Salsa Classes: Never feel OVERWHELMED!

Dancing was scary for me. When I first joined,  I was uncomfortable with my body after years of being overweight. I had a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. There were a lot of cards stacked against me, so I just remember how nervous I was and how scared and uncomfortable and I didn’t feel like I belonged on a dance floor.

Of course, that has changed over time. So I want to make sure I help you feel confident and not overwhelmed when you join the first dance class. So here are three tips and tricks to keep in mind when taking your Salsa lessons, especially as a beginner.

First tip:  Apply the right mindset as a beginner dancer.

When I joined, I kept thinking that what would make me successful was when I nailed down the moves because I was desperate. I was a guy who didn’t have rhythm; I was a guy who felt uncomfortable going to regular clubs. So there’s a lot to be said but what I stress in my classes is openness and vulnerability and the idea that if you just come in, letting go of any expectation of how you should look within an hour or two hours, it just becomes more fun.

When taking dance lessons, remember, you’re probably there to have fun, not only just to learn to dance and maybe to connect with others and turn off your brain from all the responsibilities.

Your dance class is your gift to yourself. You should enjoy it with confidence because when you are with a great instructor and a school with a great culture, the learning will happen no matter what. For me, and probably is the same for you, the biggest obstacle to learning and enjoying the process was the inner judgmental voice that kept holding me back 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.

There may not be possible to nail down every move, but the more your dance, the better your chances to raise the number of times you feel more successful. Approaching dance with loving, gentle energy and quieting a judgmental voice will help you recognize your wins and feel less overwhelmed.

Second Tip: Connect with your partner. 

What makes Latin dance styles unique if compared with Hip Hop or other solo dance styles is you are dancing with someone, so don’t forget that there is another human being. There is a person right in front of you, you’re touching their hands, and It’s an opportunity for you to connect with someone. That someone can be someone you met on the dance floor or your partner with whom you have been feeling distant.

So many times as a student, I just focused on myself and nailing down a move that  I kept missing the chances to get to know some fantastic human beings or as couples get to know each other more. So, make sure you remember that and ground yourself in the idea that dance is a chance for connection.

The turns, patterns and dips are fantastic, but what elevates all that is you’re doing it with someone. So, don’t forget that.

Third tip: Practise 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.

Think about how hard it would be to go biking with a friend if you can’t even keep your feet on the pedals and can’t stay upright. I knew that, so when I started dancing, I would go to the park near me after every dance class to practice my basics, forward and back and side to side.

So I can’t stress this enough: practicing your basics will increase your muscle memory, which will increase your confidence and ability to learn new moves. 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.

Salsa is the amount of time you put in. Since I recognized myself as a slow learner, I knew this would be harder for me,  but I knew the gap was not in talent. The gap is in skill, and you can’t get skillful unless you put in the time.

So, on top of connecting with others and making sure that you’re approaching the right mindset of having fun and quieting that negative voice, you just want to put in the time. Like when exercising in the gym, some people will see a difference in their body within a week or two weeks, and for some may take six months. We all have our own pace, but I always say that if you are diligent and consistent, you will always see the results. And ultimately, as you see the results, you won’t feel overwhelmed.

So, How do you not get overwhelmed? Practice your basics

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].