Business Idea: Salsa Dancing

Business In Motion

Josie Neglia, 35, has loved dance for as long as she can remember. She attended York University in Toronto to study it, but she found her niche--and her market--in teaching instead. "With [salsa] being a social dance," says Neglia, "the average person is going to be interested in taking lessons, so it's a bigger business."

Neglia started teaching at a club in Toronto before finding her way to Los Angeles and into one of the hottest salsa scenes around. "The very first night I was [in L.A.], we went out to a salsa club," recalls Neglia, "and I got into the whole salsa scene here in California. I fell in love with the style right away, and within a month, I was teaching classes here."

Neglia's smooth moves got her noticed, but her business sense won her several student clients. She'd pass out business cards and brochures at the clubs to direct people to her company, Dancexcitement, while using her dance prowess as a way to see and be seen.

Instructional salsa videos soon followed, with the first video costing about $6,000 to produce. Neglia's videos are now some of the best-selling Latin dance tapes around--she's sold over $200,000 worth since 1996. Now she has seven instructional videos available on her Web site and through distributors worldwide.

These sales, combined with Neglia's presence as an advertiser on Salsaweb.com--the place for salsa on the Net, according to most of the salseros we talked to--have greatly contributed to her success in the salsa world.

That world is a small one, say salsa veterans--everybody knows everybody. And to be truly successful, salsa-minded entrepreneurs have to immerse themselves fully in the scene. Going to International Salsa Congresses, salsa tours and, most of all, dancing in nearby clubs is the best way to locate your potential market while gaining exposure in salsa circles.

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This article was originally published in the February 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Business Idea: Salsa Dancing.

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