House music may still be the defining factor in Hong Kong nightlife but clubbers ought to beware - they could very well get run off the dance-floor by a couple doing the tango or the Charleston, or more likely, the salsa. Hong Kong's fascination with Latin America; the music, the dance-steps, the food and the cigars, is not new. This salsa fever, evident in the salsa nights popping up across Hong Kong, is also part of a bigger trend. Increasingly, venues are catering to people who are not interested in strobe-lit rooms packed with sweaty, inebriated clubbers. JJ's is one venue trying to capitalise on this, with its Sunday Swing. Featuring Dixieland jazz during its lunch set, a big band tea dance and Latin jazz for the dinner set, the Sunday package is quite a departure. The Wan Chai nightspot is known for its American R&B bands and its dance- floor is usually associated with house music, not the rhumba. 'The venue was free; we were closed on Sundays so we figured why not?' said the Grand Hyatt's executive assistant manager for food and beverage, Richard Greaves. According to Mr Greaves, although it's still early days, there is enough of a demand for this form of entertainment to warrant keeping the club open for an extra day. 'It's the whole package. It makes for a profitable exercise providing we get the turnout ,' he said. 'One thing that's missing in Hong Kong is this kind of entertainment, the old big band, so many people love it. We see it in the ballroom functions that we do; it's extremely popular. Dance schools across Hong Kong are doing rip-roaring trade with socialites and lovers of this kind of music.' It's the tea dance - featuring Tony Carpio's 20-piece Big Band - that is the most successful segment attracting dance instructors and people hoping to brush up their ballroom dancing skills. Although the event was only launched in the middle of last month, it already has its regulars. One of these is dance instructor Teresa Wood. 'It's fabulous, absolutely amazing,' Ms Wood says of Carpio's band. She is just one of several local dance instructors who have taken to this new event. With a packed dance-floor, it is evident that the clientele are excited to see a venue catering to this style of music. 'It's nice to get away and dance with my partner,' said Ms Wood, who teaches ballroom dancing in her own studio. Ms Wood has been attempting to persuade other establishments to jump on the big band bandwagon. With the exception of JJ's and a few lobby lounges, the only other venue with a live big band is the Convention Centre's Trader's Grill, which features the John Hubbard Swingtet. 'A lot of my students have been complaining that there is nowhere to go. So I've been going out and saying to places 'hey, we're in a recession here, there are no tourists. Do something for the people who live here.' People here work hard and get stressed, [dancing] is regenerating and relaxing,' Ms Wood said. With her own classes, Ms Wood has seen that ballroom dancing is becoming more popular, particularly in the 25-45 age range. She has also seen an increase in the proportion of local Chinese. 'It's about 60 per cent expatriate, 40 per cent Chinese. When I first started here  it was 95 per cent gweilo,' she said. According to Mr Greaves, JJ's is tapping into a market that thus far has not received too much attention. 'I don't think people are getting fed up with discos . . . I just think it's a completely different crowd and market. A lot of people become very sentimental and they want to go back to things that were popular once upon a time.' Much more decadent is the weekly salsa night at the Viceroy. The crowd here is a little younger and, with the exception of the salsa class right before, is much less structured. Dance instructor Bo Ko Si Lui held his first salsa night in Hong Kong just over a year ago. Since then, nights have been launched at La Placita, Club 97, Dillinger's and Westworld. The self-described Salsero has noticed, like Ms Wood, that more local Chinese are starting to respond to this style of music. 'In the beginning it was five per cent Chinese. Nowadays, it's about 30 per cent Chinese to 70 per cent cosmopolitan, and that proportion is slowly augmenting in favour of the Chinese. 'But at the same time I don't want it to boom suddenly, I want it to be cosmopolitan,' he said. Mr Bo attributes the relatively small numbers of local Chinese at his Viceroy parties to cultural reasons and lack of exposure. 'Most of the local Chinese haven't heard of salsa,' he said. 'The Chinese have no dance culture, we just eat. They care a lot about losing face; they are less spontaneous, especially the men. In the course, there are usually more women.' With the exception of house music fans, Mr Bo says that there is only one other dance sub-culture in the Chinese community; ballroom dancing. 'They have a very stiff idea about dance, they are the 'show-off' types. It's a close circle among friends, the dances are not at all spontaneous, they don't care so much about the music, but they care about the form of dance,' he said. 'For me, salsa dancing is what you feel for the music, what the music makes you do, how it moves you.' Mr Bo is not the only one who is being moved by salsa. The night is doing exceptionally well. Turnout on average is between 300 and 400 people, about half of whom return regularly. Except for the pained expressions on the faces of some who just can't get the step right, the event is relaxed and lacking much of the pretentiousness rampant in many night-clubs. Salsa convert Kennis, born and raised in Hong Kong but who recently moved back here from the UK, is hooked. 'I like Latin American music, it's a good atmosphere, much deeper than the clubs. I will definitely come back again,' she said. JJ's Sunday Swing: Tea Dance with Tony Carpio's Big Band, 3.30-6.30pm, $125 per person. Call 2588-1234, ext. 7323 Viceroy Salsa! Fiesta, Fridays at 10.30pm (free class at 9.30pm) $120. Call 2632-5269 La Placita Salsa Viva! Sundays at 6.30pm. $100 includes lesson, $80 without. Call 2506-3308 Salsa Web-page: www.cs.ust . hk/dekai/salsa Teresa Wood studio, 2987-0592.