I’ve been dancing salsa since 1999 and I’ve picked up various do’s and don’ts along the way, here are a few for you, hope they help!
Mel C (Carpe Diem Dance Company )
Practise what you have learnt in class!
This is very important, particularly if the teacher in question has asked you to practise. A lot of the time, teachers have sequences or in some cases, a syllabus that they like their students to follow so they can progress. Therefore, if you don’t practise, you run the risk of being taught the same content again. Remember, we can teach you the fundamentals of salsa, like timing and technique, but we cannot practise it for you!
Have ‘Spacial’ awareness!
Time after time I see people in salsa clubs crashing into each other, my friends complaining that they’ve been kicked, for the umpteenth time. Totally unnecessary, I say! If you practise dancing as if you had a limited amount of space, this will help when you are in a club environment. Also, as a lead, you should be looking to see where you are sending your follower. Followers, you are not totally helpless either, you can see over your leads shoulder so if it looks like ‘danger is a coming’ give his shoulder a squeeze to pre warn him or, if it looks like a major pile up is about to happen, stop!
Now, this may sound like I’m totally over-reacting here, but unless you know/dance with your partner quite well, please do not dip them. I have had two injuries during my salsa career due to dips being performed badly or without any warning at all! I was elbowed in the head the first time (I must admit, I think that is when I started to have this huge aversion to being dipped) and the second time, I actually pulled something in my back. The second gentleman (who shall remain nameless) I now avoid like the plague! Also, in my opinion, dips are for shows and shouldn’t be used on a crowded dance floor!
Take it too seriously!
Think back to when you first started to learn salsa, why did you decide to learn? I’ve always loved to dance and I wanted to do something that would keep me fit, so salsa it was! I certainly didn’t join the beginner’s class for the first time thinking “ If this guy gets it wrong once more, I’m going to slap him!” I have seen so many couples have arguments on the dance floor because he/she got it wrong. Who cares I say!! When I go to salsa socially, I go because I enjoy the scene and I still love to dance. So, the next time a move goes wrong, or you stumble over a shine, smile, laugh out loud and carry on dancing!