Strictly Salsa FAQs and salsa tips
Does it matter if I've never danced before?
No. Absolutely not. If you've an ounce of rhythm in your body, we can teach you what to do with it!
What should I wear?
Wear whatever you feel comfortable in. For most this means jeans and top (nothing too warm, mind) though some folk like to dress up a bit as it's their only night out in the week! With regard to footwear, very high heels or sticky soled trainers are not ideal as you will be on your feet for at least an hour. Itís important that you can slide and turn your feet easily on the dance floor, so choose something comfortable with a non-grip sole. You can buy dance shoes or dance trainers, but you wonít need them for a while if you are a new beginner.
Do I need to bring a partner?
No, you don't. We rotate partners in the classes so all the ladies get a go with all the blokes and vice versa. We do tend to have more ladies than men attending though so ladies, bring a chap with you if you can find one.
Do I have to book?
No. All our classes are run on a drop-in basis so you can come along any week you wish.
How long will it take to learn?
This depends on your ability, how many classes a week you go to, and how much practice you do between times. Also you'll never know it all (we're very much still learning ourselves!!). To get to a reasonable standard of freestyle leading and following takes on average, 6-12 months if you attend one class per week. You can shorten this dramatically by attending more classes.
What is "Freestyle Salsa"?
During classes students are shown moves and routines and are led through these by the teacher. Freestyle salsa is when there is no teacher involved and people simply dance with each other to music. When dancing freestyle, the Leader (usually the man) will guide or "lead" the follower (usually the woman) through whatever moves he wishes in whatever order he wishes, communicating these moves through subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) movements of his hands and body. To be able to freestyle comfortably should be the aim of everyone learning to dance salsa, otherwise it's a little like spending years learning to speak French and never visiting France.
This is ABSOLUTELY NOT the part where we try and teach you to salsa via a website. We've come across some websites that do this and are always very amused.
There are however some things that as a new dancer, it can be very useful to know.
Most importantly: if you want to really improve as a dancer, you MUST dance! We don't mean just in lessons but between lessons and at other social, salsa functions (e.g. the Engine Shed at Wetherby). It sounds obvious, but a lot of people don't seem to make the connection. Doing lessons alone is not enough.
Second most important is that there is NO-ONE who is too good to dance with you, whatever level you may be at, or whatever level you may think someone else may be at. This goes for guys and girls alike. Most dancers understand that their clubs only exist because they continually get new blood, and this new blood needs practice. Remember EVERYONE was a beginner once. Salsa etiquette dictates that when asked for a dance, everyone says yes! (Although occasionally, if someone's been on the floor for the last 15 records, they may need to get a drink and a sit-down for a few minutes first.)
Don't be afraid to ask for dances from anyone/everyone. It doesn't mean you fancy someone if you ask them to dance, nor does it mean they fancy you if they ask you. It is however polite to pretend to fancy them (a little bit at least) for the duration of the dance. Salsa is supposed to be sensual.
If you've got a fear of asking, crack it by going up to the best-looking, best-dancing person on the floor and asking them for a dance. Introduce yourself and smile, and maybe next time they'll ask you.
Girls - There are almost always more ladies than men. The ladies that ask the guys are the ones that get the most dances. Even if a bloke is on his way to ask you, he may well get intercepted by another lady on the way. Ask them before some other girl does! It is just as acceptable in the world of salsa for girls to ask men to dance as vice versa.
Dos and Don'ts
- Do attend lessons at your own level.
- Do ask people of all levels to dance with you.
- Do say yes when asked to dance.
- Do dance regularly to improve your standard.
- Do ask questions in class if you don't understand.
- Don't try to run before you can walk by moving up classes before you're ready. This is frustrating not only for the teachers but also for the other dancers in the class. If you think you're ready to move up, ask your teacher first and they'll be happy for you to move up if you're ready and let you know what you still need to practice if you need a little more work.
- Don't smell bad or have bad breath. If you've any doubt, ask someone who you know will give you an honest answer.
- Don't refuse a dance unless you have a good reason.
- Don't mix too much booze with your salsa. It ruins your dancing.