4 Tips to Learn Faster in Dance Classes

You’re in a dance class and you know you’re doing something wrong, but you can’t figure out what it is. You feel stuck. What can you do?

 

Say

Slow

Small

Salsa

 

Say: Choose a logical name or command for every step in the dance pattern. Repeat these commands (in your mind or aloud) and check that your steps follow those commands. For example, a salsa basic (explained in this video) consists of six steps and you could label it as “Forward, In-Place, Feet Together, Backward, In-Place, Feet Together.”

Slow: If your instructor is counting at a fast pace or playing fast music, it’s appropriate to slow down by counting at a tempo that feels doable for you. If you’re dancing with a partner, just let them know “I’m having some trouble with these steps, can we try doing them to slower counts?” They will probably understand! At home, practice to slow music such as this romantic salsa, “Conteo Regresivo” by Gilberto Santa Rosa.

Small: A common mistake among beginner dancers is to take steps that are too far apart. Focus on taking small steps, keeping your feet within shoulder width of each other, as shown in this video. Taking big steps can cause a lot of issues. First, you probably won’t be able to keep up with the beat for faster songs. Second, you’re more likely to lose your balance, especially for steps that involve crossing your feet. Third, you’re more likely to step on your partner and others dancing around you. Fourth, it can limit your range of emotion for other important body parts (your hips!)

Salsa: The salsa basic involves stepping on six of eight counts in the music (1-2-3-5-6-7) and alternating your feet with each step (left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, etc.) Stepping twice with the same foot is a common mistake. If you’re having trouble with a pattern, do a self-check, or ask a friend to watch you: Am I stepping on the correct beats? Am I alternating my feet? Note: some solo shine patterns and intermediate/advanced partner moves break the rules of the basic.

If you keep these tips in mind, you can thrive in your next salsa dancing class!

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