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How to improve if you cannot take formal training

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  • Dong Ta
    Hey sexy dancers, I m a newbie to Salsa, as well as ballroom dancing, so I d like to ask you a newbie question. Due to my traveling schedule, I don t want to
    Message 1 of 18 , Jul 28, 2008
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      Hey sexy dancers,

      I'm a newbie to Salsa, as well as ballroom dancing, so I'd like to ask you a
      newbie question. Due to my traveling schedule, I don't want to take any
      formal training at this time (for at least half a year). Where should I go
      or what should I do to improve my skills?

      I occasionally went to social dance events. But as the leader, I can't ask
      my follower to teach me new moves. [Btw, I know very few basic steps.]
      There's usually a mini-lesson before each event but they can only teach what
      I already know.

      Thanks guys.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Tenia
      Hey there, Are you in a position to take a private lesson or 2? Either home or in the cities you re traveling to? You can go a long way with a lesson or two,
      Message 2 of 18 , Jul 28, 2008
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        Hey there,



        Are you in a position to take a private lesson or 2? Either home or in the
        cities you're traveling to? You can go a long way with a lesson or two, and
        pick up things you can work on by yourself. In my opinion, though- if you
        can't take classes, you should probably also put dancing on hold!



        As a leader, it's nearly impossible to wing it on the dance floor. Yes, you
        can watch people, videos, or have someone 'show' you steps- but you're
        missing out on proper technique and execution (how to do.rather than what to
        do), and undoubtedly you'll be doing the steps wrong and frustrating
        yourself- if not your partner.



        We're all out to have a good time, that's what it's about, but it being a
        partner dance- it's hard for you or your partner to enjoy it without paying
        your due diligence and at least have the minimal skills. That doesn't mean
        lots of patterns under your belt, just an understanding of proper leading,
        frame, execution. Eventually, it'll be easy to watch other people,
        instructional videos, even Youtube to pick up steps and already have an
        understanding of how the steps are lead.



        But, truly there aren't shortcuts-if you forego the lessons, someone's
        feeling the impact of it and it's better to put it on hold and just
        observe/listen to salsa as much as possible.





        Tenia





        _____

        From: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com [mailto:austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com] On
        Behalf Of Dong Ta
        Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 12:12 PM
        To: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal training



        Hey sexy dancers,

        I'm a newbie to Salsa, as well as ballroom dancing, so I'd like to ask you a
        newbie question. Due to my traveling schedule, I don't want to take any
        formal training at this time (for at least half a year). Where should I go
        or what should I do to improve my skills?

        I occasionally went to social dance events. But as the leader, I can't ask
        my follower to teach me new moves. [Btw, I know very few basic steps.]
        There's usually a mini-lesson before each event but they can only teach what
        I already know.

        Thanks guys.

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jenny Achilles
        This will be my first post, but it touches on a subject about which I feel very strongly. The previous comment on this topic suggested holding off on dancing
        Message 3 of 18 , Jul 28, 2008
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          This will be my first post, but it touches on a subject about which I feel very strongly. The previous comment on this topic suggested holding off on dancing until more lessons could be taken. I understand that many people will agree with this and I can respect their sentiments. However I strongly disagree.

          I fell in love with salsa and merengue through dancing with friends in their houses. It was just a part of our lives. Every get-together ended in dancing--with whatever style and moves each person had learned in their respective countries. Many of them had been dancing since they were small children. I have yet to find a salon dance floor that was more fun than the evenings on carpeted or linoleum floors where we danced til 5 am when we finally collapsed from exhaustion.

          I would rather dance the basic step all night long with someone who is smiling, passionate about the music, and intentionally connecting with me than with someone who knows all the steps that can be taught but is not actively sharing the dance with me. In addition, I think someone who can tone down their style to a level where their partner is comfortable and having fun is a much better dancer than an "expert" who leaves their partner feeling like a "bad dancer" just because they can't follow all the moves.

          One final caveat--not everyone can afford dance lessons; they can be expensive. The dance community should be open to all, regardless of income level.

