"Lesson plan" for one-time salsa class?

#41
PS...... I never teach side steps to beginners, in matter of fact, I'm not a lover of them as they are more complex rhythmically and technically than they appear to be .
How are side steps more complex rhythmically than forward/back steps?

I understand of course that they are different in technique, however I find with forward/back steps beginners are more likely to not even shift weight, whereas with side steps they do it more easily. So they learn the side step more easily than the salsa fwd/back step, and the only issue is usually that their side step are too big (as are the fwd/back steps), which can be fixed with repetition that the step should be small. The side step seems to help people to understand the concept of weight shifting more easily than the fwd/back step, where they often keep the body centered and just lean forward and back without shifting weight (I'm sure we've all seen this on dance floors).
 
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#42
I would try to make point on stepping/marking rhythm (as already suggested), because in this area people usually think of dance steps as intention to move leg from point A to point B in particular direction, so try giving them right approach from the beginning. So some steps at place, side steps, basic steps, back steps only, back steps with some turn to each side etc ... whatever to get them moving on the beat.
What do you mean by 'right approach'?
 

vit

Son Montuno
#43
What I mean - try to make the point on stepping, weight transfer, enjoying the beat and music, making small steps and try preventing them from the tendency to actually move around a lot which they might have
 
#45
And what sample size do you evaluate your opinion ?..You asked for opinions and I give you
60 plus years of teaching experience.

You remind me of a teacher I once had who said "Now what have you made up your mind to do ?, before you ask me a question " . If you feel that your solution is more relevant, that's OK by me..

The Fwd and back basic is the "staple " of linear, and weight changing is
something that beginners need to develop in their muscle memory as quickly as possible. I would rather ( and do ) spend more time on this, which gives more immediate choices of variety step wise than a side basic.

Which ever method you choose, I wish you success on your venture .

The technical difference between Fwd/back and side, is about weight changes, and HOW they differ when using CM ( which is invariably neglected ) . This action needs a visual to make a clearer picture, as is usually the case. .
ironically, the Fwd/Back basic is more visually
more acceptable if no CM is used, not the same for side..

.









As to "motion " in general, we are conditioned to walking forward in our daily lives, translating this into a dance pattern is a more natural action, the backward step is really a mirror image . .



Whatever method you choose, I do wish you success in your venture .
 
#46
What I mean - try to make the point on stepping, weight transfer, enjoying the beat and music, making small steps and try preventing them from the tendency to actually move around a lot which they might have
Yes, I'm definitely planning to stress that, and will use the way Frankie talked about it once, which is really seared in my mind so hopefully it will help the students too: Latin dancing is not about the steps, it is about what happens *between* the steps (the weight shift/body movement).
 
#47
Yes, I am. Thank you for the constructive criticism, I think we can all learn a thing or two from it!

I think you are well intentioned. I figure if ppl are in salsa class:
1. It isn't just because they want to learn to salsa dance. They also have to like the music. And to dance salsa in a club there will be salsa music. Not pop and hopefully not a lot of the pop songs made into salsa songs.
2. A lot of beginners (non-latin) don't listen to salsa music outside of class
Agree. Demonstrate it, but teach simple step to follow. Unless this audience already knows partner dances (doubtful), I don't think this class will get past stepping in place in 1 hour.... or do your students in group classes "get" salsa in an hour or less ?

Yes, but this gets really boring for most beginners in my experience. They want to learn what they see ppl doing. Dancing with a partner. While it is most likely better for a person to just teach the steps for an hour until they truly get it, most beginners don't find this fun and will go somewhere else. We have talked about this before on the site where as a teacher you have to find the middle ground between what the students want and what the teacher thinks they should learn.

I have seen most beginners get the basic step, right turn in their first class within 30 mins. Are they doing it perfect, HELL NO. But it gives them something to work on at home.
 
#48
Yes, I'm definitely planning to stress that, and will use the way Frankie talked about it once, which is really seared in my mind so hopefully it will help the students too: Latin dancing is not about the steps, it is about what happens *between* the steps (the weight shift/body movement).
Agreed, we always talk about weight transfer in the breakdown. And how the 5 step is a rock-step.
 
#49
Hey Sabro, what we normally teach the first day of a new session to total beginners is the following, as I did this Tuesday:

footwork:
-basic
-side
-back-step/cumbia (with a slight rotation)

partner:
-basic
-side
-back/cumbia (with a rotation)
-ladies right turn
-guys right turn

If the students are quick and efficient, rarely we throw in CBL.
----------------
I should note, this is not 'my studio' and is thus not exactly how I would go about things. What I would do differently is eliminate side and cumbia in partnerwork, and instead do CBL in closed hold, so they get used to open and closed hold and are at least able to change directions. At the end I'd do a demo with all the myriad possible combinations you can do with just right turns.

You've had great recommendations so far, I like the idea of telling them that dancing happens between the counts. The only thing that's missing is that when you are calling out footwork or partnerwork, you have to call it half of an 8 count before you're supposed to do it. If there is one thing I wish I knew before I started, it was that this would take some getting used to, and I could have practiced on my own before jumping in. For me, this is why beginner classes can be a little harder to teach than intermediate, because you have to name everything and you talk a LOT more in beginner classes than in others where students have experience. The talking happens not only while explaining, but while walking through things, and also even when the music is going on, so the group can all do the movements together.

