~ Put Away Your Fears and Wear Your Confidence ~
Last April, I faced my fear of Latin socials. For months, I made up excuses not to go to “Sabado de Rumba” because I didn’t feel “good enough.” I refused to look like a novice on the dance floor and felt safe hiding in the shadows of fear and insecurity. One day, out of nowhere, I had an epiphany. I realized that I would never muster the courage to go to a Latin social if I waited until the right time. So I put on my Salsa shoes and my sexy jeans and left my fears at home. I walked into “Sabado de Rumba” not knowing what to expect, but it was indeed one of the best learning experiences that I could ask for.
What Is a Latin Social?
A Latin social is a party. You’ll find a DJ spinning a hot mix, drinks, and a diverse group of people dancing the night away. The purpose of a Latin social is for new and seasoned dancers to show off or practice their fancy moves outside the classroom. In my opinion, social dancing is more challenging than the classroom experience because there’s no teacher to show you the dance steps. As the DJ randomly spins his playlist, it’s up to you to listen to the rhythm and improvise. You’ll also dance with a stranger for the first time. Luckily, Rhythmology teaches an introductory class to break the ice between the dancers.
The Benefits of Latin Socials
There’s no doubt that socials bring out the best in you if you’re open to the challenge. Sorry to break the news but you won’t improve your dancing skills by only attending classes. So check out a few reasons why you should be fearless and go to a social! If you’re free on Thursday nights, Rhythmology hosts Latin Pulse Thursdays at Mesita, a Mexican restaurant in Rockville Centre. Otherwise, join Rhythmology at Sabado de Rumba every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month!
It Boosts Your Self-Confidence
First off, I salute the men. It takes a lot of courage to ask a woman to dance at a social. There’s constantly that fear of rejection. That night, I witnessed a man ask a couple of women to dance, but they kindly declined. Their noes didn’t stop him though! He bounced back from that moment of rejection and asked another woman to dance. That woman was me. I admired his self-confidence and found it to be super attractive.
Honestly, “Excuse me, would you like to dance?” was quite the ice breaker question at the social. I liked how the men led with that simple question, and a conversation naturally continued on the dance floor. This question also made me think twice about saying no. I had a choice. I could either sit in a corner all night or challenge myself to become a strong social Latin dancer. After the third or fourth partner, I felt more confident and didn’t care if I looked “bad” or “inexperienced.” I had so much fun dancing that none of those insecurities mattered.
It’s a Great Opportunity to Network “Across” and Make New Friends
Traditionally, the norm has been to network “up” in the industry that you desire to break into. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, I find that networking “across” is also practical and leads to new friendships. You never know who someone is or if you have common interests until you have a conversation. Latin socials foster meaningful connections.
That night, I interacted with a lot of people, whom I most likely would never cross paths with. For example, I met a gentleman, who recently moved to New York from New Hampshire or Maine to start a new job. I’m originally from Massachusetts, so it was cool to chat briefly with a fellow New Englander. I also met another dancer, who expressed his interest in Rhythmology’s travel program to the Dominican Republic. I shared my vacation experience at Punta Cana and interest in the travel program too. My point is that besides showing off your fancy “shines,” break out of your shell and socialize with the person next to you!
You Become a Strong Dancer Inside and Outside the Classroom
You could perform exceptionally on the stage, but if you can’t dance socially, then you’re not a versatile dancer. I realized that learning how to dance on and off the stage is valuable. That night, I danced with more than five different partners. Talk about speed dancing! Each partner was at a different skill level and taught me a lot about communication; namely, “following and leading.” I also learned to pay close attention to the music, which dictated whether we danced Salsa or Bachata. During the moments when I had to sit down and catch my breath, I observed the more experienced dancers. They moved with a sense of confidence and appeared to be lost in each other and the music. As I said, you don’t want to miss out on the great benefits of Latin socials. That night, I danced the night away, and you should dance too.