So… You’re thinking of attending a salsa class?
Maybe you’ve seen the glitz and glamour of Strictly and thought you want you some of that!
Maybe you’re wanting to learn a new skill and meet more people!
Maybe one of your friends started dancing recently and now they won’t shut up about it!
Whatever the reason, you’ve decided that this is a skill that you want to pick up…
But there are so many questions and unknowns… Fear not! This post will answer all of your questions, and guide you gently into the friendly world of salsa!
Q: Where and when can I learn salsa?
A: Wherever you are living in the world, in every major city that I have been to (and I spent 3 years travelling the world checking on this), there has been some salsa classes to go to. In Leeds, there are loads of options! Pick a night that is good for you and find the classes on that night. My Leeds Salsa Calendar lists every class happening in Leeds and the surrounding areas, so you can always find the class to suit you. For complete beginners I have created this list of Beginners Salsa Classes. I always advise to try a few different nights, so that you can find the class that suits you best. All of the drop in classes in and around Leeds happen in either bars or social clubs, but if you’re interested in a salsa course in a dance studio rather than a bar, you can check out this beginners salsa course that I’m running from January.
Q: Do I need to bring a partner? (AKA I can’t convince my husband/boyfriend/significant other to come with me)
A: Don’t worry if you can’t find a member of the opposite sex to come with you! Most classes have a good mix of male and female dancers, and usually operate by switching the partners around on a regular basis. If you don’t know anyone of the opposite sex who shares your interest in dancing, then for sure you will after a few weeks of classes!
Q: Is there any special clothing / footwear that I need to bring?
A: First of all… don’t believe everything you see on the TV. Sequins and frills are NOT standard wear for salsa dancers! Though if you want to wear them then feel free! Most classes are pretty casual, so for guys jeans and t-shirt are fine, vests are not reccomended. For women, whatever you feel comfortable in, though floaty skirts are not reccomended; salsa includes spins, and you might end up showing off more than you intended!
For footwear, we understand that you don’t want to shell out a fortune on dance shoes for a hobby that you might not even like (as much as I find it hard to believe that anyone wouldn’t like salsa)! The most important thing for dance shoes is that they stay firmly on your feet, and the soles aren’t too sticky! So, no rubber soles and no trainers (too sticky). Women are recommended to wear moderately high heels, but if you don’t like wearing heels then non sticky flats are fine. If you really don’t have anything like this then the cheapest options to get you going are plimsoles (the ones with the non-sticky rubber), which can be picked up for under £10. Or RotateUK has a bargain basement section where you can sometimes get proper dance shoes for as little as £10! If you have any leather soled shoes that will stay on your feet then those will be perfect!
Q: How else should I prepare for a salsa class?
A: Hygiene is very important to salsa dancers. There is a lot of hand touching in salsa, so make sure you wash your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom!
You’re going to be in close proximity to a lot of people, so try to shower before you come to class. You will be active, so you will be sweating, but if you shower first then at least it won’t be smelly sweat! Guys are recommended not to wear sleeveless tops! And if you’re female, and you’re going to wear a sleeveless top, then make sure your underarm area is sufficiently groomed… because believe me, people are going to see it!
Finally, make sure your oral hygiene is up to scratch. There are few things that will stop people from wanting to dance with you more than bad breath! Brush your teeth, use mouth wash, floss… whatever you have to do, make sure your breath isn’t fowl!
Q: What if I’m unfit/too old/too young?
A: Salsa is fairly active, in fact it is a great way to get those 150 minutes of activity a week that the government recommends. I would say that as long as you can stand up without support, and climb a couple of flights of stairs without having to go for a sit-down after, then you are healthy enough to dance salsa. If you qualify for this then it doesn’t matter what age you are! There are people in the salsa scene ranging from 16 (some even younger in some classes) up to 80+! Salsa dancers are a welcoming bunch, and we don’t discriminate by age! (Lots of salsa classes do happen in bars however, check the bar’s policy on younger people if you happen to be under 18!)
Q: I can’t dance/ I have 2 left feet, is salsa for me?
A: This is why we have lessons! Everyone is different, with different skills to bring to the table. We all started off being rubbish at salsa! The only way to find out if you like it is to try it! And don’t give up too soon either… It will take a few weeks before it starts to flow naturally (more for some people!), but persistance will pay off!
I hope that these questions have helped you to decide to take up salsa. If you can think of a question that I’ve missed that you’d like answering then either comment below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org