Salsa Classes: Never feel OVERWHELMED!
Dancing was scary for me. When I first took classes I was uncomfortable with my body after years of being overweight. I had a medical condition called hyperhidrosis, which caused my palms to sweat profusely. There were a lot of cards stacked against me. I was scared and uncomfortable and I definitely did not feel like I belonged on the dance floor. I was overwhelmed when taking Salsa.
Of course, that changed over time. I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed at your first Salsa class. Here are three tips and tricks to help you feel confident and not overwhelmed.
I put so much pressure on myself that I was overwhelmed in Salsa classes. If I nailed down the moves, then I would be successful. But I didn’t have rhythm and it was hard for me. So I just became even more overwhelmed and nervous and made it harder on myself.
So when I’m teaching I stress that what you really need is openness and vulnerability. Let go of the idea of how you should look or what you should achieve in an hour and Salsa classes become more fun. That’s why you joined – to have fun, learn to dance, connect with others and do something just for yourself.
Your dance class is your gift to yourself. If you remember why you are dancing and you have a great instructor and a great school, you will not feel overwhelmed and you will learn. I was my own biggest obstacle when I was learning. I forgot to enjoy the process and instead listened to my inner judgemental voice that berated me every time I missed a move.
During my classes, I remind my students that a Salsa song lasts around four minutes, which means they have approximately two hundred chances to get a single right turn down. So statistically, everybody can get one out of a hundred or one out of fifty or one out of twenty.
It may not be possible to nail down every move, but the more your dance, the better your odds. Approaching dance with loving, gentle energy and quieting a judgmental voice will help you recognize your wins and feel less overwhelmed.
Salsa and other Latin dances rely on partner work. So don’t forget there is a person in front of you. You’re touching hands. It is an opportunity to connect with another human being that you just met on the dance floor, your partner or anyone. It doesn’t matter. We all crave connection and belonging.
So many times as a student, I just focused on myself and nailing down a move that I kept missing chances to get to know some fantastic human beings or as couples get to know each other more. Salsa and all Latin dances are a chance to build connections. You are not dancing alone – you have a built-in support system in your dance partner. If you remember that, you won’t feel as overwhelmed when Salsa dancing.
Practice your Basics
On our Website, there’s a special section called Salsa Songs, where we offer a playlist for beginners so they can practise their basics even if they are home alone. If you know your basics, Salsa becomes much less overwhelming. Imagine how difficult it would be to go swimming with friends but you don’t even know how to float. Dancing Salsa is no different. You need to know the basics. So when I started dancing, I would practice my basics, forward and back and side to side after every class.
Practicing your basics will increase your muscle memory, which will increase your confidence and ability to learn new moves. So you will feel less overwhelmed if you can rely on muscle memory to do your basics. These minutes of practice can make a big difference in closing the gap, especially for people like me who require longer to learn to feel confident dancing.
Ultimately, coming in with the right mindset, remembering that Salsa is about connection, and putting in the time to practice will help you improve and thus make you confident on the dance floor. And you can’t be overwhelmed if you are confident when dancing Salsa.
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].