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.

No updates for a month

What has happened during that time?
Quite a lot actually so this is going to be a long post.

I decided to take a 7 day workshop offered by SalsaLife.

The workshop turned out to be a chacha-salsa show that we got to learn in 7 days.
I say "turned out" as I didn't know this in advance.
Or rather, I did know about the 7 days. The Chacha-salsa part was new to me though.

Now don't get me wrong, this doesn't say anything about the people running the workshop.
However, it does say a lot about my ability to zone out when I'm tired and people are speaking German.
I guess I'm really going to have to improve my German but first things first, dancing just has a higher priority right now!

ok, so I sign up for a 7 day workshop only to realize afterward that I can't make it the last day.

4 Calendars !!!
One hanging on my kitchen wall, one in outlook at work, another one online and one that I usually carry around and somehow I still managed to forget that I won't be able to be there the last weekend. Sometimes I'm even amazed by my current ability to forget things.

Next weekend, instead of doing the last day of the workshop, I'll be attending one of Edie's salsa weekend bootcamps. This bootcamp will be hosted by salsa-emocion and will be right here in Germany, in Dusseldorf.
More about that though after I've been there.

Back to the workshop.
It took us 6 days to get the entire choreography down and finally be able to dance it at the proper speed.

Looking back it was quite funny.
When we were just starting they slowed the music down a lot.
This helped us concentrate on the moves without having to worry about the music too much.
That said, a lot of people, myself included, were still struggling with the pace.
Slowly the speed got turned up a bit. Every day we went a little bit faster until we finally managed to dance to the original version of the song on day 6.

After we had done that we went slowed down to the speed we started out on for one last dance and, everybody went too fast !

It turned out to be difficult for us to slow down to that speed again.
After a couple of combinations people were waiting for the music to catch up to them instead of racing to keep up with the music.
For most of us it was hard to believe we'd actually managed to come this far and we were therefor pretty impressed with ourselves.
A great feeling to end a day with.

The event itself was very interesting to me.
In some parts I think my experience was a slightly different from most of the other participants.
That is, I think the harder parts for me were at the end while for most others they seemed to be in the beginning.

We started out with the chacha part of the show.
Surprisingly this turned out to be relatively easy for me.
In my early teens I did a couple of years of ballroom and latin dancing and it appears that the chacha rhythm somehow got embedded.
As I didn't have to focus on the rhythm I could concentrate on the moves and keep up easily.

The second part of the choreography (the salsa part) turned out to be a bit harder for me while it seemed easier for the others.
Not only is the rhythm still not ingrained (I still sometimes have trouble distinguishing between 1 and 5), some of the moves were new to me.
This meant that I was trying to keep up with the music while trying to learn the new moves and the choreography.
This had me struggling for a while until I started counting.

"123", "567" made it a bit easier.
I still felt I was running around but at least I didn't feel like I was trying to catch up all the time, chasing after the beat.

On the 4th day I tried counting differently.
Or rather, instead of counting I used "quick, quick, slow".
I'm not sure anymore what prompted this but it made a tremendous difference.
All of a sudden I was dancing to the beat and seemed to have a lot more time to do everything.

At first this didn't make any sense to me.
I mean, why would '123.567." be any harder (or easier for that matter) than "quick, quick, slow"?
Then it hit me, "quick, quick slow" was another thing that went back to my early teens.
It's how we counted a Quickstep and I've done it thousands of times.
Skipping the 4 and the 8 while counting still feels a bit unnatural to me.
I guess that, without realizing it, I'm focusing on getting the counting right which takes some of my attention away from dancing the steps.
If you can think of another reason why "quick, quick, slow" made things easier for me please feel free to let me know.

With that problem out of the way I managed to get everything down a lot faster and started catching up a bit again.

This workshop also showed me how powerful video is.
Seeing yourself on video is completely different from watching yourself in the mirror while your dancing.
For one you don't have to focus on the steps so you can actually pay attention to the things you are doing (or not doing).
It's a great way to spot mistakes (why is my arm just hanging there?) and realize which areas still need improvement.

It also helped me in a completely different way.
I still feel pretty much clueless when dancing salsa.
Yes, I know the basic moves but that doesn't mean I'm completely confident doing them.
Seeing myself on video made me realize I'm not nearly as bad as I imagined myself to be (in all fairness, I don't think anybody can be *that* bad).
That gave me an extra bit of confidence which helped me get through the last days a bit more comfortable.

I'm curious to see the last recording that was made or rather, the last 2.
It's a good thing as well that there were 2 as we somehow missed a beat during the first taping, got completely thrown off by that and were entirely lost for a bit.
We were just standing there trying to figure out what the others were doing to find a place where we could jump in again :-)

The second time everything went more or less as it's supposed to go and we got through to the end on time.

As soon as I've seen those recordings I'll update again.

For now...

Hasta luego!