I started dancing with two left feet. So when I started taking Salsa classes for the first time, I felt intimidated and overwhelmed. I felt like I was being judged all the time, and most of what I thought was wrong because when you pick the right school, everything else gets easier.

So here are some things you need to look for in the curriculum and school to ensure you have a good time and feel confident when you step onto the dance floor.

One:  Singles versus couples. 

I’m very enthusiastic about couples taking Salsa classes because I know that dancing Salsa creates the opportunity to bond and be playful.  Coming as a couple for a Salsa class does not mean dating; A couple means you’re dancing only with this person instead of being in rotation and dancing with other students. You’re not rotating because you believe you’re just going to have fun with them. We’ve had mothers and daughters taking classes together where one leads and the other follows.

Taking classes as a couple gives you flexibility in the schools you attend.  because you would not have to be concerned with bouncing numbers. If, on the other hand, you are taking Salsa classes alone, pick a school that cares about having the number of dancers even, so everyone can have an opportunity to dance and learn.

It is a big misconception that you can’t take Salsa classes if you are not in a couple. On the contrary, being single it’s a great way to connect with people with the same interest; you just have to ensure that your classes are not drop-in, to maximize the chances to dance.

For example, our school has a curriculum-based system, and we work hard to balance numbers.  So once a week, students come for one hour and we organize each class to avoid a disparity between leaders and followers. A class with a lot-of leaders standing around and not doing anything is a bad experience.

Moreover, you come in with the same classmates, which helps you to feel comfortable.

So when you’re dancing on your own, call the school that interests you to find out what kind of system they have to ensure you have a partner.

Two:  The moves you need to learn. 

At a beginner’s level, every dance school needs to teach the right turn, the left turn, the cross body lead, the cross body lead with a turn, and small combinations.  These moves are the foundation of Salsa and the most common on the dance floor.

As a beginner, I used to think that dancing Salsa was about doing fancy dips and fast spinning. However, after so many years of teaching, I can assure you that 60% to 70% of the moves you execute in a Salsa dance are the basic moves.

So there is no need to feel overwhelmed,  knowing your basics will make Salsa a fun experience. You don’t need to overwhelm your partner either. If you have your basic moves and these little bursts of exciting surprises that you gift your partner, both will enjoy your moment together.

So when looking into a school, ask them about the curriculum. Ask them.. if I finish a beginner class, can I go to a nightclub and dance a song or two? And the answer should be YES!

At our school, when you finish off Nightclub Level One, you have moves to dance to one or two songs because you have enough knowledge to lead and follow.

Three:  It’s all about the fun.

What cemented my experience as a dancer is that my instructor never made me feel intimidated. I started dancing at TDS, the school I now run. As a beginner student, I felt stressed and nervous; however, my instructor and volunteers always made jokes and made the experience fun.

Not taking things too seriously took away the pressure and facilitated learning. I think what makes or breaks an experience is the culture you’re signing up for, not the dance moves or style of dance you’re learning.

When selecting a dance school, read the Google reviews of that school. What are other students saying? Then, before signing up for a class, call and ask the school what your school model is?

In our school, we focus on fun first, then education and then on helping people live their best life by helping them to evolve. We go beyond being their cheerleaders and teaching dance moves; we want to inspire our students so they can enjoy their hour of fun and reflect and sprinkle that into their life.

Finally, Salsa changed my life, saved my life, and redirected my whole future, and honestly, if you haven’t started yet, I can say that joining TDS  was the best decision I’ve ever made. I found my family; I found my community. I found my mission and purpose and my happy place.

You’re not taking a class to be the best dancer; you’re joining because you want to feel confident, sexy and freer in your body. Also, you want to be part of a community. Dancing is just a beautiful tool.  Nailing your moves would not make you confident. I think confidence always comes from hard work in a good environment where you’re having fun.

I can’t wait to welcome you to our big family, have you come in week to week, have fun, connect with new friends and let loose to amazing Latin songs. Click here to check our current schedule.

If you have any questions you would like me to answer here are some ways you can contact me: message me on Instagram (torontodanceSalsa), on Twitter (#torontodanceSalsa), on Facebook (Toronto Dance Salsa) or email me at [email protected].