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.

What about social dancing?

There is one thing I remember very clearly about the first time I went social dancing.

I stepped into the club, checked my coat, went to the dance area and I panicked!

People were moving in ways I didn't even think were possible and none of them were doing any of the things that I had been taught. I don't even remember seeing anybody doing a basic.

To say that I was intimidated would be an understatement. So I just sat around for a while watching the dancers before going home. On the way back I dreamed about 'the day that I could do that too'.

Now that I have been dancing for a while the experience has changed a bit.

Don't get me wrong, it starts out the same way. I go to a club, sit around and watch the great dancers while my mouth drops. After a while though I consciously focus on other dancers and I see that not all the dancers are amazing superstars. There are also people who dance at my level and there are usually even some that have only just started out.

Then I always reminds myself that I'm there for 2 reasons. To have a good time and to improve my dancing.

Even though I can have a good time just sitting around watching great dancers it really doesn't do much to improve my dancing. I'm not sure about you but I just can't make a perfect copy of something that I have only seen once. To be honest, I usually can't make any kind of copy of it be it perfect, good or bad. If you can, please drop me a line and tell me your secret.

The only way I can improve my dancing (to keep this article from getting too complicated I won't go into musicality, counting, etc) is to actually get up, find a partner and dance.

This lead to a catch-22 situation for me. I wanted to get better at dancing but I didn't dare to go out and dance. Because of that it took a long time before anything happened.

I also remember the first time I actually went social dancing. I had been dancing for a while now and had the basics down so I wasn't too scared anymore. At least, not until we got to the party.

Once we were there all I could see were superstar level dancers and I became so self conscious that I couldn't remember anything beyond a mambo basic. This embarrassed me to no ends and lead to me becoming more and more nervous.

Half way through the song I called it quits. Even though my partner was very patient the night didn't improve. I would calm down when I was sitting down but as soon as I got up I felt like all eyes were on me and I started to freeze again.

Looking back though I don't know why I felt that way.

Nobody laughed at me, my parter didn't stop talking to me and if I have to be honest, I doubt anybody was even watching me. They were all looking at the great dancers, just like I do when I go out.

So what's the moral of this post? Go out and dance!

If you're like me then it can be very intimidating but the improvement you'll see and feel in your dancing will make it all worth it after a while.

If you're a man... definitely go social dancing!
Ladies tend to improve quicker than guys when they are both starting to dance salsa at the same time. You need all the practice you can get to just keep up with them.

And as Edie once told me, if girls would have wanted to sit around all night they would have stayed at home. Given the choice most girls would rather dance with you, even though you're not a great dancer yet, than sit around all night and not dance.

On taking notes

A couple of months ago I started dancing again in the Netherlands. It took me a while to organize everything and to find a new place to take lessons.

It has been a lot of fun to start dancing again but there is one thing I learned from this experience;

Even in just 2 months I can forget a lot of the things that I have learned!

Aside from that it also taught me something though. I need to keep better notes.

For a while now I've been writing down the new moves/combinations that I learned. At first I just wrote down their names but I soon found that didn't do. I would read the name and... absolutely nothing. My brain just blanked out. Nothing would come to mind.

So then I started writing the actual move/combination down entirely. This worked great for months. My notes served as great reminders on days when I forgot what I had learned in class earlier that week. Taking notes is definitely something I recommend to everybody who starts learning salsa.

Unfortunately 2 months down the road things weren't clear so anymore. When I went over my notes I ran into a couple of problems.

1) I had used the name of another move/combination to describe part of the new move/combination.

2) my note taking had been inconsistent.

Especially the first part became very frustrating when I went through my notes. I would be in the middle of the description of a combination when all of a sudden I ran across the name of another move... that I couldn't remember either. Imagine my frustration when I realized I had never written that move down because it was so 'easy'.

And I have to admit, after I finally figured it out what move went with the name, that it was indeed an easy move. I had not trouble doing it. Unfortunately I had lost a lot of time trying to figure it out again.

The second part was less frustrating but still annoyed me my notes weren't consistent.

Sometimes I would write down an entire 8 second count, second by second. At other times I would only write down which part of the move started on 1 and which part on 5. Although this wasn't a big problem it did have me running into timing problems when trying to remember moves that were a bit more complicated.

So to prevent this from happening I have now started taking complete notes (all counts described) and I've started checking all my notes to see whether moves or combinations I refer to are actually written down as well. I'm sure this will help a lot.

Aside from that I'm considering to use my video camera more often. So far it has been a great tool to give me feedback on how I look but I think that it can do just as well as a visual aid. Together with the written notes I should be able to easily remember moves/combinations that I have forgotten.

But how about you? How do you remember all the moves/combinations that you have learned?