Are Private Salsa Lessons Right For You?
What Sort of Person Gets Private Salsa Coaching?
The type of people who come to me for Salsa coaching are men and women who are in love with the idea of being able to dance Salsa freely and spontaneously
The thing that stops them is their inner struggle with confidence, body image and perfectionist tendencies.
They would love to be the cool guy or girl on the dance floor but don’t feel good enough to be centre of attention.
They are deep thinkers and open minded and they often have a sensitive or spiritual side.
But they also operate in the “real world” and like concrete facts and like to know the “why” and the “how” as well as the “what”.
They like to know they are doing things properly and aren’t content with just “muddling through” or “getting their feet round anyhow”
People who have been used to working with coaches or mentors in other fields – maybe sport or business – often love my approach.
This is because they understand how the process of learning a skill can be accelerated when you have a clear methodology and a mentor.
Someone who can help you plan the work, work the plan and give you the right words at the right time.
Reasons For Choosing Private Salsa Lessons
The reasons people look for private Salsa coaching are varied but the common ones are:
- People often feel intimidated by the big mainstream Salsa clubs and don’t feel comfortable in that environment.
- They want to progress faster and get impatient if they are being held back.
- They want a higher level of technical detail than is typically offered in group Salsa classes.
- They have a strong work ethic and know the value of repeated effort.
- They want to be the best they possibly can.
- They need more flexibility with lesson times
Why Men Prefer Private Salsa Lessons
Many of my private students are men who have high level professional or management positions in the public and private sector.
They work in a wide variety of industries: Finance, Travel, Media, Healthcare, Academia, Politics and Government.
They are CEOs, business owners, directors and tradespeople.
Typically they don’t find it easy to “let go” or “feel” the music.
This is because in the corporate and academic worlds, a left brain logical approach is instilled in people. This means that the creative and emotional centres of the right brain are often untapped and under developed.
When they first start Salsa they often feel like an alien, and the learning curve can feel stressful, but they love music and want to fulfil the internal drive they have to dance.
More importantly, dancing helps them to switch off and unwind.
I help them to learn Salsa by giving them a progressive and logical pathway that teaches them how to do those things in a way they can relate to.
It works because they can understand what’s required on a conscious level but also enables their body to connect with the music on a deeper level.
In layman’s language this means that the way I teach Salsa follows proven scientific principles which govern how the brain and body learn complex movement.
Concerns Men Have About Private Salsa Lessons
Men sometimes believe that as a female, I’m not equipped to teach guys more than the basics.
Or that they’ll end up looking too feminine if they are taught by a woman.
However many guys don’t understand what a woman actually wants to experience on the dance floor. And this is why learning with me gives them a huge advantage.
They think it’s all about fancy, complicated moves.
I teach guys how to lead in a way that guarantees women will enjoy dancing with them :
- How to use frame to create a protective dance bubble
- To be assertive and masculine without using force
- To create endless variations without making things complicated
- To stay connected so she never questions your lead
Why Women Prefer Private Salsa Lessons
Ladies often opt for private Salsa lessons when they are just starting out as they are nervous about dancing closely with complete strangers.
Some of my female students are in long term relationships but go Salsa dancing on their own because their partner is not interested.
For those who are single, Salsa is a safe and low pressure way to meet new friends.
Stamp Out Bad Habits
More advanced ladies seek out private lessons when they find they are not progressing quickly enough, or need help with spinning or styling.
They start out believing that doing more and more classes and social dancing will make them good but actually often serves to embed bad habits if their technical foundations are not there yet.
Unfortunately, these habits can take a lot of time and effort to undo – and many are unwilling to commit to put the time and effort into re-learning the fundamentals at a higher level.
However this is exactly what I had to do, and putting it off is preventing you from mastering the spinning and styling and connection which allows more challenging turn patterns to be executed.
Concerns Women Have About Private Salsa Lessons
The biggest worry ladies have about private Salsa lessons is that they won’t learn anything radically different than they did in the big group classes.
And in one sense this is true – the moves are no different.
What you really need are the technical tools to improve your execution of them, better connection so you can recognise them on the social floor, and a better “map” so your brain knows exactly where you are in the dance.
There are some women who think it’s weird dancing with another lady.
However there are lots of highly regarded followers and female teachers who love dancing with me as they know they will get a huge variety of content clearly led with no pushing or dragging.
And many male teachers can’t effectively break down the follower’s footwork or teach styling so it makes sense to take private lessons from someone who can do ALL the things!
I Believe Anyone Can Dance IF They Really Want To
People have everything they need to be able to dance easily and naturally, but the traditional model of Salsa teaching in mainstream clubs and big group classes is somewhat flawed and doesn’t always deliver.
