Teaching a Class

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Tocador, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. Tocador

    Tocador Son

    Hello All

    I've taught Salsa before to beginners, and have jumped in numerous times to take a class when an instructor can't make it. I'm a fairly good and patient teacher. Recently, my University has asked me to teach Salsa classes at their gym. I have everything sorted, i just need some advice:

    I know how to do all the moves for beginners, both from Lead and Follow's perspective. How would i go about teaching both of these, without a partner to help me? What i mean is, every other time i have taught a class, a female instructor normally goes over the follow's steps, while im teaching the lead's. I'd be grateful for any advice on how to teach both really, considering i will be the sole instructor. :)
    #1
  2. terence

    terence Maestro 'Rumba' Morales




    : Like ALL teachers do... demo.solo ... then show the Ladies part first ( keep it simple ) and then the Mens.

    Next.. solo to music and eventually partner up .. dont forget to explain " Frame/ Hold " .

    N.B. let ladies practice their part solo, whilst teaching the men.
  3. Tocador

    Tocador Son

    Muito Obrigado :)

    I appreciate this alot
  4. terence

    terence Maestro 'Rumba' Morales

    Your welcome.. one other thing.. make sure your music is not too fast and well defined
  5. Tocador

    Tocador Son

    Yeah i've been organising my music, i have a few slow songs that will definitely help them (Oye Como Va by Santana has to be the most overplayed song when teaching beginners, so i'm using that :p).
  6. John S2

    John S2 Son Montuno

    My opinion is that it is better to use slow salsa tunes, not cha-cha. I would therefore advise not to use Oye Como Va.
  7. Tocador

    Tocador Son

    I have a couple of other slow salsa songs, i'm going to take a look at the music section of the forum for other songs as well. I've found Cha-Cha to be useful to teach beginners, but in some ways yes i can see that slow salsa would be more beneficial. Thanks :)
  8. Salsa Bear

    Salsa Bear Sabor Ambassador

    Have you heard Tito Puente's version of Oyo Como Va? I love Santana, but Puente's version is awesome, too, and it might be a little better for a Salsa class.
  9. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Hey tocador. What terence said, especially when dealing with rank beginners.

    I recently covered for a class where I did not really know the teacher or repertoire, and I did not have a partner. The way I got around it was to use an approach to complex moves that I first experienced in Frankie Martinez's NYC class, which is to start with a simplified version of the whole routine and add complexity (as opposed to building the routine from start to finish at full complexity).

    So I took a lady out of the class and started with four basics with partner. I used this to gauge how the ladies were reacting and see who would be the stronger "demo dollies". I always thanked and congratulated the ladies who came out and got them a round of applause for showing guts. By layering the complexity, it meant that the "next part" was never very hard compared to the previous part, e.g.

    single turn / cross body
    single turn / cross body with arm styling
    single turn / cross body with arm styling into crucifix
    single turn / cross body with arm styling into crucifix and turn her out
    double turn / cross body with arm styling into crucifix and turn her out
    double turn with delayed left male turn / cross body with arm styling into crucifix and turn her out
    double turn with delayed left male turn / cross body with arm styling into crucifix and turn her out double turn
    double turn with delayed left male turn / cross body with arm styling and with male right turn transfer hand behind back into crucifix and turn her out double turn
    double turn with delayed left male turn / cross body with arm styling and with male right turn transfer hand behind back into crucifix and turn her out double turn with delayed left for male

    This meant that any woman who was keeping up so far was able to be demo dolly for the next part.

    When it came to the women's foot placement. timing, styling, etc; I would face the opposite direction and dance the woman's part solo while I explained it.

    Seemed to work really well, although I'll admit I was saved by there being a couple of more advanced ladies there who were willing to be the first up as demo dollies! Once the ladies saw how gradually the difficulty increased they were more willing to come forward.
  10. terence

    terence Maestro 'Rumba' Morales

    Second that motion.. incorrect rhythm... look for salsa romantica type songs.. e.g. Edgar Joel.. Frankie Ruiz...
  11. Tocador

    Tocador Son

    Haha yeah i've got a few Frankie Ruiz songs lined up to use.

