If you’ve been taking Salsa classes or private Salsa lessons for a while, the thought of doing it for real on the dance floor can seem really scary and daunting.
The first few dances are usually the hardest, and no matter how well you’ve been dancing in class, everything you’ve learned just seems to disappear in the excitement and craziness of a busy club dance floor.
This is especially true for guys, as you have to lead and orchestrate the entire dance.
It’s tempting to wait “until you are ready” before attempting your first social dances, but the longer you leave it, the harder it gets because the size of your expectations increases the more you learn.
So my advice is to get stuck in straight away.
I know how hard it is to take the plunge, so here are my five tips on how to make your first few social dances fun and positive experiences that will inspire you to stick with it.
1. Keep It Simple
It may be tempting to launch straight into that class routine, but remember class choreography is designed to stretch and challenge you. Class music is often slower than average, and you’ll have the teacher counting you in.
Stick to moves you know you can lead and feel comfortable with – the more success you have, the more your confidence will grow.
2. Pick Your Partner
For your first foray onto the floor, ask someone who will encourage you and make you feel good…someone who you connect with. It’s important that the lady lets you lead and doesn’t try to criticize or tell you what to do. An experienced lady will help you stay on time without taking over.
3. Look After Your Lady
As a lead it’s your job to keep your partner safe. Get into the habit of this now while you’re still leading simple stuff – watch where you’re sending her and if other couples are moving in too close change your orientation or move to another clearer spot on the floor.
4. Freestyle Freely
Don’t get in the habit of trying to remember a sequence of moves.
Try and go with the flow.
When you lead, you are relying on the movement planning centres of your brain which will actually switch off if you let them get overloaded and overwhelmed.
5. Forgive Yourself
It’s not going to be brilliant to start with.
You will have panic moments and you won’t remember much of what you know.
Just focus on keeping your timing and don’t be ashamed if you aren’t leading much more than Basics.
The more you dance, the more chance there is of you increasing your confidence and skills, and everything else will start to fall into place.
Social dancing is not about perfection. It’s about connection, fun, movement and self expression, so keep learning and improving so you can get to the good stuff as quickly as possible.