Specifically, if you're teaching on1, then you call out what's coming around beat 5, so that everyone can do it on beat 1. In a sense, if you're the girl, this is a bit like leading because you have to anticipate what you're going to do beforehand, just like a lead has to decide what he's physically going to do.

The smoother and more confident your calling is, the better the class.

edit: also for music, I disagree that you should use super slow songs. Whoever said it, I don't remember, mid-tempo to slightly faster is more fun and less confusing for them. They love dancing to faster ones when they've figured everything out! To that end, PICK YOUR MUSIC before class, and try to choose songs that don't change timing. If you must, when they change timing... rotate! ja.
 
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#50
The only thing that's missing is that when you are calling out footwork or partnerwork, you have to call it half of an 8 count before you're supposed to do it. If there is one thing I wish I knew before I started, it was that this would take some getting used to, and I could have practiced on my own before jumping in.
I was once in the life a rueda teacher with 15 minutes preparation time. And I had to do calling. So I learned on the spot. Seemed for different moves different timing of calls is better, I don't remember the details. But rueda experts should know, because they do it all the time.
 
#51
Please, please, please start the class with them clapping on the one so they start to learn to listen to the music. Jumping in to steps, history, etc., etc., is fine, but making sure they can hear the one is important. Then stepping forward on the 1 for leads and back on 1 for follows. Once you get to partnerwork have them face each other and lean so they can feel tension and not spaghetti arms.
 
#52
I am assuming this is one off class for the students. Ones that get interested will seek out more (i.e. regular classes to learn). Everyone is the class out of curiosity and because it is called salsa?

Then is your goal that they should get interested and perhaps on their own follow up with regular classes.

My recommendations will be a demo for one songs (to show what salsa dancing is), without using complicated turn patterns. Quick explanation of how the basic forward and backward is executed (more about weight transfer and bringing body forward along with leg demo). A lot of beginners tend to put their leg forward (and back) without moving the body.

Then Introduce them to underarm turn and CBL. I will stop at that. And spend timeaking them repeat, while correcting the mistake. You have good 40 minutes to do this.

Combing both bachata and salsa in one hour will definitely not do justice to salsa. Choose either bachata or salsa.
 
#55
Are you familiar with the expression 'wrong on so many levels'?
I think you have to teach with pop music otherwise how would anyone ever learn this dance? Actually I don't think it's possible if I don't have that salsa version of Beat It. How about we compromise and just use Despacito.
 
#56
If these are first timers and you're just having fun, 1 hour for each is going to be a lot. Leave your intro to two sentences about the differences between the dances (literally forward and back vs. side-to-side) and then get the moving.

Salsa: Limit yourself to basic footwork and have general rules that you refer back to during partnerwork. For example after any turn, right foot back. Making simple rules to adhere to for the hour will give them comfort that this can be absorbed. I would do 20 min footwork and 40 min of partnerwork. Focus on them having fun. They aren't going to stick with it but you do want to leave them with a positive and entertaining experience.
 
#57
I think you have to teach with pop music otherwise how would anyone ever learn this dance? Actually I don't think it's possible if I don't have that salsa version of Beat It. How about we compromise and just use Despacito.
I learned it just listening to salsa. Lol I assume many others did too. If you include ppl of latin ethnicity then most everyone learned it that way.
 
#58
I think you have to teach with pop music otherwise how would anyone ever learn this dance? Actually I don't think it's possible if I don't have that salsa version of Beat It. How about we compromise and just use Despacito.
You forgot the sarcasm emoji, otherwise some people might actually believe you :p (like @dav7802 above :p )
 
#59
I think you have to teach with pop music otherwise how would anyone ever learn this dance? Actually I don't think it's possible if I don't have that salsa version of Beat It. How about we compromise and just use Despacito.
Said in jest however I'm starting to think that the above mentality is becoming the majority opinion on the salsa scene.
 
#60
So, I will be teaching my second-ever official salsa/bachata class as part of a charity event in two weeks organized by European Commission trainees here in Luxembourg, and am wondering if anyone could share a sample 'lesson plan' for a 1-hour salsa class for basic beginners? We'll also teach a 1-hour bachata class but I think that one is more straightforward. I have taught a few people 1-on-1 over the years on an impromptu basis and also gave my first 'official' beginner class in Cuba to a group of Americans who asked me to (first time I actually made money from salsa instead of just spending it :p ), but have never taught a basic beginner linear salsa class and I know there are many people who teach on this thread, so please share from your expertise. :)

I will try not to overload them with history and music explanations since time will be limited, but I do think I would like to start with a 5-minute 'overview' of 'what is salsa' (which is of course impossible to do in 5 minutes :p ).

Many thanks!
Hola, I live in Luxembourg and love dancing and more so charity events. Is this open to non EC members? Where could i find more information.
 

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