There’s something you realise pretty quickly when you start to learn dancing. And that’s that the quest for perfection is futile.
I’ve always been a high achiever…a perfectionist who was never content to go through through life being mediocre at anything, so this has been a tough realisation.
All or nothing.
Do or die.
When it dawned on me that I wasn’t always going to get everything straight away it hit me like a brick. Realising that I was going to have to repeat the same thing over and over badly in order to gain the experience and body connection that would enable me to do it well – to recognise what “good” felt and looked like.
Learning the lesson that it wasn’t a race to get to the end product was even harder. A dancer is never the finished article. The journey is more important than the destination…and what you learn about yourself along the way as a result.
For me, it was a big realisation that it was ok to struggle and flounder for a while. That it was ok to engage with a steep learning curve by taking several runs at it, getting a little further each time, rather than trying to launch myself all the way to the top at the very first attempt.
There will always be someone better than you. But in reality, unless you are dancing competitively, no one is really judging you. Sure, you may worry that you haven’t led or followed well, or met the expectations of the person you’re dancing with. But in reality, a dance is a fleeting few minutes in a whole evening. When it’s over it’s over, along with that person’s thoughts and feelings about it, and you (mostly).
This means that success in Salsa can be very subjective, and entirely on your terms.
What other people think of your dancing isn’t really that important (unless you’re paying them to teach you). It’s also important to realise that what anyone thinks of your dancing is no reflection on what they think of you as a person.
What matters most is how you feel about yourself as a result of learning, and how you feel when you engage with different partners on the dance floor.
Some will want to get as good as they possibly can. Others simply want to be competent enough to have fun socially without putting too much pressure on themselves. Both are ok.
Just take the time to work out where you want to go, and set out to have an enjoyable journey!