          It is true that it can be very difficult to find dance partners who are willing to dance with someone who only knows the basic steps. Many people will turn down dances. However, please keep asking because eventually you'll find those of us who will gladly share our passion for dancing with you, at whatever level you're at.

          Learning to dance is a fun journey and a shared experience. Hope to dance with you soon!

          Best,
          Jenny
          ____________________________________________________________
          Click here to find experienced pros to help with your home improvement project.
          http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL2141/fc/Ioyw6i3nHrl4pmTrnF7WRdE1BThxJ3f9fCzwwFUswbWqraYdAEDLNV/

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Norma Tinajero
          Jenny, I couldn t agree with you more! A dancer s attitude says way more than her skills. I personally, don t consider myself an expert but avid and eager to
          Message 4 of 18 , Jul 28, 2008
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            Jenny,
            I couldn't agree with you more! A dancer's attitude says way more than her skills. I personally, don't consider myself an expert but avid and eager to dance. I rarely turn people down and if I do so it is due to their attitude toward me. So... like she said, keep on asking boys, the more practice you get the better dancer you will become. I'm a teacher so I find that this advice applies to most things in life.
             
            Norma

            --- On Mon, 7/28/08, Jenny Achilles <classic_chic@...> wrote:

            From: Jenny Achilles <classic_chic@...>
            Subject: RE: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal training
            To: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Monday, July 28, 2008, 10:35 PM






            This will be my first post, but it touches on a subject about which I feel very strongly. The previous comment on this topic suggested holding off on dancing until more lessons could be taken. I understand that many people will agree with this and I can respect their sentiments. However I strongly disagree.

            I fell in love with salsa and merengue through dancing with friends in their houses. It was just a part of our lives. Every get-together ended in dancing--with whatever style and moves each person had learned in their respective countries. Many of them had been dancing since they were small children. I have yet to find a salon dance floor that was more fun than the evenings on carpeted or linoleum floors where we danced til 5 am when we finally collapsed from exhaustion.

            I would rather dance the basic step all night long with someone who is smiling, passionate about the music, and intentionally connecting with me than with someone who knows all the steps that can be taught but is not actively sharing the dance with me. In addition, I think someone who can tone down their style to a level where their partner is comfortable and having fun is a much better dancer than an "expert" who leaves their partner feeling like a "bad dancer" just because they can't follow all the moves.

            One final caveat--not everyone can afford dance lessons; they can be expensive. The dance community should be open to all, regardless of income level.

            It is true that it can be very difficult to find dance partners who are willing to dance with someone who only knows the basic steps. Many people will turn down dances. However, please keep asking because eventually you'll find those of us who will gladly share our passion for dancing with you, at whatever level you're at.

            Learning to dance is a fun journey and a shared experience. Hope to dance with you soon!

            Best,
            Jenny
            ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
            Click here to find experienced pros to help with your home improvement project.
            http://thirdpartyof fers.juno. com/TGL2141/ fc/Ioyw6i3nHrl4p mTrnF7WRdE1BThxJ 3f9fCzwwFUswbWqr aYdAEDLNV/

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


















            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • JAMES
            This is always a touchy topic, whenever it s brought up. I generally adhere to the idea that, as long as you and your partner are having fun, it doesn t matter
            Message 5 of 18 , Jul 28, 2008
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              This is always a touchy topic, whenever it's brought up.
              I generally adhere to the idea that, as long as you and your partner are having fun, it doesn't matter how much training you have.
              A dance instructor told me a long time ago, "If you wait until you are perfect and an expert before you dance, then you'll always be waiting".
              On the flip side, you should be aware of your quality as a lead (man/woman) and quality as a follow, and strive to improve constantly.
              I've seen bad leads that made me cringe, but the Lady still had fun.
              Naturally, the more experienced dancers gravitate towards each other, and, so, people sort-off float around, until they find the right comfort level with a familiar group of dancers;
              only occasionally trying out an unfamiliar (beginner) dancers.


