Will I get good? By
Edie, The Salsa FREAK When
beginners ask me that question, I can't help but smile. My usual answer is two simple words: 'It
There are a lot
of factors to consider
- I always suggest educating yourself about
what Beginner's go through during the beginning phases of learning.
- Do you know other dances?
- Have you ever partner-danced before?
- Do you have any physical limitations?
- Are you, or were you athletic as a child?
- How often do you attend partner-dancing
nightclubs and/or events?
- How much time are you willing to invest
in classes, private lessons, dance camps and/or dance Bootcamps?
- How big is your instructional dance videotape
- Just how badly do you want
to master the dance?
- Who or what is motivating you, and why?
you know other dances?
Knowing how to hip hop,
tap, ballet, jazz, flamenco, or any other type of solo
dance will obviously help you in understanding rhythm. However
in the beginning it will actually hurt you while learning
partner dancing, because you?ll want to fall into old
habits of doing everything on your own without having
to worry about anyone else?s balance or control. Females
will have a problem with trying to submit to their
partner?s lead, and leaders will feel constrained and
frustrated while mastering the basics. Most of
them øcheatÓ thru the basics because
you ever partner-danced before?
partner dance will speed up the learning process
of anything else you learn on the dance floor. I
suggest you learn and master one dance at a time. Learning
too many all at once is both mentally, and financially
It will take you longer to øget goodÓ,
than focusing your attention on one dance at
a time. If you know your patience wears
thin, learn one at a time. If you have
lots of patience, and lots of money, go ahead
and learn every type of partner dance, all
you have any physical limitations?
If you are physically
handicapped in any way, your progress will not
be as fast. This should never stop you from
learning however. Just keep in mind that
in your case, private lessons will be beneficial
to both you, the instructor, and the group class.
The group may progress at a much faster rate
than you can handle. You may end up frustrating
the rest of the class if you can?t keep up. Unless
the entire class is made up of people who have
various handicaps, be sensitive of your limitations,
your fellow classmates, and invest in private
lessons and videos. You?ll find you?ll
get better much faster, and may even surpass
those stuck in group classes!
Are you, or were you athletic as a child?
with prior athletic abilities learn much faster
than those who don?t.
I?ve found that the fastest learners are those
who have taken Martial Arts Training. In
Martial Arts, they are trained on body momentum,
control, and how to physically handle their opponent.
How often do you attend partner-dancing
nightclubs and/or events?
If you don?t go out to dance clubs and
lean by watching other dancers, you won?t learn
Dancing won?t come to you; you have to go to it.
much time and money are you willing to invest in classes, private
lessons, dance camps and/or dance Bootcamps?
Like anything in life, you get better over time. Like anything
in life, money talks. If you went on a vacation,
and spent the same money as you would on dance lessons, you?d
come back with just a bunch of pretty pictures and memories. Investing
in learning how to dance is a skill you can never forget ¨ like
riding a bike.
It is something no one can take away from you ¨ like earning
a college degree. It?s so worth it!
big is your instructional dance videotape collection?
best dancers in the world have the most dance videotapes.
I have collected hundreds of videotapes over the
years, and my collection keeps growing! Learning
visually is the next best thing to a real instructor
Just how badly do
you want to master the dance?
The more you want it, the faster and better you?ll
Just where is dance on your priority
Do you think about dancing day and night, or just on weekends?
Do you dream of dancing at night? During the day, do you
daydream of being the best, most confident dancer on the dance
floor? Do you practice your steps in the shower? Are
you addicted yet?
Who or what is motivating you,
That is a personal
question that can vary from as far as the East
is from the West.
I?ve heard everything from exercise and weight
loss, to family events, to peer pressure, to
boredom, to surprising a significant other, to
enraged revenge. The reasons are endless.
The Male vs Female Learning Curve
partner dancing, men are usually the leaders,
and ladies are usually the followers.
I?m here to tell you, no matter what dance you
learn; it?s a longer, tougher road for the guys. They?ve
got a lot more to worry about than their female
Leaders, at a minimum, have
- Learn enough moves to keep
- Make sure she is comfortable, and well taken
- Maintain self balance and
- Not be too light, nor too heavy.
- Understand frame and body momentum
- Keep his arms and feet out of her way.
- Smile, and tell her how beautiful she looks
- Stay on beat.
- Make sure his lead is not too light, nor
her to dance, and risk the humiliation of a øNoÓ, or lame excuse.
- Make sure he doesn't touch her in the wrong
- Allow her the time and space to turn and
execute her moves.
sure just the right amount of hand-pressure is applied on her
- Make sure he doesn't poke her with his fingers.
- Protect her from bumping into other dancers.
- Remember turn patterns and figures
- Adjust to timing changes in the music
- Keep her from falling if she is off-balance
- Make sure there is just the right amount
of body-momentum between both of them.
the moves fluid, and working together.
- Display her talents.
- Display his talents.
