Can a total beginner to salsa manage to put on a performance with 5 months of training?

#1
I am starting my first salsa lesson tonight. I started learning bachata 3 months ago and I started modern zouk 2 months ago. Before that no dance experience. My teachers commented that I had a good feel for dance and a lot of motivation (I've been attending lessons for around 8 hours a week now for the last three months).

There is a student performance team at our dance school which asks for intermediate level salsa and intermediate level bachata students. To be classed as intermediate, you would have done 12 hours of bachata and 30 hours of salsa lessons. In august there will be a short performance in front of an audience.

Since I've never done salsa, I asked the teacher whether I could join or not. He said that for me I could, but I would have to do salsa lessons concurrently.

Being on the performance team involves an additional 16 weeks of training for the performance. That's at least 40 hours of performance lessons on top of the normal salsa dance lessons.

Do you think that it is possible for me to be able to perform well by the time August rolls around with all this intense training?

Thank you!
 
#2
Your enthusiasm will carry you much of the way.

One caveat. I was new to Salsa and Bachata but not new to music (I play piano, teach guitar).

The musicality of Bachata, which you obviously enjoyed, is fairly simple...almost instinctive. Salsa rhythm can be a bit of a mystery at first. Spend extra time, outside of lessons, to gain familiarity. There are good explanations and examples of listening to timing on Youtube.

Even after playing along I only 'kind of get it'. I can hear the musical components but only when I actually stop to listen.

Train your ear as well as your feet.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#3
All kinds of things are possible. Without seeing you dance or how you respond to training, we can't say. Sounds like you're pretty dedicated, and that bodes well for you.
 
#5
So I was curious about salsa timing because I was struggling for the first 2-3 months. For some reason, it was just these past few weeks that I picked it up. I think it finally clicked.
 

MaggieMoves

Well-Known Member
#6
So I was curious about salsa timing because I was struggling for the first 2-3 months. For some reason, it was just these past few weeks that I picked it up. I think it finally clicked.
It always is that way at first. Takes awhile to hear the beats and nuances of the music, and becomes very easy after that. Leaders seem to especially struggle with it at first.
 
#7
It always is that way at first. Takes awhile to hear the beats and nuances of the music, and becomes very easy after that. Leaders seem to especially struggle with it at first.
Well, my instructor said I have this weird thing of my timing being perfect when I have headphones in but once the speakers play, I tend to struggle. She told me to stop thinking so much (since I was literally trying to do math in my head at the same time to figure out the intervals between beats) and told me that I've improved a lot.

However, she says that my timing for turns needs improvement because I don't "stop" the follower on beat. :-(
 

MaggieMoves

Well-Known Member
#8
Well, my instructor said I have this weird thing of my timing being perfect when I have headphones in but once the speakers play, I tend to struggle. She told me to stop thinking so much (since I was literally trying to do math in my head at the same time to figure out the intervals between beats) and told me that I've improved a lot.

However, she says that my timing for turns needs improvement because I don't "stop" the follower on beat. :-(
I always thought salsa should be relatively fluid anyway, especially the on1 variant which is taught more like mambo it seems just on the wrong count. Loosen up a bit, salsa is supposed to be fun... Don't make it "work." My ex pro used to say, "Cuba Maggie, Cuba..." Which was just a sign to just go with the flow of it. Think of the beach and a cocktail... And that's really what salsa is. :cool:
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#9
especially the on1 variant which is taught more like mambo it seems just on the wrong count. . :cool:
It may, or may not, interest you to know that, many Cubanos dance on "1" .
The majority of "teachers " , are not aware that, certain songs are very much more suitable for the Casino style, which is danced on "1, and yet ,as they do with most of the music, continue to dance what they always do, in spite of the rendition.

In addition, there are songs that seem to fall somewhere in between a strict "1" or "2" , giving one a choice.

Whenever I DJ, it's interesting to see the choices people make , for expressing the song.

Most students ( and I've had them from very experienced teachers ) have NEVER been told, about the distinctions in Cuban music, which to say the least, is very complex.

Many of todays songs , include passages of Cumbia and even Pachanga, for just 2 ex. which invariably are ignored...
 
#10
I always thought salsa should be relatively fluid anyway, especially the on1 variant which is taught more like mambo it seems just on the wrong count. Loosen up a bit, salsa is supposed to be fun... Don't make it "work." My ex pro used to say, "Cuba Maggie, Cuba..." Which was just a sign to just go with the flow of it. Think of the beach and a cocktail... And that's really what salsa is. :cool:
Yeah, I tend to overthink everything. It's just my natural personality. For me not to overthink, I have to think "don't overthink" and by the time I notice that, I'm off time lol.
 

stash

Well-Known Member
#11
Like Maggie saids in her post. Sometimes picking a feeling of a dance is a lot better than focusing on the technical aspects (unless you are drilling technique). Like when I am competing or doing rounds I have sort of set feelings that I can focus on instead of the technique I should already have in my body at that point.
 
#12
Like Maggie saids in her post. Sometimes picking a feeling of a dance is a lot better than focusing on the technical aspects (unless you are drilling technique). Like when I am competing or doing rounds I have sort of set feelings that I can focus on instead of the technique I should already have in my body at that point.
Well I'm still fairly new, so she has been drilling technique and timing. She thinks I'm pretty decent at picking up things quickly but sometimes I fade off into space and forget what I'm doing lol.
 
#16
In high school I was in a club dedicated to Latin dances. We met weekly for one hour to learn not only Salsa, but Merengue, Tango, and Cumbia. Second semester we put on a choreographed performance and every year we did it the first years did just fine. Obviously the standards are lower in high school, but if you're talking about a choreographed performance I think you'll do great.
 

MaggieMoves

Well-Known Member
#17
That's funny. It also explains why I keep mixing up salsa, bachata and rumba steps sometimes. My instructor is like "what are you doing?!"..and I'm like woops. Sorry. lol. Brain cramps!
Sometimes you just have to let it roll out. I had a dance partner when I was in college do an American Rumba in Latin. I should have asked what he was doing, but I was to embarrassed. I wanted to choke him during the routine, but he made up for it in a later round.
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#19
Sometimes you just have to let it roll out. I had a dance partner when I was in college do an American Rumba in Latin. I should have asked what he was doing, but I was to embarrassed. I wanted to choke him during the routine, but he made up for it in a later round.
And there's the irony ; The "American" Rumba as you stated, is as close to the original ( Danzon ) as one may get. Identical figures in many cases, beyond a basic .

The Intern. style, is based upon Mambo and Bolero. Ergo.. the truer version is much more authentic..
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#20
And there's the irony ; The "American" Rumba as you stated, is as close to the original ( Danzon ) as one may get. Identical figures in many cases, beyond a basic .

The Intern. style, is based upon Mambo and Bolero. Ergo.. the truer version is much more authentic..
Yeah...ballroom competitions aren't exactly worried about authenticity.
 

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