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body movement

7 BODY TRICKS TO BRING YOUR SALSA “SHINES” TO LIFE

Naldine

~ Your Body Is a Work of Art

Are you ready to take your dancing skills to the next level? If so, you’re in the right place! If you’ve attended classes at Rhythmology, you’ll learn powerful body techniques to stand out on the dance floor. The subtle nuances of body movement that most dancers overlook are what will make you look like a pro. Over the past year and a half, I’ve studied from amazing Rhythmologists, and I’m sharing my notes for free! Keep reading if you’re ready to learn how to be a Rhythmologist, aka, a dancer, who studies the movement and feels the rhythm. 

Your Body Language Matters

Dancing is more than doing the steps. It’s an art, and our bodies are vehicles of self-expression. Therefore, the way we move our bodies on the dance floor matters tremendously. 

When I first learned the Salsa shines, I focused entirely on memorizing the steps and neglected technique. My brain couldn’t juggle all the moving parts like timing, styling my arms, or connecting with my partner. Over time, I grew comfortable with the steps and shifted my focus on movement and connection. I’m also thankful for Rhythmology instructors, Alfred and Bryan, who didn’t hesitate to give me constructive advice.

Nowadays, I’m learning how to apply these body techniques to elevate my dancing. Think of these tips like checking and adjusting your body before you hit the dance floor. I promise that you’ll notice a difference in the quality of your dancing. If you want to take it a step further, I recommend that you take the weekly seminars on body movement and musicality with my favorites, Bryan and Luis. 

Check Your Body Before You Hit the Dance Floor

Stand Like a Royal. Royals like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle mastered the art of body posture and carry themselves with poise and confidence. I’m guilty of sitting and standing with slumped shoulders, but a firm stance is fundamental in social dancing. So pretend you’re a royal and straighten your spine, lift your chest, tuck your belly and push your shoulders down. If you feel movement from your back muscles, then you’re dancing correctly.

Raise Your Arms. Your arms should never flap aimlessly down your side while social dancing. Instead, position your arms at an obtuse angle to maintain your frame in solo and partner dancing. 

Position Your Feet at 11 and 1 O’Clock. I still struggle to remember this technique, but Alfred says that our feet must be slightly turned out while dancing. It feels awkward to perform the shines in this position, but you’ll look like an advanced dancer. 

Bring Your Energy Forward. Social dancing requires us to dance on the balls of our feet. Therefore, bringing our energy forward as opposed to backward prevents us from dancing on flat feet. Further, bringing the energy forward creates a stronger connection while dancing with a partner. I can’t deny that social dancing sometimes feels like an invasion of personal space, but physical closeness is part of the connection.

Inhale and Exhale. I recently took a class with Rhythmology instructor, Mitchell, and he brought up this vital tip. Most of us forget to breathe while dancing. Breathing helps our muscles relax and reduce tension. So don’t look lifeless on the dance floor and forget to breathe. It’s the most natural thing on this list to do.

Ready, Set, Dance!

Once you’ve aligned your posture, feet, arms, and energy, you’re ready to hit that dance floor and shine!

Caress the Floors. I stole this line from Alfred, who helped me visualize how to move my feet. The Salsa shines involve a lot of knee bending and the shifting of our weight. However, we sometimes lift our feet off the floor like we’re marching. Instead, we must stay grounded and brush the floors with our feet.  

Emphasize Counts 4 and 8. As you know, the Salsa steps involve a sequence of eight counts. However, counts four and eight are silent. Even though we consider these counts to be “breaks” or “pauses,” they still require energy. Therefore, use these counts to propel the next step. 

Remember, the dance floor is your canvas. Dig deeper beyond the steps and create art with your body. You have what it takes to be a Rhythmologist! 

Music

20 FEEL-GOOD LATIN SONGS TO FIND YOUR RHYTHM

Naldine

Music is good for the soul. It heals. It evokes emotion and makes us cry, reminisce about old memories, or dance. I love when a song speaks to me. I don’t even need to understand the lyrics for my mind and body to react. That’s the magic of music. 

Lately, Shazam has become my second pair of ears in dance class. Rhythmology instructors, Jose Bolivar, and Bryan Perez have the best playlist by far. I’ve stolen some songs off their playlist and use them to improve my body movement and musicality everywhere! For example, I dance to these songs while getting ready for work, cleaning my room, or driving in the car. I probably look loco dancing by myself, but I can’t help it when the beat drops. Check out these Latin songs to practice your dance moves wherever you are. 

