Who knew that my private lessons with Alfred would lead to performing at the “Step It Up” Showcase last July. The old me would have waited until mastering the Salsa levels before my debut on stage. Alfred, however, had other plans and believed in my potential before I did. His belief was enough for me to rise to the challenge and commit to the process.

In hindsight, I’m happy I said yes when my mind told me, “No. You’re not ready yet. You’re only in Salsa Level 2.” The journey to “Historia de un Taxi” was an unforgettable learning experience and I can’t wait to perform again.

Lessons Learned During My Journey to the Showcase

  1. Being Bossy with the Boss Is Against the Rules. I feel out of control as a “follower” in Latin social dancing. In my world, I run things, but the Latin dance world doesn’t allow for two bosses. Therefore, learning to trust my leader is still a work in progress. Sometimes, you have to be humble and play your role ladies. Towards the end of the journey, I grasped the challenging concept of “follow and lead.” If Alfred asked if I was ready or knew my steps, I threw the ball back in his court and replied, “I’m just following your lead.” 
  2. Don’t Be Afraid to Participate in the Creative Process. From the beginning, I expressed my likes and dislikes about the music, costume and dance moves. I fell in love with the song “Historia de un Taxi” by Ricardo Arjona because of its catchy intro. Thanks to Google translation, it was more fun dissecting the lyrics of that song with Alfred. To add a more feminine touch to our routine, Brianna Cruz choreographed my stellar entrance. Lastly, Alfred and I chose the beautiful yellow costume owned and designed by Aleksandra “Ola” Kozlowska. It was an honor to wear that piece. Ultimately, teamwork makes the dream work, and we created a masterpiece!
  3. Just Do It like the Nike Tagline. Like the old me, don’t wait until you’re ready to commit to new things. I’m learning to say yes to opportunities that I fear because there’s growth on the other side. So face your fears and do it!
  4. Small Progress Is Still Progress. My goal was to achieve a double split and leg hold by the showcase. The good news is that I can touch my toes and do a right split. If I weren’t performing at the showcase, I would never start stretching or take dance classes more seriously. Like Cassie’s throwback song, I still have a long way to go, but I’m proud of my small milestones. 
  5. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others. Dancing with an amazing leader like Alfred is intimidating, but he is extremely supportive and exudes positive energy all the time. The reality is that not all leaders are like Alfred. So dancing in a room full of other seasoned dancers can be more daunting. Instead of comparing myself to my peers, I cheered them on and observed the qualities that set them apart from inexperienced dancers like me. So put aside your pride and be a student, take notes and be open to constructive criticism. Also, remember that there’s room for you in the spotlight too. 
  6. Smile and Hold Your Head Up High. I’m not going to lie. I didn’t perform the routine flawlessly as I imagined in my mind countless times. Despite the mishaps, I never lost my smile during that routine. I was present over perfect, and that alone gave me peace of mind after my performance.

If you’re interested in performing, go for it and say yes to the showcase! Also, check out some videos below of my practice sessions with Alfred and Brianna where you’ll see the “real” journey.





About Naldine

Naldine is a dancer for Rhythmology and enjoys sharing her journey to inspire people to step outside of their comfort zones. During her free time, you'll find her reading a new book. She also mentors college students, who aspire to pursue a career in law. If you see her in a Salsa or Bachata class, you can't miss her because she always wears her smile. So don't be a stranger and smile back!

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