              ----- Original Message ----
              From: Norma Tinajero <normajean1133@...>
              To: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 10:52:34 PM
              Subject: RE: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal training


              Jenny,
              I couldn't agree with you more! A dancer's attitude says way more than her skills. I personally, don't consider myself an expert but avid and eager to dance. I rarely turn people down and if I do so it is due to their attitude toward me. So... like she said, keep on asking boys, the more practice you get the better dancer you will become. I'm a teacher so I find that this advice applies to most things in life.
               
              Norma

              --- On Mon, 7/28/08, Jenny Achilles <classic_chic@ juno.com> wrote:

              From: Jenny Achilles <classic_chic@ juno.com>
              Subject: RE: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal training
              To: austinsalsa@ yahoogroups. com
              Date: Monday, July 28, 2008, 10:35 PM

              This will be my first post, but it touches on a subject about which I feel very strongly. The previous comment on this topic suggested holding off on dancing until more lessons could be taken. I understand that many people will agree with this and I can respect their sentiments. However I strongly disagree.

              I fell in love with salsa and merengue through dancing with friends in their houses. It was just a part of our lives. Every get-together ended in dancing--with whatever style and moves each person had learned in their respective countries. Many of them had been dancing since they were small children. I have yet to find a salon dance floor that was more fun than the evenings on carpeted or linoleum floors where we danced til 5 am when we finally collapsed from exhaustion.

              I would rather dance the basic step all night long with someone who is smiling, passionate about the music, and intentionally connecting with me than with someone who knows all the steps that can be taught but is not actively sharing the dance with me. In addition, I think someone who can tone down their style to a level where their partner is comfortable and having fun is a much better dancer than an "expert" who leaves their partner feeling like a "bad dancer" just because they can't follow all the moves.

              One final caveat--not everyone can afford dance lessons; they can be expensive. The dance community should be open to all, regardless of income level.

              It is true that it can be very difficult to find dance partners who are willing to dance with someone who only knows the basic steps. Many people will turn down dances. However, please keep asking because eventually you'll find those of us who will gladly share our passion for dancing with you, at whatever level you're at.

              Learning to dance is a fun journey and a shared experience. Hope to dance with you soon!

              Best,
              Jenny
              ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
              Click here to find experienced pros to help with your home improvement project.
              http://thirdpartyof fers.juno. com/TGL2141/ fc/Ioyw6i3nHrl4p mTrnF7WRdE1BThxJ 3f9fCzwwFUswbWqr aYdAEDLNV/

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Dong Ta
              Thanks Jenni and all others for your passionate comments. I ll obviously dance with you or any woman that I see around at the dance floor. I m not looking to
              Message 6 of 18 , Jul 28, 2008
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                Thanks Jenni and all others for your passionate comments.

                I'll obviously dance with you or any woman that I see around at the dance
                floor. I'm not looking to be a dance expert without having fun, so no
                question about that.

                I guess from your post that I'd better stick with some basic steps and make
                them solid rather than trying a new move that I see from others which may
                make the partner uncomfortable?

                Tenia also had a good point. I can take some private lessons. Have you guys
                had much experience on that? I thought that it'd be more effective and fun
                if there're a few other students taking those lessons.

                DT


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Tenia
                To the folks who replied- I think we have the same sentiment, but said in different ways. And I want to clarify, because I m a huge proponent of bringing
                Message 7 of 18 , Jul 28, 2008
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                  To the folks who replied- I think we have the same sentiment, but said in
                  different ways. And I want to clarify, because I'm a huge proponent of
                  bringing anyone & everyone into the dance community in any capacity, because
                  it is life-changing :-)



                  I don't believe learning fancy steps makes one a more desirable dancer, nor
                  do I doubt that DT can have a great time dancing NOW, beginner or not. But,
                  he's a newbie who's trying to find ways to learn without lessons. And my
                  point was that he, or anyone, will be at an advantage getting a solid
                  foundation before trying to progress with steps. And that's what it sounded
                  like he wanted to attain, but was not in a position to.



