It’s hot, exciting, and completely ingrained into our society.
Salsa is the definition of cool, and it’s not going anywhere. There is a salsa club and community in every corner of the globe, and people that want an instant upgrade in their social lives are taking notice. Somewhere between “Noticing” and “Taking Lessons” there’s a middle ground. Sometimes people get lost, rethink the whole idea, and go back to more familiar social strategies.
For those remaining, they ask questions. The following 3 questions were asked on Quora, and here are our responses.
3 Salsa Dancing Questions People Are Usually Afraid to Ask
Question 1: How can I get better at meeting girls when dancing Salsa?
Salsa clubs can be tricky without the proper training. With these tips I think you will find that the next time you go to a Salsa club the tables will turn… and so will the ladies.
Stuff To Avoid Doing
- Absolutely Do Not Try To Fake It – I was a swing dancer and a girl I knew invited me to go salsa dancing. I figured “well, I’ll just do what I do in swing, but, you know – with a ‘Latin attitude'”. Boy was I wrong. I learned that facial expressions don’t make tall white people look more “Latin” and doing Swing moves while gyrating can make your female companions uncomfortable.
- Excessive Drinking – Even a World Champion Salsa dancer won’t be any good to their partner if they are boozed up. Guys that think they dance better when they are legally intoxicated need to order an Uber and quit watching too many of those Drunken Master Kung Fu movies.
- Excessive Handling – Listen, great dancers are great dancers because they typically have high social intelligence, and show courtesy to their female dance partners. So don’t grope your partner, or grope someone in hopes of making them your partner, or grope the bartender to get their attention to order a drink so you can go groping everyone else.
Stuff To Do At a Salsa Club
Use the “Three Tempos” approach to become comfortable with your dancing, and socializing.
Fast = Merengue
This is the secret sauce to becoming more social at a Salsa Club. It’s fast, but very easy. In fact, if you can march in place for 8 beats of the music – you’re doing it. The great thing is that because it is easy, your brain will allow you to speak – which isn’t the case with some dances.
Use this dance to start a conversation, and save a dance for later.
Medium = Salsa
This is the headliner at most Salsa clubs, but it’s not the only act. Salsa is your medium tempo dance, but this one has a little more control required, and quicker movements – so don’t expect your brain to agree to a chat. The best form of communication here is a smile, and a comfortable dance frame.
If all goes well here, you can secure a spot into the coveted Slow Tempo.
Slow = Bachata/Rumba/Kizomba/Zouk
Sure, they may sound like Indian Food dishes, but these dances pack more heat than a spicy Saag Paneer (couldn’t help it). If Merengue and Salsa get a lady on the dance floor, then Rumba and Bachata are the dances where you close the deal. Mind you, you can’t complete this mission if you were a groper, a booze hound, or a jerk. But if you’ve successfully navigated a woman from Fast, Medium, to Slow Dancing – you’re in great shape.
Think back to “Avoid This” point #1. You can’t fake it. So in order to NOT fake it, you need to take dance lessons at a school. That’s where you will learn to be a “NOT fake” dancer. Granted, you can take lessons anywhere – your Mom might be a Salsa dancer, they may offer a salsa class at your gym, a rec center, or in some rented room in the back of a nail salon – but you need to take lessons from a place where that’s all they do.
- Nightclubs have classes, but is that all they do?
- Gyms have dance classes, but is that all they do?
- Rec centers have dance classes, but is that all they do?
Find a reputable studio where the staff work full time, monday through friday, and the whole business is built for teaching dudes, just like you, to evolve into something closer to Antonio Banderas, and further away from the gropey guy.
Question 2: Why is it so difficult to find the rhythm in Salsa?
Salsa dancing would be the social equivalent of having light conversation while sprinting through a park. So it can be a little tough.
Finding the music isn’t just some sort of polyrhythmic matrix that requires you to stop time and reinvent the wheel. There’s a process, it can be learned, and here’s what we suggest to find your salsa rhythm:
- Pick up some classic cha-cha music – I like the live version of Oye Como Va
- Try out your salsa basics – they will be slow
- Crank up the foot speed by adding a triple step in between your rock steps.
- You are now dancing the “Triple Mambo” which was later referred to as the Cha-Cha-Cha. Great for developing your ability to hear Latin rhythms and developing foot speed/agility.
- Pull off the Triple Steps – will feel like running after wearing leg weights.
- Go Back To the Salsa – regular tempo and, if necessary, throw in a Cha-Cha-Cha in between to see if you can still do it.
Once you have added more pressure to a slower tempo, it makes the transition back to the fast stuff less taxing on the brain and body.
Rinse & Repeat as necessary.
Question 3: What is it like to take Salsa Lessons?
Salsa lessons can take you from no experience, to any level you’d like to reach. Here are some tips:
- You don’t need experience to take a dance lesson.
- Walking in will make you nervous, but that will subside within 5 minutes of entering the studio.
- Your salsa lessons will give you a great workout.
- If you’re doing this as part of a date night, you are earning some serious dating/marriage points.
- Talking, smiling, turning, thinking, listening, or breathing may not be available to your body while dancing the salsa in the beginning.
- Sweating while dancing is a package deal, so dress and hydrate appropriately.
- Learning to lead or follow in the salsa would be a little like learning to drive in the fast lane on the freeway. You can learn to lead and follow with slower dances like Rumba, Bachata, and Cha-Cha before you work up to salsa.
- If Salsa is Batman, then make Merengue your Robin. The two work extremely well together.