Notes from a Beginner

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by agarcia97, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. agarcia97

    agarcia97 Sonero

    First off let me say I love this forum. Some of the topics and honesty are cool to hear becuase everyone essentially goes through the same things.

    Ive only been dancing for a couple of months now. The studio I go to does six week sessions where you learn basic steps in the first 6 weeks then a whole new set of steps in an additional 6 weeks before you move up a level. I think this is a good format for while it reuires patiences the repition makes sure you understand at least the basics and dont have to think as hard to remember. This week I move up a level and am excited.

    I seem to learn pretty quick. I can generally be shown or even see (on youtube) a move and as long as they say out the counts I can remember it. At least for a short time.

    I dance on2 and that is a little difficult since in my area there are much more on1 dancers. Since this is the case I always stay for our one hour practice sessions after class as well as attend the socials my studio has. I also bartend at a latin night club so I get to listen to a lot of latin music all the time and that has been a tremendous help to finding the beat along with listening to salsa in the car non stop, almost obsessivly.

    I have read some interesting articles with respect to timing and dancing on the clave. I took a timing workshop to work on that from the beginning before I got any bad habits. Sometimes really fast songs still get me though.

    I do think that musicality is important right from the beginning but i think bottom line is people have different agendas of what they want to get out of dancing. This is very apparent to me when I have danced with some so called intermediate dancers and they spin fantastically but cant keep the beat. Dont know what thats about.

    A few weeks ago at one of the socials I attended by myself. There was a couple of girls from my class but I was feeling rather shy that night (im usually totally not). I noticed a girl standing right next to me and asked her to dance. I asked her name and experience and she indicated she was an intermediate. The song was rather fast and I was having a very hard time keeping up. I read on a forum that if your having trouble mid dance just keep it simple and do the moves you know well. Which is what I did. I tried to effect a basic compa step which she kept spinning out of and was telling me it should be a 180. I kept moving on although the anxiety was staring to mount at this point. She kept staring down trying to figure out what I was doing with my feet because I was just off. However this made me extremely self conscious and I forgot every single move I know save for a basic CBL. Within 2 min or so she had a look of horror on her face and Im sure I did as well, she couldnt make it any more obvious she wanted the experience to end. I wanted to stop and say im sorry but im so off today. Instead we finished the dance politely thanked each other and did not make eye contact for the rest of the night.

    This whole experience made me extremely glad I was mentally prepared for this kind of night from reading these forums. I was able to laugh it off and now its my funny, when a dance really sucked, story that I have.

    I dont have any questions just want to say thanks for sharing.
    #1
  2. opm1s6

    opm1s6 Sabor Ambassador

    no, thank you for sharing.

    btw, that's exactly the story for every other guy. The first one is always a disaster. My first one was under a few glasses of wine in addition to being rubbish, and the results showed.

    FYI: Copas done from an open break, with fast music and partners that aren't experienced, doesn't surprise me that it didn't go well. While it seems like an easy move, the change of direction and it's timing needs is deceptively more difficult than people make it out to be.

    Great post, keep us updated on your progress and welcome
  3. PielCanela

    PielCanela Sabor Ambassador

    I am glad this forum has help you be prepared for the kind of ego crashing that salsa tends to give to beginers. but as you have well said, it happens to all of us, just hang out, as it will get better.

    I always like to tell this story, 3 years ago I went to a salsa club, I asked about 20 girls, only two said yes. 3 years later i can't remember the last time I got turn down. :) :) a mix of getting better in the dance floor, and getting to know the people in the scene, is what does it. (girls are more forgiving with our mistakes if they are also our friends:))
  4. GayleR

    GayleR Son Montuno

    Three words...GOOD FOR YOU!!! Everyone started somewhere and it took a lot of courage for you to go out on your own, ask an Intermediate dancer, share your story and most importantly to be so positive in your attitude. And to the Intermediate woman who looked horrifed, I say...shame on her! That said a whole lot about her as a person. I guess she doesn't remember what it felt like when she first stepped out on the dance floor for a social dance.

    At the recent Canada Salsa Congress I was asked by a true beginner. I could see he was really nervous. The band was playing. The song was long. The guy had 3 or 4 moves. But I smiled, I grooved to the music; I didn't make faces, look at his feet or give any pointers. I was determined to make sure he enjoyed leading me and I hope it was an encouraging experience for him.

    Keep dancing and if you're ever going to be in my city, let me know and we'll have a spin.
  5. terence

    terence Maestro 'Timbalero' Puente

    I.m curious how many " basic figures you are given in that period ?