                  I've been dancing now for 14 yrs, and have been teaching for over 10. And
                  my attitude has always remained the same: quality, not quantity. Give me
                  someone who hardly knows ANY steps, but who feels the music, connects with
                  me, and makes me feel comfortable (by leading well and taking the guesswork
                  out of the dancing) and I will choose them over someone who knows 1,000
                  steps but hardly makes eye contact, uses me to show themselves off, and
                  makes me feel exhausted trying to keep up with all the steps they're
                  cramming into the dance.



                  I've had people who say they grew up listening to salsa and they've never
                  taken a lesson and it's in their blood. And then we dance- and there's no
                  rhyme or reason, I can't possible dance with them, my arms getting yanked
                  left and right. And everything I've learned is eradicated, because this is
                  now a foreign dance to me. And, they will forever be limited to either
                  dancing alone or frustrating their partner.



                  And then, I've had beginners who take me into a Right turn 10 times in a
                  row, with maybe a cross body, and that's it. No other steps. And I will
                  tell you- I can STILL enjoy that, 'cause I can get my groove on and do my
                  styling, since those 2 little steps are being lead properly.



                  It's not about preference for dance level, or being a dance elitist, or not
                  appreciating the spirit of dance. It's really just about this dance being a
                  structured, universal, partner dance. You have to know it in order to do
                  it, and the better you understand it, the deeper your pleasure. It's having
                  a regard/respect for the dance, and thus, your partner.



                  Nevertheless, if you have a newbie who has had hardly any lessons besides
                  very fundamental ones at clubs- you will be hard-pressed to find that you
                  are connecting and impassioned with him because he feels limited by his lack
                  of knowledge. And, if he's attempting to learn by random means. well, my
                  point is- don't learn the wrong way. It's to your disadvantage and your
                  partners.



                  The more knowledge your partner has, the more difficult it will be for them
                  to dance improperly, or off rhythm. And no matter what level, someone can
                  always get hurt by the simplest steps done wrong.



                  There are, of course, some folks who have never taken lessons and who
                  learned naturally. But those people know who they are, and I don't know
                  very many people who can say they absolutely excel at this dance without
                  having benefited from learning from others.



                  DT was talking about growing and learning as a dancer, and knew that he
                  wanted to improve but this was impeded by travel. If I have a student who
                  barely knows a thing about dance, but is out on the dance floor- that's
                  great, they have guts to get out there and they will always gain something.



                  But, if they are frustrated, or mentioning that they feel lacking and don't
                  know if they're leading right- I'm not going to suggest that social dancing
                  will fix/change it. Because if they are limited by improper lead or don't
                  understand the fundamentals- it's hard to progress, or to undo problems when
                  no one is bringing it to their attention.



                  On the other hand, when I teach students in class/studio, I always, always
                  suggest that they go out to dance as well.



                  I simply want students/dancers to have the best experience & advantage, for
                  the long term. Hope this clarification helps.



                  T



                  _____

                  From: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com [mailto:austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com] On
                  Behalf Of JAMES
                  Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 9:15 PM
                  To: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal training



                  This is always a touchy topic, whenever it's brought up.
                  I generally adhere to the idea that, as long as you and your partner are
                  having fun, it doesn't matter how much training you have.
                  A dance instructor told me a long time ago, "If you wait until you are
                  perfect and an expert before you dance, then you'll always be waiting".
                  On the flip side, you should be aware of your quality as a lead (man/woman)
                  and quality as a follow, and strive to improve constantly.
                  I've seen bad leads that made me cringe, but the Lady still had fun.
                  Naturally, the more experienced dancers gravitate towards each other, and,
                  so, people sort-off float around, until they find the right comfort level
                  with a familiar group of dancers;
                  only occasionally trying out an unfamiliar (beginner) dancers.

