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.

So how did I start dancing salsa?

As a kid I danced a lot.

My mom was an A level competition dancer in the Netherlands when she was younger and she thought that dancing was something everybody should learn. Maybe it is only because I have heard it so often but I agree.

Dancing is a great way to have fun, make friends and stay fit. It also teaches people how to interact with the opposite sex, something that a lot of people seem to have trouble with these days. It seems like that ability went out the window around the same time partner dancing did.

But I digress. Not only that, you are here reading this which means I am preaching to the choir again.

I can not remember when exactly my mom first taught me the basics of a Quickstep but it is one of my earlier memories. I can not have been much older than 5 or 6. Slowly I learned the basic steps of other dances like cha-cha-cha, rumba, waltz, etc before I was sent of to take classes. Again I can't quite remember when but it was probably around the time I turned 8 years old.

Even though I don't remember exactly when it was I do still remember the first timethat I got dropped off.

I was a shy kid and the thought of going into a class with other people, especially people I did not know, terrified me.

I tried to get out of it but it soon became clear that was not an option. I was going to have to go. Looking back now it was probably one of the best things that happened to me. I still stayed shy but at least I was not scared of meeting new people anymore.

For several years I would go dancing once a week, slowly making my way up through the levels. Bronze*, Silver, Silver*, Silver*, Silver*. No, that is not a mistakes. I actually have 3 Silver* certificates for both ballroom and Latin dancing and I have no idea why. I am sure there must have been a good reason, especially as I should have 4 or 5 of them. The others seem to have gotten lost though while moving.

At 12 I stopped dancing and started doing martial arts instead. For the next couple of years I did not dance at all. Then, when I was 17, Lambada became popular and I took 2 courses but somehow the dance virus was still gone. After the 2 courses I stopped dancing again.

Then again, martial arts have a lot in common with dancing. I just did not see that at the time. Perhaps I never really stopped dancing after all. At least not until I was about 26.

Fast forward about 14 years from when I was 17.

I was out to dinner with some friends. As it turned out that there would be salsa dancing there that night. I had no idea what Salsa was exactly. My only exposure to Latin dancing up until that point had been ballroom Latin.

As dinner was served 2 people walked onto the dance floor and the music started to play.

From the moment I saw them dance I could not take my eyes off of them anymore. I completely forgot about my dinner that had just been served. I was in awe and wished I had the amazing power that they had. To be able to walk into a room, get onto the dance floor, completely change the atmosphere and leave people speechless.

But more than that even, I wished that I was out there on that dance floor having as much fun as they were obviously having.

The next couple of days I spent trying to figure out what I could do to learn to dance salsa as well and I found that there are several ways. Taking lessons was the most obvious option and the one I instantly went for.

Unfortunately I had some startup problems and it took me a couple of years to finish my beginner's course.

The first time I started work got in the way. I was sent abroad for trainings and projects and was not at home enough to participate in the classes.

1 Year later I tried again. And again, work got in the way. This time not by making me travel abroad a lot but by actually moving me abroad. Trying to get settled in a new country where I did not speak the language was enough to distract me from dancing.

Another couple of years went by and I had finally settled down so I figured it was time for another try. It did not take me very long to realize that, aside from the basic step, I had forgotten everything I learned.

Unfortunately this time life interfered and once again I had to drop out of my class after a couple of weeks. Again.

Finally this year I started again and I had the same problem, I had forgotten everything I had learned aside from the basic step and a CBL.

I am not sure whether or not having started the beginner's course several times has helped me. At the moment I seem to be progressing faster than some people that started as the same time as me this year but then, I think I put more time into dancing than they do.

So that is how I got started. And now that I have made it past "beginner's hell" (it really felt like that for a while) I am thoroughly enjoying dancing again. Even the fact that I just hit a plateau does not phase me at all.

I know I'm internalizing things (see "Salsa is life") and I am having a lot of fun doing so.

What is your story?

2 comments:

  1. Christopher said...
     

    Hi Walter,
    thx a lot for your comment on my blog. You are alway welcome.

    OK how did I start to dance Salsa?
    I had to work in Denmark 2 years long, very far north. In der fitness club was a Salsa class. After a while I decided to take part and it was fun.

    These nice Danes asked me to come to a party and that was it. It just felt right and good.

    Later on I was invited to a Salsa drop in class... very good idea. We changed partners after each song and we learned the basics very fast.

    When I was back in Germany I thought I just copied some moves from the internet and learned them. Later on we took part a Festival with a lot of workshops.

    Then I started to setup http://C-SALSA.COM where I collected and categorized all the Salsa figures I could find on the internet.

    Since that time I've been learning a new figure from time to time and we go dancing nearly weekly.

    Over the time we've learnt to dance Bachata, Merengue and Latin ChaCha but most of the time we are dancing Salsa.

  2. Walter de Rooij said...
     

    Hey Christopher.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    I always find it interesting to hear how other people get started.

    And I love what you do with http://c-salsa.com

    There is just so much out there that I get overwhelmed again every time I visit.

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