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

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

Salsa Exclusiva Party

Saturday night Silvia and Ibo Salsa Exclusiva party in the Präsidentenschlößchen, a beautiful location in Dusseldorf.

Once again it was very well organized. The only thing that I found missing was still water but I survived without that :)

As I said, the location was gorgeous.
That by itself wouldn't have meant anything but the floor was great, the DJ, Henry Knowles, was amazing and the band, Rodrigo Tobar Band, was great as well.
All the ingredients for a perfect night were present.

I was pretty excited, started dancing and... I shut down completely.
Here I was having trouble doing even a basic step and I couldn't remember anything else.
Even a simple CBL was proving hard for some reason.

It couldn't have been my partner. Even though she was new to LA-style salsa she has been dancing Cuban for years and picked up the changes easily enough.

It was also not the first time it happened to me.
Usually, as in this case, it seems to happen when I'm dancing with somebody who is a lot more experienced than I am. I start thinking that they won't have a good time dancing with me and shut down completely.
Then a cycle starts, I get more worried which makes me more nervous, that makes me more nervous, etc.
In the end it basically guarantees that my worries become justified and they won't have a good time.

By the time I started my 3rd dance Saturday it had actually gotten to the point where I couldn't find any beat anymore. Not the 1, not the 5, nothing. Luckily I had some help there but that didn't turn things around.
For me that was the end of it as I felt completely useless after that dance.

I can't even begin to describe how frustrating it is to me that a night full of promise ends this badly because of something inside of me holding me back.
This is definitely stopping my progress. I'm now starting to get scared of dancing with anybody at all.
It is definitely something I'll have to work on and suggestions on how to get past this are more than welcome.


  1. silvia said...

    Dear Walter,
    Thank you so much for your nice comment in your blog and our guestbook. Ibo and I were so tired at the end of this weekend but we got all the nice comments and at the party we saw only happy faces. These reactions pay everything back. We hope we can continue in this standard.

    I read about your problem and I have to tell you that you are not the only one with this it. Do not worry about it. What I realised with my students is when they are on the dance floor with a nice girl and other good dancers are around them. They think the only way to impress is dancing all the figures they learned in the first minutes and - they struggle!!! Of course!!! Do not stress yourself and the girl!!! I tell them and you that you/they have to come down - to relax. Take the first minutes to dance safe basics. Make the girl feel comfortable. This pays back to you. After a while you can start adding some turns but do not stress yourself. If you make a mistake, do not show it. Smile and forget it - nobody is perfect! The best dances have been beginner once!
    Sunday evening we had a very interesting discussion with Edie.
    We were talking about Salsa dancers in LA. And she was complaining that most of them (also her former husband Al Espinoza) are putting her in crazy figures and spins. Because these dancers know she can do it. But does she want it?! No! She was observing these dancers and saw with other - not so professional - girls they danced very smooth. And she told us that this is the way she wanted dance.
    I also prefer dancers who make me comfortable. This can be only basics and cross bodys...

    When I was an active athlete I have done a lot of mental training.
    Try this:
    If you have time to relax (at night in bed or whenever) imagine you are at a salsa party with your partner. A lot of good salsa dancers are around you! That is the scene.
    Than continue in your imagination how do you go with your girl on the dancefloor and how do you start dancing (important imagine everything perfect)-> all figures and steps come to you automatically.
    For your mental training it is very important that you see everything perfect!!

    On the real dance floor:
    You can not find the 1 or any other count and all the other dancers make you nervous? Close your eyes, bring your partner in a closed position and do the basics in place - not going forward / backward. Just try to hear, feel and be the music.

    So, I wrote a lot and hope I could help you a little bit!

    I wish you a nice weekend. And maybe we see in LUX. I can not promise yet.

    Hugs & kisses, Silvia

  2. Walter de Rooij said...

    Thanks so much for that great explanation Silvia.

    I would have replied sooner but I wanted to 'test' it first.

    Last weekend I did exactly what you suggested after loosing count. I just closed my eyes and did the basic in place. This did indeed make it a lot easier for me to find the beat again. I never expected that it could be something as simple as that.

    Mental practice is something that I should have been able to think of myself. I've done it so many times with other things and have now started implementing it for dancing as well.

    If you can't come to Luxembourg I'll definitely try to come down next time you're having a party in Dusseldorf!

  3. silvia said...

    Hi Walter,

    Good to hear that my suggestion did work.
    Luxemburg will not be able to make it. Ibo's birthday...and we want to celebrate it here, including some friendt who are not into Salsa. But we look forward going to Hamburg in July. One week before is a special in Karlsruhe: They invited Tropical Gem frm Italy for 3 days - shows and workshop....
    And Henry send me an info about UK beginning September. He is hosting a big party. The new swing sextett will play live.

    Also, we are planning the next Salsa-Exclusiva which will be held March 28th/29th in 2009.

    Hope to see you soon on the dance floor!!!!

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