~ Listen Closely. Feel Deeply. Look Beyond. Dance Freely ~
As the modified saying goes, practice makes permanent (not perfect)! It’s plain simple. You’re capable of developing good dancing habits if you commit to the process. Stop making excuses and become the great dancer that you aspire to be. Check out some great tips below and practice them until they stick!
Listen to the Music
The “hustle and bustle” of New York makes it difficult to stop and be present in the moment. Latin dancing, however, requires us to pause and listen carefully to the music. Musicality is an important skill that determines your timing to different styles of dance like Salsa, Bachata, Cha-Cha or the Tango. That’s why you must listen and feel the beat to move to the rhythm. You can improve your dancing skills today by listening more to Latin music. You don’t even have to speak or understand Spanish to decipher the rhythm. If you need music recommendations, follow Rhythmology’s Salsa playlist on Spotify today!
Ladies, It’s Okay to Let Him Lead!
In Latin dance, the man leads, and the woman follows. This sounds quite simple, but most new Latin dancers including myself struggle with this concept. If you’re anything like me, it’s difficult to let go of control and trust a stranger. However, I’ve learned that there shouldn’t be a power struggle between the man and the woman in Latin social dancing. Otherwise, you’ll look like a couple fighting on the dance floor. No Bueno! Latin dancing is about kindling a genuine connection and communicating through body language. The man and woman rely heavily upon their hands to transmit signals between them. For example, the man will spin his partner by using his hand and fingers.
Remember ladies, following your leader, isn’t an invitation to be passive or submissive. You’re not a prop or an accessory to the man. You’re equally important and must still do your part and pay attention to his signals! The next time you dance with a partner, I challenge you to keep calm and follow his lead. Over time, it will become second nature, and you’ll look like a pro on the dance floor.
Make Eye Contact
This might be extremely awkward at first, but eye contact is a great way to connect with your partner. Dancing with your head down does not exude confidence and might cause you to bump heads. So don’t be afraid to look into your partner’s eyes and break the awkwardness with a warm smile or “small talk.” Trust me, smiling works and that’s my go-to move in awkward situations like dancing with a stranger. For couples, eye contact increases intimacy and creates a deeper connection. There is nothing more appealing in Latin dance than expressing love on the dance floor.
Let Go of Your Inhibitions and Just Dance!
Why do we become so self-conscious around others yet we confidently dance in front of the mirror when no one is watching? Dancing should be a fun and relaxing experience whether we’re in the comfort of our homes or outside our comfort zones. Don’t overthink and just let your body move effortlessly. Everyone has rhythm. We’re often too focused on comparing our dancing skills to others that it blocks our ability to release the rhythm within us.
I admit that I struggle with the overthinking part a lot. Sometimes, my body naturally stiffens when I’m overthinking the counts or steps. However, we must relax our arms to properly give or receive signals, as we discussed in the second tip. Remember just to let the music take over and dance.
It takes time to develop strong dancing skills. Be easy on yourself and don’t rush the process. It’s okay to step on your partner’s foot or be off beat from time to time. It’s not the end of the world if you turned the opposite way or forgot to shift your weight. Take the time to learn from these mishaps and practice until you improve. Self-awareness is the key to succeed as a dancer. If you find yourself struggling with the dance steps or rhythm, then sign up for private lessons. Private lessons are less intimidating than a group class or a social at a club. So don’t wait to schedule a private class today to hone your dancing skills! You’ll thank me later.