- Play traffic cop on the dance floor
- Make sure she doesn?t run into anyone, nor
let anyone run into her.
- Dance to the peaks, valleys, and hits of
Followers have to, at a minimum
- Know the basic steps.
- Not be too light, nor too heavy.
- Smile, and look pretty.
you can see, the responsibilities of the leader far outweigh
that of the follower. To illustrate, I?ve created a graph to
give you a good idea of what it takes øto get good.
Good' is a function of time
and money invested. The X-axes represents time, and the Y-axes
represents dance level. The higher the level, the better
the dancer. As you can see, the woman will progress at an
even pace. This does not mean that she is better, more athletic,
nor more intelligent (sorry ladies), but men have a bigger responsibility,
and a lot more to learn in the beginning. We call this
øBeginner?s HellÓ for the guys. Most males
will quit at this point. They give up just days before
the whole thing øclicksÓ. If they had stuck
it out just a few more days, they would have started øgetting
very quickly. For the guy who persists, and keeps on keeping
on, suddenly his level will get better at an exponential
rate ¨ without his realizing it.
This is a phenomenon that I cannot explain, but I?ve seen it happen
time and time again. That?s why I carefully watch the beginner
dancers whenever I go out to clubs or teach in my classes. I
can immediately recognize the guys that will be awesome in a few
months. They exude a certain attitude; a look ¨ that
special sparkle in their eye that catches my attention right away.
I just know in my heart they will be fierce in a
few months. Treat beginners with respect and admiration. Trust
me ladies, they will remember you later on, when they become amazing
dancers. Many men quit during
Beginner?s Hell because they get frustrated that the women they
started classes with no longer want to dance with them, or feel
as though they are now getting ømercy dancesÓ with them.
This is not a good feeling. If the man can get through øBeginner?s
HellÓ, he can conquer just about anything he sets his mind
to ¨ for the rest of his life. All it takes is patience,
lots of practice, and a combination of the following:
- Take quality group
classes that emphasize solid technique & fundamentals ¨ not
just the 'move of the week'.
instructional DVD's before you go to sleep at night.
- Take lots of private
- Collect lots of salsa dance music.
- Go out to partner dance
clubs every week. Watch and try what you've learned
a few times.
- Attend dance camps, events, conventions,
congresses and dance Bootcamps as often as possible.
The more you do, the
faster you progress.
Beginner?s Hell can last a couple of weeks, or a few months
¨ depending on the time, money, and effort invested.
The choice is yours.
shown in the chart, since most females progress
at a much faster rate, she would rather dance with
men who are at her same level, or, in other words,
men who have been dancing for a considerably longer
period of time. Over time, the
female students will eventually start to level
off at a certain point.
They don?t feel like they are progressing or getting any better. To
get over this plateau, they need to light a fire under themselves
and start doing some radical changes.
Most start taking Ladies Styling classes, investing in instructional
styling videos, join a dance team, or even start competing.
Some take up other forms of dance, to get ideas and build their
creativity. If the ladies don't do something to
get out of their little 'rut' of no improvement,
they will find themselves sitting on the sidelines watching their
male counterparts look fabulous with the better, more stylish female
dancers. Their male counterparts are now blowing her
away. They will eventually leave her in the dust if she doesn?t
continue to learn and grow.
Listen up ladies. The guys have an enormous
responsibility. Leaders have to learn how to hold you, take
care of you, turn you, make you feel comfortable, and protect you. Give
beginners respect, honor, and most importantly, your patience and
understanding during their learning process. They will remember
how you treated them.
Edie, I spent so much time with him in the
beginning, now that he?s good, he doesn?t want
to dance with me anymore."
hear that a lot from women. Let me be realistic here.
There are some guys out there who?s egos get out of control after
a while. They forget how much time you spent with him in
his early days of øgetting goodÓ. Now that
they are awesome leaders, they only dance with the prettiest, best
girls, and refuse to give you the time of day. Unfortunately,
people like this exist, and are simply a cruel fact of life. Don?t
hold a grudge.
This will spoil your fun and make you look like an ogre
¨ unapproachable and with a negative attitude. Attitude
is everything. Even if you?re hurting inside, fake a smile
and MOVE ON. Improve yourself, and focus on the positives ¨ ANYTHING
positive. Focus on improving YOURSELF. You can?t control
others, nor convince them of anything, or even let them know they?re
being a jerk. The one thing you CAN control is your
SELF. Practice THAT.
Do what he did to get
good. Focus on
getting so good, that he will come begging to dance with
you again ¨ just like he did in the beginning, when no one
else would dance with him but you. Invest every ounce of
energy into learning and growing, and working on your SELF
€and you will 'Get Good' beyond your wildest expectations. EVERYONE
pays the price in the beginning.
There are no shortcuts. Once you øget goodÓ you?ll
feel you have the world at your fingertips. IT'S
PAYBACK TIME for all the øNo?sÓ you endured.
is the sweetest revenge.