How Fast Can You Learn Salsa Dancing?

For most of our students it takes 3-6 months of classes before they begin going out to the clubs to dance. However, it is totally possible to be having a blast on the dance floor after just a week or two. In this post i discuss some factors that affect how quick you can learn and how quick you get confident enough to go out dancing.

What does knowing how to dance mean?
I define it as knowing enough to get you started going out to dance and have fun on the dance floor in the clubs on a weekly basis. It may be subjective, yet certainly measurable. If your goal is to be able to go out dancing, you have reached your goal when you start to go out dancing. Here in Austin Texas you can go out salsa dancing every night of the week, and many days to live music!

Several factors affect the speed of the learning process:

The fastest I saw a somebody learn was my little brother. This was hugely annoying and rewarding for me.

1) It depends on your vision.

Do you see yourself just going to dance class and have fun learning with others or do you see yourself as someone on the dance floor that people love to watch and dance with? Obviously, the last option will get you there quick, while the first option may not get you on the dance floor at all.

2) It depends on how you learn.

If you only learn through group classes it is going to take much more time than if you add a few private lessons. Group lessons are fun because it’s like trying to solve puzzles with others. Nothing beats private lessons.

A master teacher can understand your vision and get your there fast. Physical movements will give you AHA-moments much more effectively than words. Private lessons makes the complex and vague become easy and clear. Secondly, don’t forget that dancing is about being playful. It’s much easier to play in a private lesson, while in classes you just try to figure out the mechanics of the moves.

3) It depends on how used you are to moving the body.

If you frequently move the body, you have an arsenal of knowledge about movement and you will easily be able to copy movement.

4) It depends on your perspective of the dance (and life)

Do you see dancing as an activity which requires certain skills that you need to learn to execute, or do you see dancing as a game that you play where you can be yourself like you are when you play other games?

The first option requires self confidence, the second gives you self confidence. Why? Because when you try to become good, you will already start thinking about what is bad, not good enough, etc. You will begin to judge others but mostly you will judge yourself.

Dancing is known as a great way to increase self confidence. It’s true – if you have the right perspective. Many think dancing is something you want to be good at. It’s a mental trap. This perspective may enable you to see yourself better than others, but you will never stop judging yourself until you stop trying to be good.

Don’t try to be good – beacuse your Real wish is to be playful!

Think about it, everybody who we see as extremely good at something are not really trying to be good. Playful is something you can be already, good is something you try to be. Trying to be good will take a lot of the joy out of dancing.

Being playful and seeing mistakes as a source of fun and a resource for learning makes learning much faster. It’s a truth about life that you will enjoy and it will boost your confidence on and off the dance floor.

As a learner and teacher over many years, I have seen a few people learn very quickly.

Salsa dancing Classes

My younger brother Carl Roland was a great salsa dancer until he crushed his spine in a skiing accident. Luckily, he is still incredibly playful!

The fastest I saw somebody learn was my little brother. This was hugely annoying and rewarding for me. Annoying because after 2 hours he could dance better than I could after one year of dance classes and going out to dance every week. Rewarding because I was teaching the way I wished my teachers would have done to me – and it worked.

My younger brother Carl had all it took. He had trained martial arts and he was excited to learn. As a musician he had learned how to not allow being shy and afraid of doing mistakes become an obstacle. He had great self confidence that only grew stronger as he was equipped with some cool moves. I did not have to teach him much before he felt that he had enough. He went out to dance for the first time the same evening. His confidence enabled him to learn new moves by looking at others and simply try to copy them and he succeeded.

Maybe you start to see that it is not only steps and figures that make you a dancer. Regardless of how long it takes, it is fun and it’s something that increase your confidence and your ability to connect with others.

Dancing  make you feel great, happy and playful. When you feel great, happy and playful you want to dance! YouTube and Facebook are full of examples of complicated dance moves. But that’s really not what dancing is about. Real dancing is really easy! Don’t judge yourself because you can’t do all the complicated moves yet. When you see somebody do complicated dance moves, remember that salsa dancing is not about doing something difficult. It is about enjoying the music and the moment with another person.

Advice: Combine going out and taking lessons as soon as you know 3-4 moves. When you are learning, don’t try to remember more than 3 of the last new moves you were taught.

Want to learn from somebody who is trying to make you become good at something or do you want to learn from somebody who is trying to make you become playful and free? How about both?

Author: Erik Roland

Author: Erik Roland

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