To Partner or Not to Partner – Pt 1?

This is a long post so I am breaking it up into 2 posts…

Part 1:

What will make you become a better salsa dancer faster – learning with a partner or learning on your own with a variety of rotating dancers and students? This is the question I get asked often and everyone has an opinion.

The truth is that it depends on the person, the effort and the situation. There are pros and cons in each scenario.

I was lucky to experience both scenarios. My first year of dancing was on my own. I went salsa dancing nightly and, while I had my favourite people to dance with which changed monthly, I didn’t have a main partner. This was an excellent experience in my opinion. I learned to follow every type of lead – whether the lead was gentle or firm, the timing on 1 or on another beat, the Cubans, the Columbians, those from Chile and Ecuador, those who danced LA Style, New York Style, it didn’t matter. When you dance with 20 partners a night 7 days a week you get to be very versatile. I got to know my preferences, get inspired constantly by new dancers and I was always left with the feeling that dancing was always fresh and new.

After the first year of salsa I wanted to complete and perform and obviously this can’t be done unless you get a dance partner. It worked out that I met a dance partner at one of the local clubs and he had the same goals as I did.

Although we both knew very little in the whole scope of things we were very eager and serious to learn. We practiced daily, took some group lessons, private lesson, workshops and attended congresses together and very shortly we looked sleeker and more professional. The partnership really assisted in having someone to practice with regularly, someone who would give you honest feedback and someone to challenge you to move to the next level. This experience was also excellent and really made a difference in my confidence, styling, body movement, show-ability and much more. Note however that my following skills were reduced considerably because you tend to compensate for your partner and memorize moves, back lead, etc.

To be continued on Monday!!!

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