For most of us foraying into the world of Salsa, or any dance, we didn’t grow up listening to the music that now inspires us to make fools of ourselves in public. We’ve maybe been drawn in by a funky beat on the radio, or watched a performance on TV that blew us away, or attended a wedding where one couple lit up the dance floor and said, “You know, I’ve always wanted to try…”. A quick internet search later, we find ourselves in a group of equally excited, completely clumsy peers.
Fast forward a few months and there we are in the same class, but now everyone has a few moves under their sequined dance belts. We’re feeling pretty good. Then the class ends and the social dancing starts… and all rhythm exits our body as we’re taken over by deaf aliens. Sound familiar? Never fear! It happens to the best of us.
The thing to remember is you’re still very new. Yes you could say, “I’ve been dancing for months!” but in reality, one dance class a week followed by an hour of avoiding toes is hardly going to qualify you for Dancing with the Stars. In fact, if you added up the time you actually danced – I bet you’d have less than three days worth. Bummer, huh? Even with perfect attendance, the results fall short of our expectations.
So, I’ll just dance more! Now let’s see…Monday is tennis, Tuesday rock climbing, Wednesday work late, Thursday a barbecue, Friday I have a date…crap! News flash: we’re busy. (I’m so busy, when I quit a day job, I wonder how I ever fit it in?!) What to do? We have lots of interests and it’s a big, beautiful world out there, we want to see it all! Kudos to you! I love it! But there is a way.
One word: integration. You have to sneak the music into your life. On the commute to work, listen to the type of music you want to learn to dance to. While you workout and shower, have the music playing. If you’re really serious, sleep with it on. Dance comes from music! So often, we forget that. Or rhythm takes second to learning some cool move. I’ll let you in on a secret: if you’re off rhythm, no move is cool. Your lead/follow will be so busy trying to figure out how to get you back on rhythm s/he’s not paying any attention to what you’re doing.
The people who look most natural dancing are the people who grew up with the music as part of their culture. We’re just playing catch up. The more we listen to music, the more it works its way into our bodies and souls. That’s where it started. That’s where we started. Put music on when a 10mo old baby is around. I betcha a dance, the baby starts boogieing. (Yes it’s really spelled that way – I looked it up).
So, ears up! This is probably the easiest assignment I have ever, or will ever, give: Listen to more music! Then write me about the effortless transformation that occurs. I bet you’ll be surprised. Your musicality will improve. You’ll recognize more songs when you go out and be able to nail the nuances of each song. And you’ll be a happier person in general. See you on the hardwood:)
Allison loves to write almost as much as she loves to dance, so no one had to twist her arm to get her to write about dancing!