I have been in this community since 2008 and did my first salsa steps in 2006. I have been through so much that I could write a book, but I will hold myself 😀 and keep it down to 10 reasons Salsa is or could be an addiction.
After getting back together in the fall of 2006 because of another fight, The Psycho brought me to a salsa class where I learned a few basic steps.
That was the only class I was allowed to attend because I didn’t have the right to dance with another man. And, of course, the salsa parties were completely out of the question.
So The Psycho started to “train” me at home. Some sort of private classes if you want. Most of the sessions ended in tears as I was not good enough. I couldn’t hear the music, and I had no idea what I was doing … Neither was he. He was not an instructor. He was just a psychotic jealous boyfriend, and by not realizing he did one of the best things – he opened the door to a whole new world for me that brought me to where I am today.
After 8 months of so-called tutoring, I could not follow the lead in partnership, make any shines, do the right thing, or understand the basic steps.
In July 2007 we went to the seaside to a salsa party where surprisingly I was allowed to go with him. (duh! – what a privilege …)
We tried dancing and obviously it was a disaster. When we got to the hotel, he informed me that Salsa was over for me because once again, he was my master and decided on my behalf 😀 LOL.
Less than a month later, I broke up with him anyway due to his psychotic behavior (it took me almost seven years, remember?)
I started with a story because many of us (if not most) join the salsa community because of a man or a woman involved. Someone drags someone, a third party involved, drama, emotions, jealousy, passion, and fire. And who dances Salsa knows what I’m talking about 😀
But hey, I don’t wanna “scare” the newbies. Salsa is a whole lot of fun, entertainment, traveling, good music, good times, and … cardio 😀 (I will not talk about bachata and kizomba here as our focus is only on Salsa:P)
Speaking about why people come to learn Salsa, there’s also the category that joins to find someone. Some they do, and they are gone … for a while. Because most of them go back, over and over again.
And that’s why somehow Salsa is like an addiction. No matter what we do, we end up back at Salsa socials, hang out with our salsa friends, and sometimes attend some classes.
Same with me. I stopped teaching in 2016, and I also stopped organizing events in 2017. I have been entirely focused on other things for many years now. However, I am still there, and I will still attend a salsa party once a month (more or less these days), probably by the end of my life. I am still connected with that environment, and if I had a bad day or nothing else to do, I knew there was a salsa night somewhere in Dubai.
Salsa is a serious thing, a full-time job for many people. And not everyone has a dancing background. We have congresses, festivals, parties and socials, and all over the globe.
And we travel everywhere, some of us every single weekend.
I had the privilege to work for one of the world’s largest and best salsa events (yes, suns cocky to say “best,” but it is true) for almost 5 years – Berlin Salsa Congress. Not to mention working with Franco, the most organized and incredible person in the world.
But talking about my BSC days is another (long, long) story.
So, for those who never tried it before, you’ll say that you can’t dance, I will stop you right here, right now.
Everyone can dance. In my teaching career from 2010 until 2016, I only had a student that couldn’t move, and even that guy maybe found his way.
10 reasons why Salsa is an addiction
- You learn how to move your body in ways you didn’t think it’s possible – I’m talking here for the people that never danced before. Salsa is not just a few steps; body movement and musicality come in the package.
- Speaking of music. You will learn to understand how the instruments and the beat work. Plus, Latin music is the best music in the world. You will also understand that Celia Cruz (as great as she was) or Gipsy Kings is not … Salsa :))
- As a girl, you get to wear all those tight leggings and sexy outfits. It’s out of fashion now, but I remember the old times when I used to wear … leg warmers :))
- It’s a very social, active, and dynamic environment – you get to meet and dance with many people literally from everywhere. Because Salsa has no discrimination regarding race, color, religion, social status, anything, You’ll see Palestinians dancing with Israelis, black with white, short with tall, etc.
- You build long-lasting friendships. For so many years now, some of my best friends are people I met through this community. And I am so grateful for that.
- You get to see the world. You will end up traveling to salsa congresses all over Europe but not only. There are events from Korea and South Africa to New York.
- It’s a workout. It’s not like you’re going to the gym, but it’s good cardio.
- You create a network of people that can help you in different circumstances. You will always find a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, a technician, a designer, etc.
- The memories! Oh boy. If I am grateful for something in this life, the memorable memories and Salsa gave me plenty of them. From traveling and meeting people, dating men, moving countries, organizing festivals, hanging out with A-list artists, dancing until 7 am in the morning in exotic countries, countless dinners and conversions with interesting people, joy, excitement, love, hate, fun, laughter, tears, jokes … everything.
- Salsa is therapy for the soul. If you had a bad day or a bad week, are sad, need to socialize and see familiar faces, and want to forget about something that is bothering you, Salsa is the cure. For your soul.
Salsa has led my life since 2008, and even though I am less active, it still does in specific ways.
It made me move from my home country. I traveled and danced my shoes off on 3 continents, met remarkable men and women, and taught me so much.
It opened my eyes and gave me the experience and stories to write a book for my grandchildren.
And If I think about it, half of these stories on the blog are somehow connected with Salsa and the people this dance brought into my life.
… All thanks to a jealous insecure, mentally ill boyfriend …
Here are a few golden rules if you wonder what the secret sauce is to becoming a good salsa dancer.
- Take classes 3-5 times / week
- Go to socials 2-3 times / week
If taking classes is your theory, going out for socials will be your practice. Think of it as you are a student. What you learn in class, you will have to practice your homework and assignments. Salsa is precisely the same thing. Nothing less, nothing different. It will be the expression of your body.
If you want to be a good dancer, these two rules will only go together; one without another will be a problem and not take you far away. Ah, ok, maybe just to be a mediocre dancer.
In the first year I was learning, I went to many classes and around 5 socials every week. I know I was crazy but also crazy passionate about it.
But after one year, I mastered the technique of following in partnership, knew the basics steps and more, understood how to count music, and was body movement trained.
And by the way, whatever move I could not get in class, I practiced at home until it worked.
Because hard work beats talent and even more, repetition is the mother of all skills.
- Take a few private classes. One on One. It’s not a must, but you will see results faster and speed up the process of becoming advanced.
- Travel for salsa congresses. Dancing with other people expands your dance horizon, improves your following (as every man leads differently), and brings you a lot of fun. For example, I learned to dance ON2 at salsa festivals.
- Body movement
Think of body movement and musicality as two of the main ingredients in your fabulous dish. And without it, your food will be tasteless and boring.
If you are already a dancer, I guess I said everything, and you know what I am talking about. Thank you for being part of my fabulous salsa journey, if you already know me or if we ever danced or interacted.
If you are considering doing it, GO for it. And don’t worry.
- Everyone can dance. Most of us had no dance training before setting foot in the salsa studio. But if you put in some hard work step by step, you will get there. I guarantee you.
- You don’t need a dance partner. Unless you want to perform on the stage
If you know me, drop me a comment, I would love to re-connect