                  ----- Original Message ----
                  From: Norma Tinajero <normajean1133@ <mailto:normajean1133%40yahoo.com>
                  yahoo.com>
                  To: austinsalsa@ <mailto:austinsalsa%40yahoogroups.com> yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Monday, July 28, 2008 10:52:34 PM
                  Subject: RE: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal training

                  Jenny,
                  I couldn't agree with you more! A dancer's attitude says way more than her
                  skills. I personally, don't consider myself an expert but avid and eager to
                  dance. I rarely turn people down and if I do so it is due to their attitude
                  toward me. So... like she said, keep on asking boys, the more practice you
                  get the better dancer you will become. I'm a teacher so I find that this
                  advice applies to most things in life.

                  Norma

                  --- On Mon, 7/28/08, Jenny Achilles <classic_chic@ juno.com> wrote:

                  From: Jenny Achilles <classic_chic@ juno.com>
                  Subject: RE: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal training
                  To: austinsalsa@ yahoogroups. com
                  Date: Monday, July 28, 2008, 10:35 PM

                  This will be my first post, but it touches on a subject about which I feel
                  very strongly. The previous comment on this topic suggested holding off on
                  dancing until more lessons could be taken. I understand that many people
                  will agree with this and I can respect their sentiments. However I strongly
                  disagree.

                  I fell in love with salsa and merengue through dancing with friends in their
                  houses. It was just a part of our lives. Every get-together ended in
                  dancing--with whatever style and moves each person had learned in their
                  respective countries. Many of them had been dancing since they were small
                  children. I have yet to find a salon dance floor that was more fun than the
                  evenings on carpeted or linoleum floors where we danced til 5 am when we
                  finally collapsed from exhaustion.

                  I would rather dance the basic step all night long with someone who is
                  smiling, passionate about the music, and intentionally connecting with me
                  than with someone who knows all the steps that can be taught but is not
                  actively sharing the dance with me. In addition, I think someone who can
                  tone down their style to a level where their partner is comfortable and
                  having fun is a much better dancer than an "expert" who leaves their partner
                  feeling like a "bad dancer" just because they can't follow all the moves.

                  One final caveat--not everyone can afford dance lessons; they can be
                  expensive. The dance community should be open to all, regardless of income
                  level.

                  It is true that it can be very difficult to find dance partners who are
                  willing to dance with someone who only knows the basic steps. Many people
                  will turn down dances. However, please keep asking because eventually you'll
                  find those of us who will gladly share our passion for dancing with you, at
                  whatever level you're at.

                  Learning to dance is a fun journey and a shared experience. Hope to dance
                  with you soon!

                  Best,
                  Jenny
                  ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
                  Click here to find experienced pros to help with your home improvement
                  project.
                  http://thirdpartyof fers.juno. com/TGL2141/ fc/Ioyw6i3nHrl4p
                  mTrnF7WRdE1BThxJ 3f9fCzwwFUswbWqr aYdAEDLNV/

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Donald Hoyt
                  Hi Dong Ta! Here s my 2 cents: Although it may seem harsh to some, Tenia is just being absolutely honest without sugar coating it. I was a newbie 5 years ago.
                  Message 8 of 18 , Jul 29, 2008
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Hi Dong Ta!



                    Here's my 2 cents: Although it may seem harsh to some, Tenia is just
                    being absolutely honest without sugar coating it.



                    I was a newbie 5 years ago. It seems like just yesterday I felt new,
                    awkward, and frustrated (and envious of better dancers who seemed
                    effortlessly to have fun).



                    So you're traveling a lot which makes group classes / regular attendance
                    difficult. The MOST important thing you can do to grow in your dancing
                    (and thus enjoy it more) is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.



