So, you thought you were ready for the dance floor and all the sudden your in the arms of some “swaggy” salsero who starts telling you what to do or saying you are wrong. Better yet, someone starts pushing or pulling on the dance floor. Salsa is meant to be a fun way to meet people but every now and then, a salsa prankster comes across and you have to be prepared.
Salsa Etiquette is as important as learning the foundation steps or pattern.
On a positive note, with good social skills men and women alike can gain points on the floor and have more dance partners (I call it the Golden Ticket).
Personally, I have been thrown, stomped on, bumped and bruised by salseros and salseras. I’m sure nothing was intentional, but it certainly raised my attention to creating good social habits to all students and experienced dancers alike.
I’d like to start with a side of what makes a great dancer
A good dancer leads/follows to the level of the partner and doesn’t try any tricks to impress that might throw them off.
A good dancer leads/follows with the rhythm of the music.
A good dancer smiles, pays attention to their partner and thanks them for the dance. Hey, it’s all in the presentation.
A good dancer never gets in the way of other dancers on the floor and is aware of his/her own space. Remember: Keep the steps tight and the frame in equal distance of your partner.
If you step on someone-always apologize.
Salsa is all about non verbal communication. A smile (and a mint) can go a long way. A more confident, experienced dancer knows that talking someone through a move is not dancing. Better yet, telling someone they are wrong is the kiss of death on the floor. Check out these tips:
Check in with yourself before you tell someone they are off beat.
Step away from someone who might hurt you.
If someone ever tells you that you are wrong, kindly and calmly step away. Ok, then run!!
If someone is clamping on to your hand, gently open your hand and tighten your frame. If they continue, be polite and tell them to lighten their grip so you can dance and have fun.
Don’t start teaching on the floor. Everyone wants to teach. Believe me, it takes work, so just dance. Help someone out if they are having trouble but don’t go into a full blown class. Also, if you mess up don’t get discouraged-just try again and keep it positive for all.
Find a place on the floor and dance within the space so you don’t run into anyone. A level one dancer usually should stay in the middle of the room and not get in the way of more advanced dancers who usually find a place on the side.
Hey, if you are just watching-stay out of the way of dancers. You don’t want to lose your beer, right?
Our salsa community is growing be the minute: Keep it safe and fun.