When I first looked for a Salsa class, I wanted to learn to dance, but I wasn’t confident. I didn’t grow up dancing, and it was hard to choose where I should start, so let’s make it simple to help you pick the right school in Toronto.

There are six things you should look for based on your lifestyle and your schedule.

First criteria: Consistency versus flexibility. 

Your regular job schedule is a good reference.  If your job has a predictable schedule and you can make your dance class part of the routine, you want to sign up for a school with a consistent schedule where you come in every week and progress in your learning. Developing your ability is just one of several benefits as there are many. For example, you will build meaningful connections with your classmates. In addition, you will have a consistent teacher and a consistent experience.

There’s nothing as satisfying as knowing that you’ve leveled up week by week and realizing that those moves you struggled with last week now feel smoother.

There are also reasons you may pick a school that has drop-ins. One is a work schedule that constantly changes beyond your control, like a Police Officer or a Chef. These jobs would not allow you to commit to a fixed schedule, and you may have a more flexible schedule with drop-in mode. Also, if you want to sample different kinds of dances, then a drop-in class is a good choice.

I have experienced both drop-in classes and consistent classes. However, I find that scheduled courses provide a  better experience because you obtain constant learning, create better rapport with your teacher, and develop a stronger connection with your classmates.

If none of the attendance modes work well for you, you can always find private lessons. They are more expensive but can be flexible as there are just two schedules to consider, yours and your instructor’s. You do learn faster, and you get one-on-one attention.

Second Criteria: Your reasons to take classes matter. 

Every time a new student joins my school, I ask: Why are you taking classes? Of course, your why doesn’t have to be meaningful, but it is a good idea to identify what inspired you to take dance classes.

During all these years, there’ve been many reasons that I’ve heard from my students, most of which can come down to three reasons. The most common one is that they just want to have fun, unwind their day, and have personal time. The second reason is, they love listening to Latin music, and they want to be able to dance to it. A third popular reason to take dance classes is coming from vacations, impressed by people dancing Salsa or Bachata who inspired them to learn these rhythms. A consistent schedule is recommended if you are in any of these categories.

Finally, if you want to perform at a higher level, then you should follow the path of private lessons or performance teams. Amateur performance teams and Pro-Am teams are focused on nailing down and crushing the moves. Then you want to pick a school that focuses on competition performance and drilling.

But if you’re looking to have fun, connect and have some self-care. Then you want to pick a school where fun, connection, culture, community, and family come first.

Third criteria:  Pay attention to the culture of the school. 

In our school, our Credo is “Entertain, Educate and Evolve” and that is how we prepare our clases and approach teaching. For example, we know that every student wants to learn to dance. They just have different abilities and skill levels.

We are not the type of school where we are drilling moves repeatedly, as this can frustrate students and make them quit before they feel progress. Instead, we want you to dance at your pace, but we gently encourage you to improve to reach the point where you can experience the real freedom, joy, and flow that comes with practice and solid foundations.

Fourth criteria:   Location, Location. Location.

I’m fortunate and blessed that there are students who will travel for over an hour by car or public transportation just to come to our studio, which is impressive. But I understand that location and distance are essential considerations.

Having easy access, parking available, and a safe place makes a big difference when attending any event. For example, when I started taking dance classes at Toronto Dance Salsa, I took two buses to get here.  Now, I’m within walking distance, but I’m familiar with the hustle of long-distance, so I’ve taken as many measures as possible to facilitate students’ attendance.

Therefore,  we decided to be in a prime location to offer convenience to our students. You can get off the subway, go upstairs, and be in minutes in our studio.  We know parking is expensive, so we validate parking for an hour and a half if you’re driving. We want to take care of our dancers as much as we can.

Fifth criteria: Support and resources. 

Being part of a school is much more than attending a one-hour class. Think about what happens before and after classes. We believe that it is essential to support our students beyond their lessons. Therefore, we have weekly newsletters to keep them informed about our news and any changes that might impact their program. In addition, we offer weekly social events to encourage our students to dance and have more of a sense of community, which is missing in our North American culture.

Moreover, we maintain our YouTube channel, with tons of content of videos and movies that you can watch and learn from for free or our Instagram channel, where we share inspirational quotes and videos. And you can follow along with me in my journey to being healthier, physically, mentally and spiritually.

The quality of a school can be tested by resources like Google Reviews, mouth-to-mouth references and the length that a school has been active. Use them. They will offer an impartial view of a school.

Sixth criteria: To choose the right partner, you got to listen to your heart.

A dance school is a living and breathing thing. And so when you pick a dance school in my heart, I believe it’s like choosing a partner. You will have your wins and your misses, and that’s okay, but you want someone who appreciates you, not only your skills, sees your potential, shares your values, challenges you, and offers comfort and happiness. So what kind of partner do you want to want in your life?

So when in doubt, listen to your heart and start right away, gain momentum to experience all the benefits of dancing. The most important thing is deciding to get out of your comfort. If you get it wrong, change schools, choose a different type of dance, try a different schedule but never, never stop dancing.

I can’t wait to welcome you to our big family, have you coming in week to week, having fun, connecting with new friends and letting lose 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].