Become a More Confident Salsa Dancer
Whether you’ve just started taking Salsa classes or have been taking Salsa classes for a while, confidence is something we all want more of both on the dance floor and off. Confidence comes through a lot of self-work. So here are a few tips to become a more confident Salsa dancer.
Shines are any moves that you do solo. A leader will let go of the follower and both the leader and the follower do solo moves for a couple of sets of basics. You do a solo routine involving your feet, hands and upper body that allows you to ebb and flow to the music. Think of it as five to ten seconds of super awesome movements.
Shines can be very intimidating at the beginning. My confidence depended on how much my partner was smiling and it was easier to know my partner was smiling when I was holding on. When you let go of your partner and are just there in front of them, you have to show up. You can’t hide. It’s hard work and it’s worth it. At Toronto Dance Salsa we teach Salsa shines starting in Level 2 and continue to add more to your repertoire up to Level 6.
We start by focussing on one easy-to-learn move that you can do a solo for a couple of seconds. It is the start of your journey to Salsa Shines. If you are nervous or hesitant to do shines, a quick tip is to pick two to three solo movements, memorize them and whenever you go dancing, just keep repeating those movements. This way, you don’t feel overwhelmed if you forget,
Dancing on Beat
It’s hard to be confident if you are dancing off-beat. It took me a long time to learn to dance on beat – both in class and at socials and clubs. If you visit the Toronto Dance Salsa website, I’ve created a Salsa playlist for absolute beginners. This playlist will allow you to start hearing the beat.
So how do you get better at listening and dancing on beat? If you are dancing LA-style Salsa or sometimes called “on one”, an easy tip is to listen to the singer or the instruments increasing in intensity or volume. Think of that exciting moment in a song when the singer starts raising their vocals, the pitch goes up and the instruments hit a crescendo. Anywhere in the music where the energy rises, that’s usually the one beat. The one is the beat where leaders step forward with the left foot and followers step back with the right.
Another way to get better at dancing on beat is to actively listen to music. Put on some Salsa music as you’re cooking or whenever you can and with your foot or your hand, start to tap to the beat. Dancing on beat is important. I would rather dance with a beginner who dances on beat than an advanced dancer who is off-beat.
Take More Classes
I know it seems obvious. But even as someone who runs a dance school, I do workshops with advanced dancers to continue to learn and grow. If you’re not growing and learning, you tend to be losing your skills. So if you want to be more confident, take more classes, or do private lessons. Private lessons are great for refining and cleaning up some of the bad habits. Ultimately, I believe that when you’re spending time with people who know more than you and are willing to help you by pulling you up, you get more confident. Confidence comes from competence.
So to become a more confident Salsa dancer learn some Salsa shines, make sure you can dance on beat and take more lessons. You will be flowing across the dance floor in no time.
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