Home & + | Search
Featured Categories: Special Focus | Performance Reviews | Previews | DanceSpots | Arts and Education | Press Releases
Join ExploreDance.com's email list | Mission Statement | Copyright notice | The Store | Calendar | User survey | Advertise
Click here to take the ExploreDance.com user survey.
Your anonymous feedback will help us continue to bring you coverage of more dance.
ExploreDance.com (Magazine)
Other Search Options
Robert Abrams
Taj Restaurant & Lounge
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Salsa Afterwork Mondays at Taj

by Robert Abrams
April 12, 2010
Taj Restaurant & Lounge
48 W 21st Street
New York, NY 10010
(212) 620-3033
I went to Taj tonight to deliver some Dance Critics Association Conference brochures to Talia. I brought my dance shoes, figuring I would get a little Salsa in - now that I have a very young daughter, it has been difficult to go dancing.

In the past, I would normally get to Taj around 8 or 9 pm when the party was already in full swing. Tonight I got there before 6:30 pm, so I was able to see what the party looks like early on (doors open at 5 pm), take the free lesson, and watch and dance as the party transitioned from the early phase to the full swing late night phase.

Taj was pretty quiet and mostly empty around 6:30 pm. A few people were hanging out, talking and maybe having a drink. By 7 pm or so, the lesson had attracted 10 to 12 people. The lesson was fairly basic, but also included a few more advanced moves: a good choice for a free lesson at a party since I think the goal for a lesson like this should be to make people feel comfortable about dancing. If people want advanced training, there are plenty of studios to try out. Plus, the party at Taj, and to the best of my recollection, every party Talia has had a hand in organizing, has plenty of style without any attitude, which is exactly what the dance community needs.

Once the lesson was over around 7:30 pm, there were a few couples on the floor. It was very relaxed.

Slowly people began to arrive and the dance floor became more crowded, but never unbearably crowded, with the usual mix of dancers with a range of abilities. I was particularly impressed with one couple who danced what had to have been the most advanced, sophisticated and stylish Bachata I have ever seen. If you think Bachata is only a one or two move, simplistic dance, this couple proved that you would be wrong.

So, the Taj Monday Salsa party is as packed and fun as ever once it gets going. But that is not what I want to talk about tonight.

I am going to focus on the potential of the early portion of the night.

As I said above, I have a very young daughter. She loves to dance. She has figured out how to shake her hips in time to what ever music is playing. This isn't disciplined dance, but she is only 18 months old.

There are two problems. First, when you have an 18 month old, you can't go to a party that starts at 9 pm, as most social dance parties in NYC do, because your kid will be asleep by then. Unless you get child care, and that gets expensive. Second, I think dance is important and I want to share that with my daughter. There should be ways to introduce her to Salsa, and Swing and even Polka in a comfortable, inter-generational setting that still has the energy of one of Talia's parties. (My daughter has, in fact, already been to a Taj Monday Salsa party. She was inside of my wife's womb at the time, and seemed to be distinctly kicking in response to the music.)

I think we might be able to solve two problems at once with the early portion of the Taj Salsa Monday event, or something like it. The early portion could be marketed to dancer parents with kids. It would give those dancer parents an opportunity to continue their dancing, it would bring in more revenue to the venue and the party organizers during a time period that is currently underutilized, and it would introduce kids to dance in a natural way. There may be potential problems with this idea, such as having a bunch of kids around during the transitional time period might change the vibe of the party for single people there. The volume of the music might need to be lowered a tad - the current volume levels are fine for adults, but with kids we ought to err on the side of caution when it comes to their hearing. Even if it did work, it might be best to limit it to one Monday per month. An even better solution would be to have a party like the Taj Salsa Mondays on a Saturday. The party could start at about 3 pm on Saturday. Between 7 and 8 pm, most of the parents and kids would be leaving and most of the current clientele would be arriving, so there should be minimal conflict between either group. (In a traditional Polka party, it is/was normal for small kids to stay late and fall asleep on the banquets, but I don't really see that happening at most of the existing dance parties in NYC I have been to.)

Taj might have to install a few tamper resistant electrical receptacles to make sure the kids don't take in the energy literally, but I know where they can obtain such receptacles in 27 colors, so they could continue to host a high-energy party safely without cramping their style. That and the bar may have to stock up on whole milk and sippy cups.
Search for articles by
Performance Reviews, Places to Dance, Fashion, Photography, Auditions, Politics, Health