Take That Leap into Social Dancing
Here we address a few common questions and challenges that some of our students face when learning to dance with Secret Salsa.
This time, we are going to offer some tips for how to…transition from classes to social dancing.
Once you get used to the structure and support in a class, it can feel like a safe environment to practice your dance steps, especially when the teachers teach a routine or pattern of moves. Making that leap from classes to social dancing can be a real challenge for some.
Here are our top tips to help you overcome this hurdle.
1. Be prepared to get it wrong!
It can sometimes feel like there is a lot to learn with salsa, especially when you first start learning. There’s the beat, footsteps and the hand, arm and body placement. And that’s before you think about smiling at your partner and enjoying the dance!
There’s a lot to think about and you won’t get it all right every time. You might only get one of those elements right that week or month. And that’s ok!
The most successful dancers aren’t necessarily those that find it easy in the beginning – they are the ones that keep learning, persevere and practice regularly – both in class and with social dancing.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
2. Take it down a level
When you first start transitioning to social dancing from classes, try starting with the most basic steps you know and moves that are a bit easier than you are learning in class.
This not only helps you to gauge your partner’s abilities (always dance to the followers level if you are more experienced than them) but will also give you confidence on the dance floor, helps you keep to time and will be a better experience for you both – guaranteed!
Once you are confident with those moves, try introducing one or two moves of a higher level. Challenge yourself to take one move from your class each week and introduce it to your social dancing – rather than the whole routine which can be daunting!
3. Take the opportunity to improvise!
From time to time we encourage you to improvise in class with the moves we have taught you. This isn’t because the teacher is tired and wants a break from calling out the moves (😉), it’s because we know that these are the skills you need to help you to dance socially outside of the class.
Give it a go during these improvised practice sessions in class - try and focus on your dance partner and the moves you are leading/following rather that what the teacher is doing. Take your time, relax and move to the music. Think about your timing and lead and, followers, be responsive to that lead, rather than anticipating it and ‘back leading’.
Keep going over the moves you know and before long your confidence will grow.
Our teachers are always available to help guide you if you have specific questions but mainly just get out there and give it a go! What’s the worst that can happen?
You can attend parties whatever your level of dancing, including as an absolute beginner, as there is a short class at the start of the party.
5. Practice with different dance partners
Salsa is a social dance! Our experience is that people who rotate partners in class and at parties progress much more successfully and quickly than those who don’t.
Our classes and events are perfect if you come alone or with someone as we generally rotate partners in our classes. At our parties and after class, it’s common for leaders and followers to both ask other to dance, even if you have not met before. It’s a great way to break the ice!
Dancing with people of different abilities will help you to progress your dancing – so try and be brave and ask someone in the class level above you to dance once week. It’s totally ok to keep the moves basic (or ask them to if you are a follower).
Although we have a fixed couple option in our classes at the moment, which we understand suits some people, we encourage you to rotate for lots of reasons:
You get to dance with a teacher most weeks which will help you progress,
You will ensure that your leads/follows are transferable to other dance partners which will give you confidence with social dancing,
You can help and support your fellow students in the class,
It’s more fun!
We hope that helps.
We are impressed by the progress you all make at classes each week and love to watch you enjoy dancing and support each other.
Keep up the great work and see you on the dance floor soon!