                    There are MANY ways to practice. 1) Taking a private lesson is expensive
                    but is like Miracle Grow. It's also easier for a traveler to call an
                    instructor and book 1-2hrs whenever you have time vs trying to be free
                    at the exact time as a group class. 2) Attend ANY group class wherever
                    you are (I still took the basic classes the whole first year I made it
                    into the advanced classes. More "floor-time w partner" = stronger
                    skills). Get on the internet and look them up. Preferably these are
                    "dance studio" classes. They tend to cover more technique (and moves)
                    than "free club" classes. 3) Buy a good Video (Tenia's are an excellent
                    place to begin. Great combination of essential moves. The exercises get
                    progressively more challenging. She even took the time to put on her
                    "magic shoes" :-) ). Having a video gives you "memory burn-in". I
                    used to watch the SAME pattern 20-30 times over a year and ALWAYS notice
                    something new about the technique as my "dance-vision" grew that made me
                    understand better "How/Why" the move works and how to execute it better.
                    4) "Air-guitar", yup, that's right. Pretend you have a woman in your
                    arms and dance your part by yourself simulating leading her.
                    Ready? If you can't dance it by yourself, you can't dance it with a
                    partner - Period. Dancing the pattern by yourself helps build muscle
                    memory. This is VERY important. The more muscle memory you have, the
                    less your brain has to think about "Oh, gosh where does my left foot go
                    again?" and you can concentrate more on a) How you are moving/leading
                    your partner b) How she feels [happy?] c) The music - you can relax
                    more because you have less churning through your "active" mind, this
                    will allow you to look more relaxed, fluid, natural. You can also
                    "play" with the music more. Adding improv moves that "just feel good".



                    Once you have done these activities and feel like you can remember
                    enough to try them out "in the real world". The MOST important thing you
                    can do is DANCE them with a partner. 1) It's easier to do this at group
                    classes/practices/ or private partner practices where you can walk
                    through them slowly, without being rushed, and pay attention to
                    executing them properly to where they "don't break" and feel good. In
                    this environment you can stop in the middle of the step and think if you
                    need to and then start back up. Try them WITHOUT music first. Music
                    stops for no one and may force you to dance the move faster than you are
                    ready. Sloppy and breaking is not as good as slower and smooth. Then -->

                    2) Dance them to music. It doesn't matter whether you are at a club or
                    at home on tile with a CD player.... Just synchronizing with the music
                    will help you with timing and feel. In the beginning it is actually
                    easier NOT to dance at a club because you remove the stress
                    (distraction) of feeling like people are watching you. You also don't
                    have to deal with "traffic control" and not being able to concentrate on
                    the steps because all your attention is needed to stop your partner from
                    being trampled by other dancers.



                    One thing I find very helpful when trying to build vocabulary is to jot
                    down "easy to read" notes on an index card and take it with me. Notes
                    that trigger my "practice memories" and will be enough to allow me to
                    remember how to dance the move. Focus on just a few. Maybe 3 or 4.

                    There's no shame in discreetly looking at your list, "re-loading", and
                    then getting out there and being able to dance 3 more moves you were
                    forgetting.



                    Ultimately, Tenia is right. Salsa IS a language. It is better to know
                    just 4 or 5 words well and know how/when/why to use them. Than to blurt
                    out phrases that you heard someone else say and you have no idea what
                    they mean.... The more words we know, the more sentences we know, the
                    more we can communicate with our partner and the music.



                    Take the time to TRAIN. You will enjoy the dance more, you partners
                    will enjoy you more, and your peers will respect you for it.





                    Cheers! :-)



                    Salsa Steve,

                    a.k.a.

                    Donald S. Hoyt

                    Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson

                    Information Technology Group

                    Oracle Application Developer - OCP, MCP, SCJP

                    (210)403-8617



                    ________________________________

                    From: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com [mailto:austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com]
                    On Behalf Of Dong Ta
                    Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:15 AM
                    To: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal
                    training



                    Thanks Jenni and all others for your passionate comments.

                    I'll obviously dance with you or any woman that I see around at the
                    dance
                    floor. I'm not looking to be a dance expert without having fun, so no
                    question about that.

                    I guess from your post that I'd better stick with some basic steps and
                    make
                    them solid rather than trying a new move that I see from others which
                    may
                    make the partner uncomfortable?

                    Tenia also had a good point. I can take some private lessons. Have you
                    guys
                    had much experience on that? I thought that it'd be more effective and
                    fun
                    if there're a few other students taking those lessons.

