If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again.
Everybody was once a Beginner!
No matter what you see or how you feel about your own skills - EVERYONE was once a beginner!
I still to this day remember clear as day when I first started dancing salsa, nothing made sense! I couldn't for the sake of me hear the 1, 2, 3...! "-Don't you hear the one(1)?", my instructor used to say... "-What one(1)??!!"... She was referring to count 1 in the music so I know when to start stepping. I felt like I didn't have a musical bone in me! I was totally out of my comfort zone! Since I am a Latino, I was expected to pick this up instantly and be fantastic!
However, I learnt very quickly that learning to dance salsa technically correct or any other dancing for that matter is not something you are born with no matter what background you have or where you were born. It is all about learning and repetition. Yes, it is true that some will pick up faster. However, the one who studies eventually excels!
This is exactly what I did, "study" and repeat over and over again! I used to think, how come everybody else is learning so fast? Am I the only one not getting it? Luckily, I realized I wasn't the only one. However, with time... slowly but surely, things started to make sense and fall in place. I even remember the night when suddenly my dancing felt very different - I started to "get it"!
Sometimes you see 'hot shots' on the dance floor dancing amazing, well... they should to be dancing that well, since they spend most of their time practicing/dancing - while others are at work earning a living! Keep in mind that these dancers probably earn a living from dancing. So don't compare yourself to them.
You will learn at your own pace no matter what, just like I did. The more you worry about it the slower you will find you progress, trust me! Try to just relax and allow yourself to not know anything for a while; it won't be too long before that fact changes rapidly. Enjoy the process of learning and don't beat yourself up - be kind to yourself and you'll be pleasantly surprised! Keep your dancing simple and basic initially to build up your confidence. Then at a later stage once you can do all your basic moves (and backwards) in various different orders, you can start playing and experimenting with new more challenging moves and styling as you progress! The single most important advice for all dancers, is to smile and have fun when you dance!
You are allowed to make mistakes, this is how you will learn. Ask questions about everything, this is how you will understand why it is done in one way and not the other.
Measure your success only by comparison to yourself and appreciate how far you've come - everyone else around you is far too worried that you will laugh at them to risk a sideways glance, so.... just relax.
Keep in mind that social salsa dancing is for fun and making friends. If you don't get it as quickly as you anticipated, nothing tragic will happen, the class will still be there next week! It's only a matter of time - so take your time and go step-by-step!
Ask for help if you're struggling with anything; don't be afraid to ask, no matter how silly you think it is. As teachers, we love getting questions from beginners because we know that it will "light up" a bulb and things will eventually fall in place. Everything will make sense, slowly, but surely! Remember, there is a good chance you are not the only person wondering about something, and the answer to your question will probably be helpful to several people in your class! Others will probably thank you for asking a question. If you believe you are seriously falling behind in class, then perhaps consider a private lesson.
Below we have selected a few songs that are appropriate for beginners who are starting out with Salsa dancing. The song have a good tempo, strong beat and clear instruments which makes it easy to pick up the timing.
Appropriate music for beginners practice
- Ray Barreto: Acid
- Crystal Sierra: Playa no more
- Angeles y Bob Marley: No Woman No Cry (salsa version)
- Hector y Tito con Victor Manuel: Ay Amor (salsa version)
- Los Nemus: Cuera, Maraca y Bongo
- Lenny Kravitz: Thinking of you (salsa version)
- DLG: No morira
- Lionel Richie: Hello (salsa version)
- Frankie Ruiz: Cosas Nativas
- Grupo Latin Vibe: La Llave
- Luis Enrique: Yo no se mañana
- Orquesta La Palabra: Lady