Becoming a Salsero

Learning to dance Salsa !

About me

I remember the first time I saw a salsa performance. The dance was mesmerizing and I decided that becoming a Salsero would be my new goal.

Just getting started took a lot longer than planned but I still haven't regretted a single moment of learning to dance salsa. Why don't you join me and become a salsero / salsera as well?.

About this site

This is where I share my experiences and thoughts on dancing salsa.

If you have any questions or remarks please leave a comment or send an email to becomingasalsero@gmail.com.

Additional ways to contact me can be found on my contact page.

Private lessons

Taking private lessons turned out to be the best idea I've had so far.

After only 2 lessons I can say that for me it's been absolutely amazing.
Not because I learned more moves than I would in an hour of group class (I didn't) but because I got to go much deeper into details.

Foot placement, hip movements, shoulder movements... heck, any kind of movement.

As you have the instructor just working with you (s)he can correct you the instant that you're doing something wrong.
This way you don't get to build bad habits. Not only that, because you've paid so much attention to small details you feel much more confident (and because of that a lot less self conscious) when you are dancing.
You're not wondering whether you are doing things right or wrong anymore.
After all, if you did something wrong it was instantly corrected.

Aside from that you have the chance to be a lot more specific.
Are you having trouble with a particular move?
Ask the instructor to run through it with you and before you know it you'll have it down.
Having some problem finding the 1?
Ask your instructor to explain the music to you.
To some of you (I'm thinking musicians and people that have been dancing forever) it might seem silly but half my second private was spent discussing the structure and flow of the music, the instruments and how they interact.

Does that mean I can now always instantly find the 1?
Not at all but, I already realized that when I listen to music it is becoming easier.
I don't always find the one and sometimes I get distracted by the music and I forget to count which causes me to lose it.
That said, it's not as hard for me anymore now to find the 1 which helps me get back into the music a lot quicker.

Does that mean that private lessons are the end all solution for everybody?
No, I don't think so.

For one, private lessons are a lot more expensive than group classes.
Let's face it. We all have bills to pay and that should come first.
As much fun as dancing is, it's not worth getting your electricity cut off.
After all, it's a lot harder to practice at home without music ;-)
Luckily I have a bit of extra money at the moment that allows me to take private lessons so I'm taking full advantage of that at the moment.

Second, I think it helps if you've taken (some) group lessons.
It helps a lot if you know what you want so your instructor can tailor the lessons to fit your needs rather than just doing the same curriculum as in the group classes.
Not that there's anything wrong with that but I think you'll get more out of private lessons if you know exactly what you want.

So what's my verdict?
If you can afford private lessons and have had some group classes (or classes at a club) then by all means, go for them. It'll help you a lot.
If not... wait a bit longer.
You'll still be able to take private lessons next week, month, year.

Hasta luego!

Why blog about salsa?

After all, half the world seems to be doing it already (ok, maybe not half the world, just all the people that dance regularly).

Well, the main purpose of this blog is for me to keep track of my progress.
Don't get me wrong, if other people benefit from it or just enjoy reading about my experiences than that's great!
I'm more than happy to provide some entertainment. A distraction from work and/or other things that you should really be focusing on ;-)

So what's it like being new to salsa?
Well, I don't remember anymore . . .

Although I'm still a beginner I am a beginner that has the basics down pretty well. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm an extraordinary quick learner.
I'm not.
It's just that I am a beginner with lots of beginner experience.
I've started beginner classes 3 times before so this is the 4th time :-)

My first time was just about 8 years ago.
I signed up for classes with a friend as we both wanted to learn to dance salsa.
We had both seen demos and loved what we saw. The passion and excitement just left an impression we couldn't shake.
Classes turned out to be great fun too and things went well for a while. Unfortunately, about halfway through the course, work got in the way and we just couldn't make it anymore.
That was the end of my first attempt.

The next year my friend went to the US so I went out I found a new partner.
As she'd never danced before we went back to the beginner class and, the same thing happened, work got in the way and we ended up not being able to finish the course.

When I was just about to sign up for the new course I found out that I'd be relocating from Amsterdam to Luxembourg about 3 weeks into the course so I decided to wait until after I had moved.

However, once in Luxembourg it turned out that I had enough trouble just ordering food and drinks in a restaurant so I decided that it would be better to learn the language first. Learning the language quickly changed into 'discovering local restaurants and bars'.
To make a long story short, 6 years later I still don't speak the language (although I understand a lot of it) and I moved across the border, to Germany.

That said, last year we (my girlfriend at the time and I) found instructors that taught in both French and English so we decided to go and . . . take a beginner class.
Funnily (sadly?) enough, the same story repeated itself once again and work interfered.
If I could make it she often wasn't able to make it and that worked the other way around as well.

This year I've decided to take a new approach.

I started by expanding my comfort zone. I registered for a class by myself. No partner this time.
Sure, this makes practicing outside of class harder but at least the only schedule that can interfere with classes is my own.

Aside from that I've decided to take private lessons and register for several workshops, bootcamps and congresses.
This way it's already booked and I won't make other plans for those days.

I'm only 2 weeks into it this but it already seems to be working much better than my previous attempts.
Let's see how long it takes for me to be able to show my partner a good time on the dance floor with more than just a basic step ;-)

Hasta luego!