment prospective it is a fun class to take, and if you have never taken a Latin dance lesson before you most likely will enjoy this class.
They have two more classes during the week. They are on Monday and Tuesday. I never took either one of them, I just learned about them after talking to Brenda Smith – an instructor who teaches them. On Monday there is a beginner class. And on Tuesday they have an intermediate class. Neither Monday or Tuesday classes are drop in, you have to sign up for them. The cost for each class is $10. There is a smaller number of people taking those classes. On Tuesday there is about 10 people currently taking the class, and on Monday also only a few people, as this is a new class they just recently started.
Social dancing at Dave and Busters starts at 8.30 and ends at midnight. On Wednesday night it is the number one spot for salsa dancing in the valley. On some Wednesdays it gets so crowded that it feels more like a nightclub than a place to go salsa dancing. During Wednesday night they roughly get a turnaround of 600-700 people with 100-200 + people occupying the patio floor at any given time after 9pm. Social part has beginner dancers that stay after the lesson to practice and experienced dancers that start to come in for the social after 9pm. The ratio of experienced dancers to beginners is about 50/50. So it does not matter what level of dancing skills you have, you will find enough people to dance with.
Music that they play during the social part of the night is a combination of salsa, bachata and merengue, with a splash of cumbia and cha-cha. They play enough salsa songs for the people who dance mostly salsa (such as myself) to enjoy the night. Dj Craig Conrad (a picture above) is good at what he does and the songs mixed up well. He is not specifically a salsa DJ but he seems to know exactly what the crowd wants, and he fits well in this Latin night.
About the host of this venue:
Brenda Smith started this salsa night and she teaches lessons there every Wednesday and Sunday.
Reasons I enjoy social dancing at Dave and Busters:
Even though they have a bar that stretches across half of the patio, and there are people buying drinks, this venue has a dancing crowd, not a drinking one. People come there to dance and you do not see intoxicated and semi-conscious people, as you would in the club, that has the same size of the alcohol bar and the crowd as this place. You have a crowd the size of a very popular night club, without having to deal with drunk people. As with any venue where people come to dance, everyone in the crowd is nice and approachable. The crowed is comprised of people of all ages and dance experience. It does not matter how great of a dancer you are, you will meet enough people who dance as well (or as terrible) as you do. When the weather is nice you get to enjoy dancing and the open air at the same time. For the social salsa dancing on a Wednesday night I would recommend this place to anyone.
Salsa portion of the group class at Dave and Busters in Tempe on Wednesday.
Another clip from Wednesday salsa class at Dave and Busters at Tempe Marketplace.
Bachata portion of the lesson at Dave and Busters at Tempe Marketplace.
Social salsa dancing at Dave and Busters on Wednesday night in Tempe.
Salsa dancing at Dave and Busters at Tempe Marketplace on Wednesday.
Salsa dancing at Dave and Busters right after the lesson.
Did you enjoy salsa dancing at Dave and Busters? How was the class? Would you recommend Wednesday night at Dave and Busters to a friend?
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