    Word of caution.. make sure you have the foundation material firmly in place ( And i mean able to lead same )
  6. agarcia97

    agarcia97 Sonero

    Each week figures a different move thats added to the week before to create like a 6 move combination. Theses moves are not very complicated ones so its not too tough to follow. Stuff like a basic spins, CBL, CBl inside spin, Copa step, 180, I dont know what its called when you CBL but spin (yourself for leaders) and switch hands. They recommend for leaders to take the class twice and some of the moves overlap. The emphasis for leading is on positioning your hand in the right place and the proper footwork. Seems like on1 you give much more of an indication a move is coming. Thats not so much the case in on2 so its more about effecting moves when the follower in the right place. If that makes sense. The class doesnt go very fast and some people have a hard time but honestly some people just cant dance and dont practice and it shows. Others who can dance and do stay late practice and what not seem to do fine. I prob could have moved up to another level weeks ago but I wanted to make sure my foundation was firm even though I seem to progress a lot faster than others.
  7. Only a couple of months and you already asked someone to dance? Good for you. Although I thought it was kind of mean of her to do that. You told her you're a beginner. What did she expect? While I understand we all want to be entertained, but one song with a beginner as a good deed isn't that big of a deal. If anything people that say they're beginners right off the bat usually means they're open to advice. She could have given you some tips while dancing with you as a double good deed.

    I dance with women that are beginners all the time, some don't even know salsa and I just end up doing free dancing with them. But I do eventually want to dance with someone that knows what they're doing. And I think that's pretty normal. A few good dances, a few beginner dances, fun times. The need to be entertained 100% of the time spells high maintenance. Unless you smell bad, there's no need for that look of horror.

    One of the things you could try is to ask someone to dance mid-song. Then if things don't go well you only have half a song. I do that sometimes because I dance circular, everyone here dance slot. Some dancers can adjust, some are just not into it at all and will protest by intentionally stepping out of position. So if a particular lady looks like she's all about LA style, especially the ones with the mass produced styling, I may do the half song thing to test the waters.

    But if you keep at it, you'll be out of the beginner zone soon enough.

    I consider myself intermediate, but I've been told I'm a good dancer (probably because I enjoy the music, and it shows in my dancing), and I still get turned down maybe 30% of the time at clubs, less at dance socials. It's just something you'll have to deal with. Like you said, just shrug it off.
  8. chr

    chr Shine Officer

    I started to ask women after the first lesson and I think it was the right strategy. It is very hard to stay motivated if you don't dance socially. After 3 months, I used to think I was dancing well. :oops:

    Now, after more than 2 years of dancing, I rather consider myself beginner. The only difference is that I just see a bit more beginners around me than before... ;)
  9. opm1s6

    opm1s6 Sabor Ambassador

    there's a reason for my sig. I felt the pain and I try to do my best to help the beginners all around me. Life gets pretty sweet if you have some support around you, mistakes or not. Take the advice below...
  10. agarcia97

    agarcia97 Sonero

    Yeah, I figure you just have to go for it. I shows too because so many of the girls in my class tell me im there favorite. One girl in paticular seems to pick things up very quick and we have been practicing together and even getting a little crowd, of our fellow beginners, that watch us. That validation lets me know that for every screw up, if I learn, will make me that much better. Actually Id rather make a lot of mistakes as quick as I can to accelerate my beginners hell curve....haha...dont know if thats possible but I try.
  11. opm1s6

    opm1s6 Sabor Ambassador

    ladies and gentlemen the next big star!

    yeah you're hooked...no doubt about that...keep it up
  12. Flujo

    Flujo Sabor Ambassador

    Great story agarcia97. Please keep'em coming. :)
  13. terence

    terence Maestro 'Timbalero' Puente




    What you are practising in a controlled setting is going to be completely
    different when placed in a club venue . Try to to visit a club and see and "feel " the energy that is being generated.
    Some are going to look like world champs !... theyre not, just people who have put in their " time " . And, if you ask someone to dance.. let them know you are just beginning . ( be careful of barrack room " lawyers ! " ) .

    Sounds like you are on the right track .
  14. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    What everyone else said! Great story agarcia97 and welcome to the forums!
  15. crazygirl

    crazygirl Rhythm Deputy

    Everyone has already said what I felt like saying on reading your opening post!

    You seem to have a very good attitude so good luck with your continuing journey and don't let the few silly people you meet on the way bother you too much.

    The more I get to actually know people at salsa the more I realise that their dancing social attitude is often a good reflection of their true character :)

    Now we need to hook you up with Vancouverguy on here....
  16. Jambo

    Jambo El Sabroso de Conguero

    Great post agarcia97, welcome to SF and good luck in your salsa journey :D
  17. agarcia97

    agarcia97 Sonero

    Thanks for all the great comments!
  18. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    Welcome to Salsa Forums agarcia97 and thanks for sharing your story! You are definitely on the right track - keep at it and it will get easier and easier...

    Re. your problem with the copa... it's one of the trickier moves to lead and follow, especially when the song is fast and you are dancing on2 (less time for the follower to execute the direction change than on1). There's a whole thread dedicated to this one move - you may find it useful.
    Trouble with the copa.
  19. theamoebaman

    theamoebaman Son Montuno

    Firstly I'll join everyone in welcoming you to the forums, agarcia97. You sound like you're hooked and genuinely love the dance. Also thanks for sharing the story. From a guys perspective it's very common situation to find yourself in especially when you start.

    I still remember my very first dance with a "intermediate" girl. Halfway thru the song, she said thanks and walked off. I now look back and have a good laugh cos it's now rare that I even get to sit down when I'm out at salsa. And most of the time it's the girls who are grabbing me for the dances. :)

    Keep at it and remember that the most important thing is to enjoy yourself and have fun when you're out dancing!

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