You will never get serious results with a casual approach.
And whether you like it or not, drop-in classes are a casual approach when it comes to learning Salsa – for teachers and not just for attendees.
This perhaps is where the problem lies:
- There is no commitment involved and therefore no continuity.
- Anyone can turn up at any time
- There is rarely an underlying structure or plan for progression beyond each individual class
- There are rarely any pre-defined learning outcomes for each level which means no way of measuring progress.
- Almost anyone can turn up and teach – all they need is five minutes to prepare a routine.
Why Drop-In Classes Are Really Drop-out Classes
Drop-in classes obviously create a low barrier of entry for newbies which on the surface sounds logical.
Unfortunately I think it unwittingly creates an environment where there is no real pathway to excellence. This is largely because it allows the teachers to be casual as well. They don’t need to evaluate their own effectiveness as participants’ learning outcomes are never assessed.
The net result is low expectations all round, which translate into low aspirations, little perceived success and ultimately low retention.
Through not requiring people’s commitment, we are requiring less of our participants than we put in ourselves, yet implying they will eventually obtain the same result if they attend for long enough.
Mass Appeal Dilutes The Quality Of The Experience
Although this is very appealing to the masses, or those who have no real intention other than having fun, I believe it does a huge disservice to those who are serious about their intention to improve and motivated to do the work.
The people who dip in and out hold themselves (and everyone else) back.
I’m sure you’ve experienced situations in mainstream classes where the person who hasn’t been to a class in three years turns up and slots themselves straight back into the top level.
And then they spend the next hour apologising to every partner for the duration of the lesson.
Or the person who insists they are advanced because they always do the top class at the club down the road, but looks at the teacher like they’re speaking a foreign language when they ask for an inside turn.
Don’t Throw Your Toys Out Of The Pram
The trouble is that Salsa is a bit like a toy shop for grown ups.
There is all this fun stuff to play with.
Everyone looks for the new fad, the crazy turn pattern, the artful armography, the super duper spin combo.
The styling and tricks and dips and funky fusions.
We do workshops and choreo based classes then our brains literally explode with trying to remember it all.
You spend an hour learning a routine, feel great that you did it perfectly to the final song with a couple of partners and then forget it ten minutes later.
You film it but never watch it again.
Only a tiny percentage ever finds its way onto the dance floor.
It’s a false sense of accomplishment.
We pick the toy up then throw it down again and move on to the next one.
What Are You Getting From Your Current Commitment?
You’re probably going to tell me of course you’re committed as you turn up to class every week. Maybe you are taking class and social dancing 2 or 3 nights a week.
And that’s awesome.
But are you really improving in a way that feels in proportion to the time and money you are investing?
If I asked you what your takeaways were from your last class, could you even remember?
And could you tell me how much of that new learning has been successfully integrated into your social dancing?
Unfortunately, the more information we take in , the more overwhelm is created.
The more sources of information, the more conflicts and contradictions our brains will register, creating confusion and inertia.
What’s The Alternative?
Be honest with yourself.
And then ask yourself the following:
Instead of copying a routine every week and then forgetting most of it within ten minutes of the lesson ending, what would happen if:
You worked consistently on one specific aspect of your Salsa dancing for a month?
You could pinpoint exactly what your weak spots were and worked on them?
You learned less moves but worked on the quality of the execution?
Do you think the results would be different?