Two local salsa-dance events compete for a crowd

Two different salsa-dance events have been competing for the same crowd on Friday nights in downtown Asheville. The clash between Salseros 828’s event at Eleven on Grove and Mela Indian Restaurant’s free weekly event caught Xpress’ attention this afternoon when Maria Voisin, the director and founder of Salseros, expressed frustration and sadness about the situation in a letter sent out on Facebook.

Photo by Jonathan Welch, taken at Eleven on Grove in 2008.

Salseros simply can’t compete with Mela’s free event, Voisin says. Salseros has been hosting a weekly event at Eleven on Grove for three years and, according to Voisin, has provided a consistency that has been influential in cultivating and expanding the Latin dance scene in the community. The cost at the door for Salseros’ event is $8 for guests and $10 for dancers ages 18 to 20 (and is free with a $3 club-membership card). This fee includes an introductory salsa-dance lesson that starts at 11 p.m.
In a final attempt to save the salsa event at Eleven on Grove, Voisin announced that the club will waive its admission fee on Friday nights for the next two weeks. “The only way to keep Club Eleven Salsa alive is to show up,” stated Voisin. “Support the people who have kept this thing going for years.”
Voisin continued: “It’s awful that you are put in the position to even have to choose when there are six other days of the week for Salsa, but we can’t change our night because the club is already booked with things. Mela won’t budge and we have asked them why they can’t just choose a Saturday.”

Calls to Anoop Krishnan, owner of Mela, were not immediately returned. Xpress will update the situation as soon as possible.


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About Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt
Aiyanna grew up on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. She was educated at The Cambridge School of Weston, Sarah Lawrence College, and Oxford University. Aiyanna lives in Asheville, North Carolina where she proudly works for Mountain Xpress, the city’s independent local newspaper.

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6 thoughts on “Two local salsa-dance events compete for a crowd

  1. UnaffiliatedVoter

    Please resist the notion of coercing Mela into charging. Its free enterprise at work. Let it work as it should.

  2. Pedro

    Anoop is not available for comment due to the fact that he is too busy trying to talk other Indian restaurants into changing their lunch/dinner hours so as not be in competition with Mela.

  3. Stargazing

    This is the actual post last Friday from Maria (Salseros 828). For those who are interested…


    Hola Salseros…

    Please pass this on…

    I am mourning a potentially big loss for Salsa in Asheville. Because of the competing (free) event Mela’s Salsa on Fridays (2 Salsa events on the same night, and no other Salsa nights during the week), Club 11 will be closing its doors (and awesome wood floors) to Salsa on Fridays. We have had this Salsa night for 3 years (after we left Mela when the crowd got too big) and hosted tons of great performers and parties that really made this city stand out for its awesome Salsa dancing and friendly community. The only way to keep Club 11 Salsa alive is to SHOW UP and support the people who have kept this thing going for years…2 more weeks, I urge you guys to support.

    It’s awful that you are put in the position to even have to choose when there are 6 other days of the week for Salsa, but we can’t change our night b/c the club is already booked with things. Mela won’t budge and we have asked them why they can’t just choose a Saturday. I think the answer is obvious.

    Club 11 is also FREE for the next 2 weeks. So go enjoy that factor. Unfortunately I will be teaching at Congresses the next 2 fridays so I can’t even be there. This is one of the saddest things I have seen since I started teaching here in 1999. I don’t think people will realize that Serious Real- Deal Salsa in Asheville is in serious decline until it’s too late.

    I also want to thank Jeff and Sherrie Davis for being ethical and good business folks and great people.

    Thanks to those of you who have shown your support and loyalty. You are quality.


  4. Local yokel

    The Salsero folks deserve a lot of credit for making salsa dancing a hot thing in Asheville, but Mela isn’t the bad guy here … Salsero 828 used to have salsa dancing on Friday nights at Mela starting way back in 2005. Maria decided to move to a more upscale location and charge more, which is fine … but does that mean Mela can’t ever have salsa dancing again? I’m sure Mela would have liked it if no other Indian restaurants would have been allowed in Asheville after Mela opened … but that’s not how life works

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