Become a More Confident Salsa Dancer

Whether you are a beginner or a more seasoned Salsa dancer, we all wish we had more confidence on the dance floor. Developing confidence requires personal growth, and luckily, I have a few quick tips to help you become a more confident Salsa dancer.

Salsa Shines 

Shines are individual moves performed without a partner. During a shine, the leader releases the follower, and both dancers showcase their solo skills for a few sets of basic steps. It’s an opportunity to express yourself through footwork, hand movements, and body motion, syncing with the music. Imagine it as a brief moment of spectacular movements lasting five to ten seconds.

I must admit that I initially disliked doing shines. My confidence relied on how much my partner was enjoying the dance, and it felt easier to gauge their satisfaction when we were connected. However, when you let go of your partner and stand alone in front of them, you have to fully show up. There’s no place to hide. It requires effort, but it’s worth it. At Toronto Dance Salsa, we teach Salsa shines from Level Two to Level Six. 

Start with memorizing two or three different shines and try to use them when social dancing. Knowing that you do not have to rely on your partner will increase your confidence as a Salsa dancer. 

Dancing on Beat 

It is hard to be confident if you are dancing off-beat. It took me a long time to learn how to stay on beat, both in classes and at socials and clubs. If you visit the Toronto Dance Salsa website, you will find a Salsa playlist created specifically for beginners. This playlist will help you develop a better sense of the rhythm of Salsa.

So how can you improve your ability to listen and dance on beat? If you’re dancing Los Angeles-style Salsa or “Salsa on one,” a useful tip is to pay attention to the singer or the instruments when they intensify or increase in volume. Think of that exciting moment when the singer raises their vocals, the pitch rises, and the instruments reach a crescendo. Often, that corresponds to the one beat. For leaders, it’s the beat where they step forward with their left foot, while followers step back with their right.

Another way to enhance your sense of rhythm is by actively listening to Salsa music. Play Salsa tunes while cooking or whenever possible, and tap your foot or hand along with the beat. Dancing on beat is crucial. I prefer to dance with a beginner who stays on beat rather than an advanced dancer who struggles with timing. So if you are confident in your timing, your confidence as a Salsa dancer will improve. 

Take More Classes 

Taking more classes might sound obvious, but even as someone who runs a dance school, I still participate in workshops with advanced dancers to continuously learn and grow. If you’re not expanding your skills and knowledge, you’re likely losing them. So, if you want to boost your confidence, take more classes or consider private lessons. Private lessons are particularly beneficial for refining your technique and addressing any bad habits. Ultimately, spending time with people who possess greater expertise and are willing to assist you in improving will increase your confidence as a Salsa dancer. Confidence stems from competence.

So those are my three simple tips to improve your confidence as a Salsa dancer; learn a few shines, make sure you can dance on beat and keep learning.

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