Online Salsa classes have been around for a while. As a matter of fact, Addicted2Salsa (which is probably the most well known online resource to learn salsa) has been around for more than 7 years.
Today though, I want to talk about a new player on the market who is determined to be the evolution of online salsa classes – Allow me to introduce to you:
SalsaBachataOnline.com (hereinafter referred to as SBO). This website was created to allow every dancer, regardless of their location or schedule, to be able to learn from some of the best Salsa and Bachata instructors in the world.
SBO was first introduced to me by the remarkable Karel Flores from Yamulee & I later found out that my favorite Salsero Adolfo Indacochea was also on the site (n.b. more about Adolfo in a post coming soon).
I recently got in touch with Nate Strager the founder of SBO and I asked him a few questions about his inspiration & plans for SBO. Below is our interview (he was kind enough to also give me the inside scoop on some of his plans for SBO. Remember – You heard it here first!)
Enjoy reading and a Special Thanks to Nate and SBO for taking the time out for this interview.
Que Viva La Salsa!
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Who is Nathan Strager?
I am a husband, dancer, promoter, teacher, performer, entrepreneur, and humble student to dance.
When did you discover Salsa & how long have you been in the Salsa scene?
I discovered Salsa through a friend of mine Antwan Johnson who kept telling me about Salsa. He finally had to drag me to the Mayan Club in downtown Los Angeles. When I walked in I was blown away. From that moment on I knew this is what I wanted to do. I have been dancing Salsa for about 15 years now.
In your own words and for people who don’t know, what is SBO and when did it start?
SBO is a website that was created so that you can have the best of the best in the world in Salsa and Bachata instructors to take class from every week. I thought how amazing would it be to take a NEW class every week for half or even two thirds less cost than a regular class, AND you can watch it for days.
SBO was launched on January 3rd, 2013
What was the inspiration behind it?
The inspiration behind SBO was because I travel a lot teaching and performing and the people I know travel a lot teaching and performing. It gets really tiring when we travel to an event and it’s anywhere from 3-20 hours on a plane. Then you have to rehearse, then you have classes, then you have private lessons, then of course it’s very important that you social dance. Then you have to travel back 3-20 hours on a plane. By the time you get done your body is exhausted. Every time you would leave a different City or Country people would always say, “I wish I could take class from you every week“. So I noticed that all the instructors were selling DVD’s, but to me that sucked not only for the instructor who had to carry around 50 DVD’s at a time, but also for the student who was buying a DVD that had material on it that was anywhere from 1-3 years old. As a student you always want to learn what’s new. Salsa and Bachata are ever changing, and I feel people want what’s new. They don’t want to learn old moves or technique – they want what’s new.
Is it working as you envisioned?
SBO in only six months old and has well surpassed my vision. The response is mind blowing. We have over 2,000 members form over 40 countries already and it’s growing by the day.
Any future plans for SBO you would like to share?
SBO is already the biggest Salsa and Bachata School in the world, but we are already working on SBO MOB. SBO MOB will be where you can learn choreography online from your favorite instructor then that instructor will choose an event where everyone that learned that choreography can go and Mob the floor in the middle of social dancing and perform that choreography. It could be 30 people …. It could be 300 people. This gives people the opportunity to learn choreography from their favorite instructor for around $50 and then be able to actually go perform it with that instructor. SBO Mob will be the next big thing and you heard it here first. We are also making SBO a part of everyone’s everyday life. I want SBO to be like Facebook in the fact that you are checking in on SBO all the time to learn and see what’s new.
How many instructors do you currently have on SBO at the moment?
SBO currently has 15 instructors
Any instructors you planning to add in the near future?
Island Touch is coming on board soon. We are just working out the terms. I am also working on Jorjet, Frankie Martinez, Super Mario, and Ricardo and Karen
How did you decide which instructors to add onto your site?
Everyone has their own opinion as to who the “best” Salsa and Bachata dancers are. I wanted to go after who I thought was the best not only now, but who is still going to be the best 5 years from now.
Which instructor required the most amount of convincing to come on board?
Island Touch was the toughest. They have built such a dominant name in the Bachata world that they wanted to make sure that SBO was credible and long term……and I’m still working on Jorjet .
A lot of these Instructors travel all over the World, how do they always have a video ready each week?
The instructor can upload from anywhere in the World on their own as long as they have an internet connection. So a lot of times you’ll see Adolfo or someone else in a hotel room or Karel in a ballroom or Fernando traveling and taping. All of the instructors know the importance of putting up new fresh material every week.