  1. Mi Salsa Tiene Sandunga – Elito Revé y su Charangón
  2. Mi Musica – Alexander Abreu
  3. Abre Que Voy – Miguel Enriquez
  4. Y Ya Para Qué – Manolito y su Trabuco
  5. Negra Rumba (feat. Frankie Vasquez y Jesus Alejandro) – Dj Ricky Campanelli
  6. Muévete Pa Aquí – Elito Revé y su Charangón
  7. Tres Dias – Havana D’Primera
  8. Vente Negra – Habana Con Kola
  9. Adicto – Prince Royce y Marc Anthony
  10. Bailame (Bachata Remix) – Bachata Tropical
  11. Love Song (The Cure Salsa Cover) – Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra
  12. Hush – Jr. 
  13. Historia de un Taxi – Marc Anthony y Ricardo Arjona
  14. La Vida Continuó – Karol G y Simone & Simaria
  15. Buscando la Verdad (feat. Jimmy Bosch) – DJ Ricky Campanelli
  16. La Bicicleta – Carlos Vives y Shakira
  17. Cúrame – Prince Royce y Manuel Turizo
  18. Vivir Mi Vida – Marc Anthony 
  19. La Tortura – Shakira y Maluma
  20. Immortal – Aventura

I hope you enjoy these songs as I do and find your rhythm. Please feel free to share any other songs that rock your mind, body, and soul.

La música es vida!

date night; dancing

DATE NIGHTS: WHY SETTLE FOR “NETFLIX AND CHILL” WHEN YOU CAN GO SALSA DANCING

Naldine

We live in the era of “Netflix and Chill,” the go-to date night for millennials. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve fallen prey to a lazy night in but I cherished the dates that the guy put thought and creativity into. I vividly remember, for example, my excitement when this guy took me to Bounce, an indoor trampoline spot. I felt like a gymnast again and did backflips without the warranted fear of snapping my neck. Another guy took me to a local roller skating rink, where we raced and competed to see who would fall first. Thank God it wasn’t me! I’ve also biked on the boardwalk of Long Beach while real fireworks lit up the sky and my heart. So what’s the common thread between these dates? Well, my partner and I bonded in a meaningful way by doing a physical activity together.

Why Social Latin Dancing Is the Best Investment During the Dating Stage

Dating is meant to be spontaneous and exciting. That’s why “Netflix and Chill” is overrated in my opinion. So switch it up and turn dating into something more meaningful. Treat each other like a worthwhile investment and take social Latin dancing classes together. In a culture that promotes short-term flames, let’s explore why Latin social dancing is the best date night idea.

  1. It Caters to Our Innate Desire for Connection

Social Latin dancing could be summed up in one single word: connection. The dancers rarely speak a single word, yet they exchange energies with their bodies. It’s like electricity. This is why Latin social dancing subconsciously appeals to most of us. In other words, we crave connection. It’s human nature, and social Latin dancing caters to that desire. Think about it. Isn’t the purpose of dating to discover if there’s a connection between two people that’s worth delving deeper into? Isn’t it to find a companion to travel through the seasons of life with? Well, Latin social dancing helps build that connection, and you might walk away with a companion for life!

  1. You Don’t Have to Worry About Your Date Being on the Phone

Today, the biggest threat to connection is the cell phone. It’s ironic because Martin Cooper invented the cell phone to facilitate verbal communication yet it’s now a connection killer. Every second, we take the present moments for granted because of the addiction to our phones. We consume ourselves with checking the likes on Instagram, the work emails or if the guy or girl from last night’s date texted. The worst behavior is when your date is into his or her phone more than you.

Well, social Latin dancing removes this major distraction because you must be fully present at the moment to experience that connection. In fact, you learn how to use your senses like sight, touch and sound to connect to the music and your partner. The only time that you’ll use your phone is to record the dance instructor at the end of class.

  1. It’s a Journey, Not a One Night Fling

Most dates happen once, and you never speak or see each other again. Yup. Ghosting is a thing nowadays when you cut off all contact with someone without an explanation. Social Latin dancing, however, makes it likely to go on a second, third, fourth or even seventh date. It’s an opportunity to have fun, step on each other’s feet, release those feel-good chemicals (aka endorphins) and embrace the process of learning about each other. Like the mantra goes: enjoy the journey, not the destination!

  1. You Get the Bonus of Intimacy (But with Your Clothes On)

Social Latin dancing is real close. Like I can smell your cologne or body odor type of close. I can’t lie. It’s uncomfortable being that close with someone that you barely know. However, I promise that it’s worth it in the long run. You experience intimacy without having to take your clothes off and become curious to learn more about each other. Before you know it, you’ll grow closer than ever and perhaps dancers for life. 

eye contact, connection

5 FUN TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR SOCIAL LATIN DANCE SKILLS!

Naldine

~ 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!

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Be Patient

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. 

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