I believe it doesn’t give new dancers the tools or the skills to actually use the content they learn on the dance floor to any real effect.
I believe you should always work from the music and develop individual movement skill as a thing in its own right as well as working with a partner.
My methodology simplifies everything – the truth is that Cross Body Salsa can be boiled down to a small handful of key moves, structures and techniques.
Working In Harmony With Your Brain And Body
The human brain learns and organises information in a very specific way so having random isolated pre-choreographed content thrown at it every week just doesn’t work (which is what happens in most club based Salsa classes)
If you’ve been doing these classes for a while you’ll already know this – think about how much new stuff you learn compared to what actually sticks.
This can make learning Salsa much slower and much more stressful than it needs to be and actually prevents the majority of guys from ever being able to improvise freely and fully connect with their partner.
I believe if people worked more in harmony with their brains and bodies, they would quickly reach a level of Salsa dancing that they would find infinitely more enjoyable and fulfilling.
Good Dancers Don’t Automatically Make Good Teachers
One of the biggest misconceptions is that just because you can do it, you can teach it.
Teaching is a vocation in itself, and a large part of teaching skill is organising complex information and presenting it in an easy to digest format at a pace which is optimised for the student.
Fun and friendly SHOULD go without saying – yet you can tell a lot about the teachers values by noticing the culture within a Salsa club or community.
I believe compassion, empathy and an excellence mindset are just as important, as is the ability to put the ego aside and give the students what they actually need as opposed to what we want to teach them.
A Real Sense Of Achievement
I like students to feel accomplished after every studio session – that they can do something they couldn’t do before, and that they’ve connected what they learned in that lesson to what they already know, so they can actually recall it and use it on the dance floor.
I always relate what they are learning to stuff we have already done so they can see how that piece of the puzzle fits with everything else. They get tons of freestyle practice integrated into each session so every new move or technique is embedded into muscle memory and banked for future use.
My process equips guys to improvise their dance in real time as the music plays. Although this is a steep learning curve, they are never left floundering with moves they can’t remember or that are too far beyond their current skill level.
This means they always feel like they are really leading and taking control of the dance, and that gives them the kudos and cool factor they are looking for.
I Will Get Your Head In The Right Place
Many people experience stress and frustration in mainstream Salsa classes – but no one questions the status quo and people tend to blame themselves for not “getting it” quickly enough, when actually it is often not their fault.
So my main aim is to make every studio session stress free and low pressure with a clear plan for each session and methods of evaluating progress.
Most of my Salsa coaching is done in the physical realm, however there are many mindset issues which come up during a person’s dance journey – crises of confidence and comparisonitis can mentally derail people.
Your progress can be massively accelerated by identifying what’s happening internally – and coming up with alternative ways of viewing the problem that help you to move forward.
The Struggle Is Real!
This is one of the most important differences between me and the typical club based Salsa instructors whose sole focus is on teaching moves and being life and soul of the party.
Because dance is essentially a leisure pastime, beginners often assume it’s all non stop fun and so teachers rarely want to talk about the struggles involved for fear of putting you off. However at some point you will need to face these and develop strategies to move past them.
But learning to express yourself through dance is an act of self-definition and can be hugely transformational. So people need to know that it’s ok to want the things they want – even if they are not getting support from friends or family.
Not everything worth having comes easy.
Simpler But Not Dumbed Down
My system presents what is a very complex and technically difficult dance in a way that’s really simple – one chunk at a time.
This gives people huge relief because in this context Salsa dancing appears achievable in a way it hadn’t before – they get the “need to know” without all the fluff which can be layered in once they have the basic structure and moves down.
People get easily overwhelmed if teachers throw too much stuff at them so I give clear instructions on just two or three things I want them to practice at home, and one thing to focus on when they next go social dancing.
My creative tools teach guys to expand their repertoire of moves and develop their musicality in a way that’s fun and unique to them – and in a way that will work for them on the dance floor.
I have a toolbox of practical exercises that will help them to get into that “zone”where everything flows and they don’t need to think
This cannot happen when you are racking your brains to remember a routine.
What To Expect From My Private Lessons
Beginners will be doing the Salsa basic step to music within 5 minutes of the start of first class – with zero technical instruction, just allowing the brain and body to do what they do naturally.
But only if we get out of our own way for long enough.
In 12 weeks they will be dancing a simple, freestyle Salsa dance with the material they’ve learned without panic moments, meltdowns or memory blanks.
In 6-12 months they will be dancing freely and fluently, feeling confident, feeling the music and not having to think about what they are doing on the dance floor.
All my male students end up being known by the ladies as “good leads” – this is the holy grail for a male Salsa dancer as then you will never be left standing on the sidelines!
All my female students will be light and responsive followers who can hold their own with any level of leader.
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