We are encouraging everyone to help us keep Yes Dance up and running. One easy and affordable way to do it is by becoming a member for only $10 a year. This membership is optional but it would be great in the long run. The new space, because of the location (prime downtown) and its dimensions (2300 sq ft), will require that we raise our fees a bit for every class. Members will still pay only $5 for the Tuesday salsa class and practice session (4 hours in total – wow!). Non-members will pay $7 for the same 4 hours of salsa, still a great deal! Tango and other classes will cost $10 for members and $15 for non-members. By becoming a member you will not only support our cause, but you will also have access to classes first and at a cheaper rate, as well as access to special packages of class combinations that will only be offered to members. Every month members will take part in exciting raffles and have a chance to win free classes, dance shoes, a bike, etc… For $10, this may very well be the best club in town and, at 83 cents a month, could be one of the best investments you ever make!
Vision and Practice
We have built a community from scratch, starting with only five members, and after four years we have managed to share our enthusiasm and passion for dancing to reach up to 650 members. For the last four years, every Tuesday, we have offered beginner and intermediate salsa/bachata classes, and open dancing opportunities. Over these years, the group did not falter, and we never stopped teaching.
To tell you more about our group and our aspirations, we are committed to building an alcohol-free dancing community, where all ages are welcomed and encouraged. During the course of building this vibrant dance community, we have welcomed participants from 1 year old to 90, with a majority of the participants ranging from age 19 to 60. Entire families join us in dancing together at Yes Dance. We are especially proud of the teenagers who attend at an age of traditional dissociation, coming with their parents to learn to dance and have some family time together. This salsa community provides inter-generational interactions which strengthens not only family bonds but communal connection.
The uniqueness of this community is that it is inclusive, of all ages, but also all nationalities, abilities, and socio-economic groups. We have more than 30 nationalities represented in this community and we bring together diverse professional backgrounds ranging from waiters, university professors, painters, artists, lawyers, accountants, nurses, postgraduate students, as well as young or very young students.
Our diversity is partly explained by the non-competitive, encouraging and friendly way in which we teach, but also by our strong commitment to remain a non-profit community. Our entrance fee is kept very low: only $5 for everyone children are free. We want everybody to be a part of it without a financial barrier.
Yes You Can Dance Salsa is run by volunteers: from the founder, the salsa teachers, the DJ, to all the helpers. They are the ones that make it happen. The community was built over time in a very open and participative way. Everyone is welcomed to volunteer and contribute according to what she or he is ready to offer. Nothing is small, everything counts! Members can give their time to help us prepare before or clean after the classes; members can make donations, such as food to share, or anything else to make our dancing environment more friendly; members can even help teaching if they have the vocation!
A few words should actually be said on the vision of teaching we are trying to advocate.
Our goal is to provide to our members a progressive and guided way to learn salsa, where everybody can progress at their own pace and have classes adapted to their level (beginner for newcomers or intermediate so long term members keep progressing). The classes are given within a safe and inclusive environment, free of gender disrespect. We put a strong emphasis over connection and communication. This is why we have people dance with everybody without an attributed partner. Being respectful and attune are key behaviors in the etiquette of social dancing that we try to convey in every class!
We want this community to be open to others and be a part of the Santa Barbara community at large. We spend some efforts trying to synchronize or partner up with other dance communities, both non-profit and profit-based. Beyond dancing, we help organize and improve the space we share with other groups. We consider that collaboration between communities is key and this is also why we regularly participate in bigger collective events such as Open Streets.
We feel that we have much to offer to the people of Santa Barbara and we want to make sure everybody is aware of the opportunities they have. For this reason, we are putting increasing efforts into improving our outreach. We have already some web presence with our own website that we regularly update and advertise, as well as active members on social media. In addition, we are working on increasing our visibility in the local press, such as the Independent.
This is who we are and what we bring: every week our Center is packed with 70 participants, and on Saturday events we have up to 100 people. Last Halloween we had about a 100 people dress in costumes and it probably was the only event in town without alcohol that day.
Now we found a new home and plan to relocate this large and impressive community with lots of potential for continue growth and expansion. This transition opens new opportunities to start working with new partners and share our accomplishments.
In the last four years, through Yes You Can Dance Salsa, we have shown that:
- Everyone can Dance
- People do not require alcohol to have fun
- People are improving their health and lifestyle by dancing
- People are learning to respect and listen to each other by dancing with partners and with a large group
- Diverse people, as part of a community, are making deep connections no matter their age, origin, or background
- People can find their loved ones in this thriving atmosphere, strong relationships leading to long term commitments
- People, when feeling included and empowered, are willing to help and contribute. We have a strong community that works together to make things happen
As a testimonial of this empowerment and personal growth, one of our members discovered Yes You Can Dance Salsa by a friend’s invitation. After a couple of weeks of learning and getting hooked on the dancing, he started to feel that he wanted to give back to the community. Starting by helping setting up the place, his commitment grew over time and he offered to help us advertise the organization. As much as he loves dancing, he now has taken to playing music and sound engineering for the Tuesday night classes so others can experience the same joy he had learning with us.
As a testimonial of this strength and bond, on February 5th 2016, we put together the wedding of a couple that met at Yes You Can Dance Salsa. The wedding was prepared in 3 weeks at the Cabrillo Pavilion Center for 120 people at no cost to the bride and groom. Members of the community put their skills together and the magic happened. We had cooks, decorators, florists, photographers, musicians, and light experts. Together, we all made it happen.
As a testimonial of everyone learning the beautiful art of dancing, one couple began attending while pregnant and now the 3-year old enjoys attending.
This is the strength of this community where the connections go beyond the simple teacher/student or customer/service provider interactions!
You can find more of these testimonials on our “testimonials” page
To fight alcohol abuse, sexual offense, or more generally any kind of gender disrespect, isolation and disconnection from society, each year, millions of dollars are spent in health, advertising or simply repression. Instead of solving the problems after the fact, as a society, we need to rebuild our social tissue and provide alternatives so people feel involved early on and have real alternatives. Now, most of the alternatives for people to socialize rely heavily on alcohol consumption or high cover fees to have a sustainable business or organization. The city needs a fun and friendly space in downtown, open to everyone in the evenings, where people can entertain, cultivate themselves and learn at their pace; all this in an alcohol-free environment. Together we can build this unique experience and help prevent problems before they arise!
Sincerely, Monica Dabos, Phd – Yes You Can Dance Salsa Founder