Salsa dance is popular all over the world, even in some major cities in China. Few people here may speak Spanish, but many have fallen in love with how the beat makes them want to move their bodies, and how the culture of the dance makes it so easy to have fun and meet new people. The dance made its first appearance in Shanghai in the late 90s through Bob and Shirley, who still teach now in 2009. Slowly more and more people picked up salsa as a hobby, and more and more clubs noticed it was a great way attract crowds on off-nights. People may not drink much, but they show up in high numbers, so a small cover charge can still make it a profitable night for the venue. Many Chinese are already very familiar with dance (just watch the crowds of seniors dancing ballroom in outdoor parks each day), so the switch to salsa came naturally for many of them, having fun and moving well after just a few classes. Shanghai and Beijing now have well-established salsa communities with dozens of professional teachers. The scenes in cities like Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Nanjing are still small but growing steadily.
Finding salsa parties in China can be a bit more difficult than in other countries since not all events will be advertised in English online, and even if you can read Chinese, you may not be able to find all of the events through a search engine. Many promoters still rely solely on word of mouth and SMS mailing lists to advertise their parties. That’ll change over the years, and web-savy organizers in different cities are starting to create portals that make it easy for promoters to list their events. Start with a web search for “salsa” and the name of the city you’re visiting and you may find some of them.