Hopefully you got to read the other two posts about Ana Tinajero Massicot from Masacote Entertainment, a very popular salsa school and performance troupe. Here is another answer from her interview:
SG – “What are the most important actions that students can take to see improvement?”
ATM – “First and most importantly, practice what you learn from class, both in a group and on your own. I know for me practicing in a group of 3 was very helpful as I always found it motivating. Plus, I could ask someone to take a look at what I was doing and see if they saw what I might be doing wrong. Practicing on your own is also good though since there are some things we feel less self conscious about practicing alone.
Now, the key to practicing is to focus on certain things – such as spinning, body movement, social dancing, etc. Don’t try to do everything in one day. That is the downfall for most people. If you don’t find a focus, it could just end up being a waste of time. If you’re not sure what to focus on, then I’d highly recommend taking privates to help you target.
Another really great action is to tape yourself on video every couple months. You can literally document your improvement this way. The truth is that if we don’t have an awareness in our bodies, we will never really understand what people are trying to tell us to do or not to do unless we see it for ourselves. That is the beauty of video.
Now, that doesn’t mean have someone follow you around with a camera. lol Just bring a camera to practice and ask a friend to tape you social dancing or just improvising to footwork (a great substitution if you don’t have someone to lead you). These days, photo cameras or phones usually all take videos, so it’s not as hard to come by one.
I never had a camera when I started, but I was lucky that some friends did and once in a while a friend would give me a video of me social dancing that I didn’t know existed. It opened so many new doors for me…I would literally cringe at the first videos I saw of myself. I was doing so much I didn’t like, but all the corrections people were giving me started to make sense. When I would see subsequent videos, I would see the difference in my dancing and even more that I wanted to correct.
In the end, all these early videos served as motivation for me when I would get frustrated or hit a rut later on. Sometimes going back to the first videos of yourself and seeing how far you’ve come can really help to focus you once again. Here are some of the earliest salsa videos I have of myself…Maybe it will motivate someone else:
Thanks Ana for the advice and sharing your first videos. I still think your first videos are wonderful but the progression is definitely notable and inspiring for those who feel they have reached a plateau!
More interview questions with Ana coming soon!