Anyone can learn to dance!

How many times have I heard, “I have no talent for dancing” or variations of it such as, “You won’t be able to do anything with me”, “I’m a lost cause”, “I have no rhythm” or “I have two left feet”?

After 15 years of teaching many people, I can tell you that I have not seen many people gifted with the talent of dance; however, I have seen various self-conscious students grow into excellent dancers. Thus, the quality you need in order to succeed is not talent, but perseverance as the good dancers are those who practice, week in, week out, for months. In my view, this shows that ANYONE can learn to dance at any age. Of course, some learn faster than others. If they do, they are simply lucky.

If you are waiting to be a good dancer before going out, you are delaying your goals.

News flash: the best dancers are the ones who go out dancing early in their development. It is a matter of spending the most time on the dance floor because practice makes perfect.

Don’t beat yourself up over a few missed steps. It’s counterproductive!

Some people have a hard time handling their mistakes and get frustrated whenever they make one. Here is a piece of advice I give my dancers: there are two ways to get to one place. The first one consists of learning a move by beating yourself up over a few mistakes, criticizing yourself relentlessly and losing patience with yourself and with others. However, the second method will allow you to learn the move by staying calm and to pat yourself on the back for each of your small accomplishments. Both methods will work. Both cases will make you a better dancer. But the first one is not as pleasant as the second one. Furthermore, chances are you will give up and you are very likely to feel as though you have not accomplished anything. You will have a better time with the second method. So, which one will you choose?

Don’t forget: When you dance with a partner the blame is mutual.

Fellas, here’s a tip for you!

What matters is not the number of moves you know, but the comfort you provide your partner with!

Ladies can follow if they are being led properly.

It is always a pleasure to dance with someone who is more experienced than we are; however, I consider the best Salsa dancers to be those who can dance well with anyone, especially a beginner. A more experienced dancer will cover for your mistakes. You can do it too. In my first year, one of my friends pushed me to dance with someone whom I thought was the best dancer in Montreal. I was scared stiff, but I had a blast! I still remember how it was. She was smiling and it was easy to dance with her. I used the only 3 moves that I knew. Back then, I did not realize why it was so easy to dance with her. Now, I know the techniques she used. She had mastered her center of gravity which meant she could spin impeccably. A good dancer must first be able to dance without her partner’s help to execute moves such as the Boomerang so that she can cover up for the bad leading.

Throughout the years, I noticed that I owe the amount of pleasure that I have experienced with my partners to their attitude on the dance floor more than to their technical dance abilities.

Know that we leave a mark on the people we dance with. Some of them will stay for a long time. So, stay cool and smile!

You will have your share of bad dance experiences, it is normal.

To live wonderful dance experiences, you will have to accept your share of bad ones. You are not going to connect with everyone in the same way. Sometimes, your dance partners will show you attitude, but other times, their nervousness will be perceived as snobbery. You can interpret the personality of other human beings in many ways, but you control YOUR attitude. Smiling will not cost you anything!

Whenever I have a bad dance experience I do not second-guess myself. Sometimes, our partner’s attitude can affect us a great deal. I remember when I started dancing Salsa, my partner left me on the dance floor to proceed with a two-minute footwork. Needless to say my basic steps paled in comparison. Respect your partner’s dance level.

You will get use to feeling rejected.

You will risk rejection many times, but with time and experience it will not hurt as much. Don’t be BLUNT when giving a refusal as beginners need to muster all their courage to ask you to dance. You may be thinking that you have the right to deny someone a dance and you are right, but in 15 years I have only said no to a few. To those that I’ve denied a dance because I was exhausted, I made sure I invited them later on that night. If you want to share your passion, I suggest you go beyond. Go invite the ones who are trying to hide, the ones that have not danced all night. Taking them by the hand will please them. In the end, you may even be the one who will be pleased with what and whom you have discovered.

Ilias Director –  Baila Productions

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Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Dance School (Vaudreuil-Soulange Sector) 450-238-1435
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