There are plenty of options when it comes to improving your physical dance technique and adding to your moves repertoire.
You can go to weekly classes locally, practice social dancing, attend workshops, dance holidays and festivals worldwide.
However what I’m realising more and more through my own teaching and dancing experience is that the results you actually get are highly – sometimes SOLELY – dependent on three other factors:
1. Your Mindset
Some people lack confidence in themselves and are continually beating themselves up for not being “good enough”
You have to work on integrating the new stuff, whether it’s styling or moves.
This can be messy the first few times.
Everything new will feel weird, and integrating higher level technical skills can make familiar moves feel alien and “wrong”.
At this stage many people are put off – especially if certain partners show disdain when a mistake is made.
So developing the tenacity to keep trying is a mental skill in itself.
As is taking yourself to higher quality events which may be further away when all your friends are staying with their safe, familiar venues.
Big isn’t always beautiful – the larger the venue, the more intimidating and impersonal the class experience is likely to be which is not always great for building positivity.
Private lessons with the right teacher for even a short time frame, although expensive, may prove a worthwhile investment and could save you years of stress and frustration.
Choose your learning pathway with care – it will make or break your dancing.
2. Your Body
Most recreational dancers have little understanding of their own bodies – how they move, how they work – and more importantly how to get them working better.
And although professionally trained dancers will insist that endless hours are spent improving their strength, flexibility and core, those whose only goal is social dance will reap huge benefits from even the shortest, simplest training regime – as long as it is dance specific.
For those people, some consistent work on mobility, proprioception and strengthening their deep core will bring about dramatic improvements to the way their Salsa moves look, feel and work on the dance floor.
3. Your Musical Connection
It doesn’t matter how many moves you can lead, or how good a follower you are.
If you are stepping to generic counts rather than anchoring your movement to what’s actually happening in the music, then your dancing will lack life and soul.
Just gaining a working knowledge of Salsa song structure and the rhythms and instruments and different styles of Salsa music will give you new ears and new ideas for even the most familiar songs.
You will start to follow the energetic journey of the song and punctuate the changes in the same way as the musicians, rather than dancing across all the highs, lows and breaks, completely oblivious.
Now making changes in these three areas might sound like hard work, but it’s amazing how much there is to be gained from just a few small shifts…
And for those who embark on this next step of their Salsa journey, it creates a new level of appreciation and excitement for the dance.