Learning pattern and creating your whole dance around these pattern is exactly the way, Salsa teachers around here work. (And Youtube Videos work.) With some exceptions for shines and lady styling which, after the students are normalized for pattern usage, end up being solo pattern. And it is exactly the way the teachers ruin one promising dancer after another. The leads who live within patterns are often called "pattern monkey" - they climb along the pattern. While many low level and mid level dancers are easily impressed by their large amount of complicated patterns, in circles of advanced dancers few of them are treated as equals. They are seen as some kind of never evolving dancers. And funny to hear that about a guy, who centers himself around being Latino. Latinos around here do not dance pattern and despise focusing their dance around that. Only the ones that learned dancing in Germany "German-style" do that - and they often times become the worst pattern monkeys and thus despite dancing for decades, never really advance. Some teachers even have two distinct styles, one to dance Latino-style, one to dance German-style.