Does it take a lot of work to coordinate?
It is up to the instructor to tape and upload on their own. I am focusing on expanding and making SBO a dominant global presence in the Salsa and Bachata world, and taking Salsa and Bachata main stream.
How much does it cost for people out there to use SBO or subscribe for the videos?
1 video is $7.60, 4 videos is $25.50, and 12 videos is $63 which is definitely the best value.
I noticed your videos are only available for a week. Why don’t you have them permanently available once someone pays for them?
OK, I get this question A LOT…. When I did my research on other online instructional websites I found that all of them failed or are failing for the same reasons. The first is there’s too much content. Some of these websites have hundreds of videos. In today’s fast paced world nobody and I mean nobody has time to sit down and learn two or even three videos at one time. You can’t retain that amount of information. Even if you record after a workshop at an event of what you just learned you may watch that video a few times, but the odds of you going back home and watching it over and over again for months are slim to none. So I created something different. I feel it’s important to keep learning new material every week. This way the student will continue to improve on what’s new – new technique, new styling, new moves, etc. If you go to a live class, that class will only last one hour and it cost you $10-$15 per class. With SBO you can learn a NEW class every single week and watch it for seven full days from Monday to Monday as many times as you want for as little as around $5 per class. The value in that is massive, AND you’re learning from the best of the best in the world at your own convenience and on your own schedule.
We also created a session for each instructor called Beginner Boot Camp. Beginner Boot Camp is for the first time Salsa or Bachata student who has never taken a class or needs basic technique. These classes never expire because the beginner student needs more time to practice the basics then an intermediate or advanced student. So we do cater to the beginner student as well.
I see you are also involved in the Las Vegas Salsa Congress. Is salsa all you do or do you have another Job?
I work in real estate as my regular job, but I work for myself so it enables me to dance, travel, teach online and do the Las Vegas Salsa Congress.
What do you love most about Salsa?
Salsa is a life changer. It’s amazing!!!!!! Salsa is a one of the few dances in the world where you can dance with a different partner every single song. It’s everywhere!!! No matter what city or country you travel to there are salseros there that live and breathe Salsa, and the music is AMAZING. The music is infectious and it doesn’t matter if you speak Spanish or don’t speak Spanish, Salsa is danced from the heart.
What is your most memorable Salsa experience?
It has to be this year’s 10th Annual Las Vegas Salsa Congress. I have worked so hard for the past 15 years to become a better dancer, teacher, performer, promoter and person – it just seemed like it all came together this year. The positive vibe at this year’s event was something that I had never seen before. It was unbelievable.
Any advice for new salsa dancers out there?
Keep learning!!!!!! You can never stop learning. My company Sin City Salseros takes jazz, ballet, hip hop, and Afro Cuban classes every single week along with SBO classes from other Salsa instructors and you can never stop learning. The more you learn the more you’ll be able to enjoy the music and your dancing. Never – never – never stop learning.
Any last words?
SBO is the future of taking Salsa and Bachata classes from anywhere in the world. There will always be a new class for you to learn from every week. We also have Beginner Boot Camp ladies styling classes that will never expire, and classes for the student who wants to take their first Salsa or Bachata class. We are going to continue to improve SBO every week with new features, new instructors, and we will eventually have a Kizomba instructor as well.
Thank you to my wife Olivia, Virginia Cano, Sin City Salseros, and all of the SBO instructors who believed in this website when it wasn’t even built yet. All of the instructors trusted me and I will never forget that.
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P.S. Thanks for visiting my blog. If you liked this post, feel free to like & share. Remember to subscribe to my blog to ensure you never miss a post…. More amazing interviews and other Salsa posts coming soon….
“Keep learning!!!!!! You can never stop learning…… The more you learn the more you’ll be able to enjoy the music and your dancing. Never – never – never stop learning.”
Preach, brother 🙂
AGREED! Preach, brother, Preach!
Awesome interview idea Chilly! I love hearing the stories behind people that decide to do something further with their passion for salsa. Totally wish I had Nate’s idea first 😉
Also can we take a moment to appreciate: ‘Not only is Karel 1 of the best salseras in the world, she is insanely hot too!’ <<< Chilly you make me laugh!! I don't disagree though!
Thanks Salsera ITC. It is a really good idea, you not the only who wishes they had it first.
Now, lets take 2 moments to appreciate Hot Karel! :p