    And thanks Sweavo for your input, that sounds like a brilliant way to run a class :)
  12. SnowDancer

    SnowDancer Capitán Del Estilo

    Around here, it's 'Acid' by Ray Baretto.;)
  13. Tocador

    Tocador Son

    We have 'Oye Como Va' by Santana, or that remix of Coldplay's 'Clocks'. Or any counting track. This is for absolute beginners really haha nice and simple songs really, although they are cha-cha.
  14. sweavo

    sweavo Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    on the subject of using the wrong sort of music, I started thinking that actually my ideal complete beginners' salsa class would start with a rapid tour of cha cha cha, bugalu, son, rumba, salsa on 1 and salsa on2, all done to the appropriate music. That would help the beginners start to appreciate the diversity of latin music and also help wean them of travesties like coldplay :p
  15. sunsoul

    sunsoul Rhythm Deputy

    Can I ask people on here to specifically list some songs that will work in a beginner's salsa class? I would like to hear what you think works, as I know many people on this forum are teachers and DJs, etc..

    To start things off, I agree about Oye Como Va. I picked that myself for a party that I am organising tonight, and it fits the bill as it has a strong beat, and is not fast. So many salsa songs out there are too fast, too fancy or just don't have a strong beat - no wonder so many beginners struggle!!

    Anyways, here are some of my picks:

    Grog Moin, Africando
    Con Mi Guajira, Orquesta Gali
    Ven Pa' Que Goze, Angel Melendez

    Let's have some more suggestions.... preferably in the next hour or so.
  16. Tocador

    Tocador Son

    I tend to use alot of Santana (yeah, it is cha-cha, but im a guitarist first n foremost and i love hearing santana :p). Songs like

    - Oye Como Va
    - She's Not There
    - Corazon Espinado

    In a previous post someone mentioned 'Acid' by Ray Baretto, this is another good one.

    While perhaps it isnt the best idea to use Cha-Cha music to teach salsa students, ive found it is useful for beginners who are completely new to latin music to help them find the beat easier. It also encourages them to take slower steps, meaning that (chances are) they will get better technique. You improve alot more by going slowly than you do by going quickly, at least in the beginning stages.

    Some other music i used when i was first learning (and i still love listening to):

    by Frankie Ruiz:

    - Bailando
    - Me Acostumbre
    - La Cura
    - Tu Con El

    Bear in mind these are abit faster than Cha-Cha songs, but not at very very fast tempos either. I'm still fairly new to Salsa music, so rely more on what the others give you, i can only speak from my own experience and music i have access to.
  17. sunsoul

    sunsoul Rhythm Deputy

    Yes, I saw the Acid recommendation, and dug it up. Nice song, although the congo seems a bit out there!
  18. terence

    terence Maestro 'Rumba' Morales


    Los Niches.......... Me Tienes Vigilado

    E.Joel... Hasta El Sol de Hoy

    Son Real... Amiga

    J. Pacheco... El Aqua del Clavelito

    J. Pacheco.... Juliana

    W.Colon.... Pedro Navaja

    W. Colon.... Juanito Alamana

    A. Santiago.. Mi Guajira

    Pio Leva... Deja Que Suba la Maria

    Erik .... Dame ese Placer


    These are all tempi which will suit beginning students ( and also have distinctive musical styles )

    Remember.. songs that are too slow , are more difficult to dance to than mid range .

    What Steve suggested, ( intro to other latin dances ), is something that I include in all my beginners courses , after about 5/6 weeks .A basic in Bachata, Merengue and Cha Cha ,equips them for most situations .

    BUT.. please dont use music that is not of the correct genre ( O.Y. C. Va is a cha cha,.. it sends the wrong musical message ) . The musical " ear " needs to be trained correctly from day one.. and.. variety of music, band wise, should vary as much as possible, after all, thats what they will be dancing to, eventually ....
  19. sunsoul

    sunsoul Rhythm Deputy

    Thanks, Terence. Maybe you remembered that I have a ton of Willie Colon...
  20. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    That would be great. Please also add salsa cubana to the mix, and also bachata, merengue and reggaeton to complete the picture ;)

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