What Makes a Good Salsa Dancer?
We have all seen amazing Salsa dancers. They look effortless on the dance floor. They just flow and vibe and connect with their partners. If you want to look like those dancers you see, I have some tricks to share with you. So from the leader’s perspective, here are three things that you want to do to offer an enjoyable experience to every dancing partner.
Dancing on Beat
When I first started dancing, I didn’t have rhythm and I was constantly off-beat. I’m sure it was painful for my followers. Despite so many people trying to teach it to me, it took me some time to find a simple way to practice dancing to the beat and now I teach it to my students. The easiest way to learn to dance on beat in Salsa is by listening to more Salsa music and exposing yourself to it constantly.
To find the “One” beat (the beat you start with in L.A.-Style Salsa) listen for a rise in the energy of the music. The singer or instruments will get a little louder and more emphatic. Even if you’re dancing to a different beat, for example, New York-style Salsa (also known as “dancing on two”), you can still apply the same method to find the first beat.
Our website has a beginner-friendly playlist to help attune your ear to Salsa music and find the “One”. You can also ask your partner for feedback. As a beginner, when I was social dancing, I would ask my partner to let me know if I was off-beat. Dancing on beat is the first step in making you a good Salsa dancer. It takes practice, but you will get there.
Continue Improving your Basics
After years of dancing, I continue attending Conventions and Congresses, and one of my goals is to polish my basics by asking the masters of dance to review how I am doing my basic steps and my basic turns. Continually refining my basics allows me to improve the timing for each move and makes it a better experience for me and my partner.
If you have your basics down, you can take an unconfident follower and lead them in a dance where you will both feel great. That’s the benefit, of giving someone the best experience possible while feeling the joy of doing something you love.
So it’s the eternal game of growth. Repeating Level One Salsa or getting one-on-one coaching to improve your basic steps and turns is worth the extra time. Having a strong foundation gives you the confidence to do more advanced moves and makes you a better Salsa dancer.
Remember You Are There to Serve
Earlier I described good Salsa dancers as people who connect, flow and vibe with their partners. The only way you can do this is to focus on your partner. When I first started social dancing, I was eager to try new moves but I didn’t even consider if my partner was ready for them. I often tried moves that neither my partner nor I were ready for. So we both left the dance feeling frustrated. And so when you’re dancing with someone, don’t focus on yourself.
As a leader, you are there to serve your partner. We are always happy when we serve others. It’s just you and your partner there to connect and have a good time on the dance floor. So instead of focussing on the fancy tricks and dips, concentrate on smiling and encouraging them. Your partner will walk away with a smile. And they will want to dance with you again because you made them feel good. And isn’t that what we all want – to be such good Salsa dancers that everyone wants to dance with us?
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]