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.

An empty dance floor

It is Saturday night and I walk into the party.

It's still early, just 9.40PM. So far only about 10 -20 people have arrived. They seem to be mainly followers. As was to be expected, the dance floor is empty.

I make my way around the room saying hello to the people I know. Given the fact that so few people are there this normally shouldn't take much time. However this party is organized by our dance school as they always do at the end of a course. Because of that there are a lot of familiar faces and it takes me about 15 minutes to make my round.

At the end of those 15 minutes the dance floor is still empty.

All the way in the back there are 3 other leads that I know well. They are just sitting there, looking at the empty dance floor.

1 Of the other leads is slightly more experienced than I am. 1, slightly less experienced the last one has been dancing a fair longer than I have. As they seem to have been there for a while I can´t figure out why they are not dancing yet. In the end I decide that the easiest way to find out is to go ahead and ask.

They all tell me that nobody is dancing yet and they are waiting for it to become a bit busier on the floor.

This is where I get lost. These are the most experienced leads here at the moment and they are waiting for other people to start dancing first. But, if the more experienced leads don't open the floor because they are too intimidated then how can we possibly expect anybody that is less experienced to be the first to dance?

I get confused and decide that a salsa party without people dancing just isn´t right so I walk over to one of the girls and ask her to dance.

She has been dancing for a while now now so I hope she won't be too self concious but as I come closer I can tell that she doesn´t feel completely comfortable. She´s a great sport though and she accepts even though it is clear that she doesn't like the idea of being the first one on the floor.

That is definately something I can relate to. All eyes are on us now and we are not great dancers. Slightly bigger fish in a small pond at best.

We begin to dance and start real slowly. Single turn, cbl, basic. Rinse and repeat.

After a while we start to relax and begin to enjoy the music and the dance. Slowly we incorporate more moves and after a while I have completely forgotten that everybody is watching us.

I laugh of my mistakes and just have a good time. So does she. Laugh my mistakes off that is. She's doing brilliantly. Now that the initial fear has worn off we are just enjoying the dance and forget about everything else. At least, that's what I do.

After a while the song ends and I suddenly realze we are no longer alone on the floor. Some other couples have started dancing as well.

Mission accomplished, this party is open for business!

I thank my partner and I'm off to say hello to some friends that have just arrived.

We talk a bit about the situation (experienced leads being to intimidated by an empty floor) and they start laughing. When I ask why they point to the floor and saying 'looks like you have to do it again'.

As I turn around I notice that the dance floor is empty again.

By now my initial fear is gone and I ask one of the newly arrived girls to dance with me. This time the others are quicker to respond. It only takes about 30 seconds for the next couple to get up and start dancing as well. Before we're halfway through the song there are about 10 couples on the floor. Things are looking up. It seems like the party will finaly get going after all.

When the dance ends I walk over to welcome some other friends that just came in. As I leave the dance floor I see the other couples leaving as well but I don't think anything off it. After all, enough people have been dancing now so someone else is bound to start dancing now, right?

Wrong! Nobody goes near the dance floor. They all sit on the site, looking at each other and the empty floor.

I decide to wait for the song to end. Perhaps some people just need to catch their breath for a second before they continu dancing. They might just start again in the middle of the song. And surely the more experienced leaders will start dancing now that some of their favourite follows have arrived . . .

Unfortunately once again, nothing happens.

The next song comes on while I still stand off to the side, wondering what is going to happen. And indeed you´re right, nothing happens. The floor stays empty

By now I´m completely lost. I have danced and my fear has gone away. The other more experienced leads have danced so surely they realize there´s nothing to be afraid off. Why do they stay on the side=

Halfway through the song I decide to try once more.
I ask one of my favourite follows and as soon as we move towards the floor another couple gets up and comes to the floor as well.

Shortly after that more people join in and, at last, the party has started.

This was the last time that the floor had been empty that night. It would not be empty again until the end of the party.

Still, to get back to the original question, if more experienced dancers won't open the floor, how can we expect beginners to start dancing?

Of course I realize that a lot of them are self concious. So am I. When they tell me it is intimidating to be the first one out there I can relate. I too was scared when I started that first dance.

But after that things got better and I started to think. What am I really afraid off? That somebody will laugh at me? I don't think that has ever happened.

That I am not a good enough dancer perhaps? But not good enough compared to who? After all, if I am the only one on the dance floor then by default I will be the best dancer on the floor :-)

There really is not a a reason to be scared.

Obviously I did not realize that yet when I started that first dance. It took some effort to get over that knot in my stomach and to go out there. The only reason I started to dance was a sense of guilt.

Because most classes are short on men I get asked to help out at a lot. When somebody asks me how I learned to dance so well (it's relatively easy to impress beginners ;-) ) I always stress the importance of social dancing.

And because I always say how important social dancing is I felt obliged to go out and dance. I felt that I owed it to them to get on the floor and dance. To show them that they have nothing to be afraid off, even if I was scared myself at that time.

Looking back though it was the best thing that happened in a while. As soon as I started to have fun it made me realize that dancing is not scary, it´s fun!

So what if I was the first to get up and dance? Sure, I made mistakes. But at least I was out there and I was dancing and having fun. That was after all the main reason that I came to the party.

So why didn't any the other leads do the same? Especially after people had already been dancing. I honestly don´t know and haven´t had a chance to talk to them about it yet.

All I can think of is that the fear was too great for them to overcome. But if that is true than how can we honestly tell beginners that they really should go social dancing? That it a wonderful way to improve their dancing and that they'll improve much faster. How can we say any of that if we with more experience don´t set the example?

Personally I know this won´t happen again. I won't be intimidated by an empty floor scare me anymore. After all, I now know that it's my chance to be the best dancer on the floor so I'm going to get out there and enjoy that ;-)

If you happen to know of a way for me to help others get over their fear please feel free to share it.

Enjoy your dancing!

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