First things first … EVERYONE, every people dancing Salsa, including the sassiest salsera in that flirty red dress, had to take that same first step.
How do you, people dancing Salsa, ever find the courage?
We have all walked into the studio and thought: “What if I don’t ever learn the basic step? What if no one asks me to dance?”
And, even when we do get asked to dance, we often think to ourselves, “Well, he/she is only dancing with me to be nice. He/she isn’t REALLY enjoying this.”
Dancing is about having a good time. It is about feeling the music, not with your feet, but with your heart. It is about focusing on the person in front of you on the dance floor and enjoying getting to know them. A dance is a conversation through music and touch.
Let’s first focus on the people dancing Salsa in classroom
When you come to class, it is a good idea to get there a few minutes early. This gives you time to change shoes, get a drink, greet your fellow salseros, or practice some of those tips from last lessons.
If a class is already in session, please be considerate and keep conversations quiet so as not to disturb the instructor teaching. There is nothing more frustrating as an instructor than trying to be heard over social conversations. It is very inconsiderate to those who have paid for that class. This also applies to classes in which you are a student.
If you are in a class, please be respectful both of the instructor and your fellow students. Depending on the class, some information may be a review of a move or technique you already know, especially with people dancing Salsa for a few years.
While you may have mastered the back-spot turn, there may be other students who have not. They want to learn FROM THE INSTRUCTOR how they can master it too. Again, they have paid for the instructor to teach them. A single person who is not focused can disrupt an entire class. If this happens frequently, dancers become frustrated and you may lose the opportunity to dance with someone who is really fun (and/or cute!). If you think you can help a fellow dancer, please do so AFTER class.
There is always time before or after class
Instructors always provide music and time after class in which to ask questions, help other students or just spend time practicing. As time goes by and you become the next Jayson Molina, you will develop your own style, combinations and ways of moving.
Street-style Salsa allows for a great degree of individuality. That is part of its beauty and appeal. While individuality is a wonderful thing in the club, please keep an open mind in class. Just because you have a spinning technique that works for you, that doesn’t mean another technique doesn’t work just as well for someone else.
- As dancers (and instructors), we must keep an open mind. When we become rigid and think our way is the only way, we risk becoming dated and stagnant.
- As dancers, we must constantly be evolving.
- As an instructor, I often teach several techniques for the same move.
We learn something from every technique. Even they are the ones we don’t like or may already know. Additionally, no matter how big the dance floor or how few students are in the class, please stay off the dance floor until the class has ended.
If you get to the studio early and want to practice, there are practice studios available.
You took that shot of Jack and got through your first Salsa class. What next?
- Are studio parties a good idea for people dancing Salsa at the beginner level?
- I’ve only had one lesson, will I be welcome at a party or club?
ABSOLUTELY!! I often refer to my fellow salseros as “my Salsa family”. That is from the heart.
Attitude, attitude, your Salsa dancing attitude!
Salsa social dance floor is a safe, relaxing place where Salsa lovers can come to dance, talk, eat, and just have a good time. You each bring a special gift with your presence. No matter who the dancer, at some point they had to ask/accept that first dance. It is considered polite to ask everyone to dance.
Yes, that includes you, ladies!
Men are often very intimidated asking a beautiful lady to dance (and you are all beautiful salseras on the dance floor). Nothing brightens a man’s evening more than a woman placing her trust in him and asking him to dance. We should all feel flattered when we are asked to dance. Just to be asked is a compliment.
If you must decline an invitation to dance, please give a reason.
Would you find the courage to ask someone to dance again if they simply said ‘no’ and turned away?
It is ok to say ‘no’, just be considerate.
- If your feet hurt or you have a blister, say so.
- If you are out of breath or need a drink, let the person know and ask them to ask you again later.
Above all, the single most important thing on the dance floor is to smile! Smiling is more important than what you wear, if your feet are in the right place, or if you know the most intricate choreography. Your smile is your greatest weapon on the dance floor. Dancing is not about perfection. People dancing Salsa don’t care much about showing off. It is the blend of beautiful mistakes!
Taking care of personal hygiene
Many of us have very busy schedules and we make time in our lives because we love Salsa. On class nights, there is just enough time for me to get from work to class, change and be ready to go. Because my time is so limited, some forethought is key. I make it a habit to keep my dance bag packed and in my car.
Yes, GUYS, you can have a dance bag too.
My bag includes my dance shoes, extra socks, moleskin, band-aids, deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, gum and spray antiperspirant. Because dancing does require a relatively high degree of closeness, it is always a good idea to put on some extra deodorant (for all those dames!) and give a little extra attention to our teeth and breath. Besides, being able to confidently flash those pearly whites makes you even more irresistible!
Feet are very important as well. I keep spray antiperspirant for my feet. This is a trick that I picked up from a suggestion by the US Army. Spray antiperspirant keeps your feet from sweating. Sweaty feet tend to move in shoes and all that friction causes blisters.
One last tip, while we want to smell good for the class, we can go to the opposite extreme. Too much perfume can be just as bad as not enough attention to personal hygiene.
Remember, dancing is the blend of beautiful mistakes.
Viva la Salsa!
You might want to check other articles about Salsa dance attitude and experiences on the dance floor. They are quite useful, to be honest.