I was the biggest dummy. I had the most challenging time learning Salsa. I felt I had two left feet, and now I can’t believe I am the Director of the school where I started dancing. So I’m qualified to congratulate you on your decision to learn. You’re not a dummy. Still, I want to share the top Salsa dancing tips for dummies.

Tip one:  Take classes. 

I can’t stress this enough; I encourage you to take classes but make sure you take courses in a school where the instructor and the school make you feel good about yourself.

I would like to share a true story with you. Several days ago, before I wrote this blog, someone came into my studio for an assessment. This person was already taking dance classes at another school, and after we talked and we figured out exactly what he should be doing to improve his dancing, he said, you know, your energy is different. Y replied what does he mean? He said I don’t know; you are friendly, and your school is different from my other school, where everybody was so serious and just put so much pressure on everyone. I didn’t feel like there was any pressure around you.

Based on my own experience as a student, I know it is essential to attend a dance class focused on fun because the worst thing ever is having an instructor who makes you feel like a dummy when you are learning to coordinate your moves. Instructors or volunteers who are too judgemental will not encourage you to continue dancing. I know that because I was a dummy in dancing, maybe you are too.

Fortunately, when I was a student here at my school, my instructor and the school’s volunteers made me feel like a champion despite my skill level. They celebrated with me and lifted me when I was down on myself.  And there’s a lot to be said about the culture when picking schools.

Tip two. Do your basic Salsa steps. 

After four or five classes, beginner students will come to me to find out how to improve their dancing; they want to do it better and easier.

My answer is boring, but it’s the advice that has helped the most. I tell my students that I can make Salsa exciting, fun to learn and accessible to anyone willing to learn, but I don’t make Salsa easier. Instead, I tell them to visit our website. There’s a beginner playlist for Salsa that they can use to start dancing in their room by themselves. The more you can do the basic steps automatically, the easier dance comes.

A fun exercise you can do is calling a friend and turning on Salsa songs.  Test if you can keep dancing on beat while carrying on a conversation. If not, you need to keep practicing your basics. That’s what I did at the end of my level one. And I had to practice repeatedly and repeatedly before I felt comfortable dancing and talking. But when I finally was able to socialize while dancing, I realized that although I didn’t have a talent, I gained skill through hard work.

Third tip: Get the foundation of basic turns.

When I was a student, I was obsessed with learning the tricks, dips, and fancy moves because I thought that would make my partners happy. I thought that was what would make me look fabulous and feel confident. But despite all the fancy moves learned from YouTube, I still felt stiff and awkward. So then I decided to start doing private lessons and realized that my basic moves, right turn, left turn, how I lead and how I followed, were not done correctly.

I didn’t have a good foundation because you initially stay at the surface level whenever you learn something new. But when I started to get to knitting gritty, I began to feel confident.

So focus on foundation, focus on repetition of basic steps, and enjoy dance class. All in all, you’re no dummy. I felt I couldn’t dance for most of my life, so I know how you feel, but never give up and keep dancing.

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].