Chances are when you step onto a social dance floor for the first time after lockdown you will feel rusty and unfit. We all will.
It doesn’t matter how good a dancer you are, no one can stop for nearly a year and a half and not notice some deficit in their timing, speed, precision and clarity of movement.
Even those who have worked hard on their solo skills will have forgotten what it feels like to dance with a partner to some extent.
Leads, you may not realise until the moment comes that you have forgotten a large portion of your repertoire. And followers, you don’t get to blame it all on them…where have your balance and double spins gone?
Those lucky enough to have bubble partners to dance with during lockdown will still have lost the feel which can only be gained by dancing with a lot of different partners.
So let’s not pretend we can just pick up where we left off. Those who try will risk injuring themselves or the person they are dancing with.
And with this in mind I’ve put together my 5 tips for easing yourself back into social dancing painlessly.
TIP 1 – Drop Down a Level For Class
Put your ego to one side and be honest with yourself. If you have not danced much over the past 15 months you will have some work to do to get back to where you were.
Make it easier on yourself by dropping into a lower level temporarily while you readjust and get used to dancing with a partner again. You’ll be surprised at what you may have forgotten.
TIP 2 – Reinvent Your Technique By Revisiting the Fundamentals
Now is the perfect time to rebuild your technique better than it was before. Go back to basics and you’ll be able to easily correct any bad habits which have crept in, and learn to execute the foundation steps and moves with more precision and flair.
Sometimes you do have to take a couple of steps backwards in order to move forwards again.
TIP 3 – Work On Your Individual Movement Skill
Yes I know some of you will have spent the whole of lockdown learning shines and footwork. And this is awesome – no doubt your musicality and technique will have improved.
But how much time have you spent practicing the footwork necessary for partnerwork? Mastering those partnerwork turns without a partner will make a huge difference to your understanding of how the dance works spatially and will enable you to dance better WITH a partner when you get back on the dance floor.
TIP 4 – Find a New Appreciation of the Simple Stuff
We all got used to chasing the complicated combos and twisty, spinny turn patterns.
But the thing I’ve missed most is the feeling of partner connection when you enjoy those simple moves done well, and at the right time in the music. When you feel the energy building within the song and give each other that knowing smile as you both hit the accent in the music together.
TIP 5 – Work on Your Fitness and Core
Salsa dancing for hours on end in a club requires a level of fitness you can’t get through online classes or solo practice. And fitness is highly specific which means there isn’t always a direct carry-over from gym training or exercise classes.
So start working on longer high intensity intervals to increase stamina, leg and core exercise for strength and endurance, and you might not be quite so shocked after ten minutes of dancing at your first social after lockdown.
Ladies you may find that you are struggling in the heels you used to wear and it may help to drop down into flats until you regain your strength and stability.
Hopefully these tips have given you a few ideas about how you can get back up to speed painlessly, and regain your prior skill level on the social dance floor.