The Secrets Behind The Salsa Scene


A behind-the-scenes tale of amateur salsa performance.

Nora took up Salsa dance classes two years ago recreationally and to socialise.  She enjoyed it tremendously as she found she had a knack for it.  As she moved through the levels and improved, she found herself at Level 3 which means more intricate moves which are used in performances.

One day, her instructor, Sally asked her if she would like to perform for an upcoming festival held in Bangkok.  Boy, was Nora overjoyed yet apprehensive at the prospect of doing a performance for the first time in her entire life!  Nevertheless, she said yes after thinking it over for a day.

Nora is from outstation and being in KL means she has to rent a room due to the high cost of living in the city.  After working for three years, her current gross salary is RM4,000 with a chunk of her expenses going into car instalment, related expenses, rent, meals and personal care items.  After that, she had enough left over to save a little, send some back home and, yes, pay for her dance lessons.

At class the next day, Sally briefed the shortlisted candidates on the training hours required and discussed with them the costumes they would wear and the matching shoes for it. Furthermore, the team had to pay for the ticket to the Salsa Festival which comes in a package of workshops and night parties over three days.  Fortunately, performers were given a discount on the festival ticket.

They would fly budget airlines and share accommodation to save cost.  What Nora did not realise was that all expenses would be borne by her.  Nevertheless, having committed to it, she went ahead with the training.  The training was demanding but she kept up with it.

When the day came for them to fly to Bangkok, everyone was excited and the energy levels were at an all-time high at the airport.  Fortunately, they performed on the first day of the festival, so they could enjoy the party the following evening.

It was an exhilarating three days for Nora as it was her first time.  She felt that the performance went well.  She had the time of her life with her friends.  They went for massages in the day and shopping after that.

When she arrived home, she was exhausted from so much enjoyment.  Nora slept the whole of the day she got home. The next day, she decided to jot down what she spent on for the performance.  When she completed the list, she had the shock of her life.  She had a sinking feeling she overdid her expenses this time round.  When she agreed to perform she did not realise that there were costs she had not expected.

Here is how her list looked like:

Ticket for the festival at performer’s discount                                 RM300

Training classes for 3 months                                                               RM360

Cost of costume, inclusive of accessories                                          RM250

Cost of new pair of matching dance shoes                                       RM200

Promo air ticket to Bangkok on budget airline                                 RM300

3 nights accommodation at budget hotel, twin sharing                  RM360

Airport transfer, food & meals, shopping, etc                                 RM250

TOTAL                           RM2,020  


“Oh dear”, she thought.  “I really have to tighten my belt for the next few months”.  Swiping her credit card was easy, but paying back for unexpected expenses was painful.

Her calculations showed that she will have to eat economical meals, keep strictly to her budget, stop classes for another three months and cut going out with friends during that period.  This is so that she can meet her expenses and continue giving an allowance to her parents.

The lesson Nora learned was that she should do her homework and do up a budget before she agrees to future performances.  Good money management and discipline is the foundation of achieving your financial goals in life.












About Author

Chief Executive Officer Financial Planning Association of Malaysia

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