                    DT

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • David Ashley
                    For all the people out there who have a work schedule,and can t take salsa classes. Take as many classes as you can. More importantly,I think the best thing to
                    Message 9 of 18 , Jul 29, 2008
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                      For all the people out there who have a work schedule,and can't take salsa classes. Take as many classes as you can. More importantly,I think the best thing to do is familiarize yourself with the music. Let's say for instance,your driving to a business meeting. The best thing you can do is have a university on wheels. Pop in some salsa music. You will find that one song that fits you. Once you find the song that you like,buy it,burn it. what ever. Dance to that song for a month. You generally will dance better to a song that you can feel. As time goes on,you can begin to add songs to your collection. While doing all of this your taking classes as well. Before you attend class,make sure you are ready to dance salsa. While dancing you want to be relaxed as possible. Go make it happen.

                      Donald Hoyt <donaldh@...> wrote: Hi Dong Ta!

                      Here's my 2 cents: Although it may seem harsh to some, Tenia is just
                      being absolutely honest without sugar coating it.

                      I was a newbie 5 years ago. It seems like just yesterday I felt new,
                      awkward, and frustrated (and envious of better dancers who seemed
                      effortlessly to have fun).

                      So you're traveling a lot which makes group classes / regular attendance
                      difficult. The MOST important thing you can do to grow in your dancing
                      (and thus enjoy it more) is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

                      There are MANY ways to practice. 1) Taking a private lesson is expensive
                      but is like Miracle Grow. It's also easier for a traveler to call an
                      instructor and book 1-2hrs whenever you have time vs trying to be free
                      at the exact time as a group class. 2) Attend ANY group class wherever
                      you are (I still took the basic classes the whole first year I made it
                      into the advanced classes. More "floor-time w partner" = stronger
                      skills). Get on the internet and look them up. Preferably these are
                      "dance studio" classes. They tend to cover more technique (and moves)
                      than "free club" classes. 3) Buy a good Video (Tenia's are an excellent
                      place to begin. Great combination of essential moves. The exercises get
                      progressively more challenging. She even took the time to put on her
                      "magic shoes" :-) ). Having a video gives you "memory burn-in". I
                      used to watch the SAME pattern 20-30 times over a year and ALWAYS notice
                      something new about the technique as my "dance-vision" grew that made me
                      understand better "How/Why" the move works and how to execute it better.
                      4) "Air-guitar", yup, that's right. Pretend you have a woman in your
                      arms and dance your part by yourself simulating leading her.
                      Ready? If you can't dance it by yourself, you can't dance it with a
                      partner - Period. Dancing the pattern by yourself helps build muscle
                      memory. This is VERY important. The more muscle memory you have, the
                      less your brain has to think about "Oh, gosh where does my left foot go
                      again?" and you can concentrate more on a) How you are moving/leading
                      your partner b) How she feels [happy?] c) The music - you can relax
                      more because you have less churning through your "active" mind, this
                      will allow you to look more relaxed, fluid, natural. You can also
                      "play" with the music more. Adding improv moves that "just feel good".

                      Once you have done these activities and feel like you can remember
                      enough to try them out "in the real world". The MOST important thing you
                      can do is DANCE them with a partner. 1) It's easier to do this at group
                      classes/practices/ or private partner practices where you can walk
                      through them slowly, without being rushed, and pay attention to
                      executing them properly to where they "don't break" and feel good. In
                      this environment you can stop in the middle of the step and think if you
                      need to and then start back up. Try them WITHOUT music first. Music
                      stops for no one and may force you to dance the move faster than you are
                      ready. Sloppy and breaking is not as good as slower and smooth. Then -->

                      2) Dance them to music. It doesn't matter whether you are at a club or
                      at home on tile with a CD player.... Just synchronizing with the music
                      will help you with timing and feel. In the beginning it is actually
                      easier NOT to dance at a club because you remove the stress
                      (distraction) of feeling like people are watching you. You also don't
                      have to deal with "traffic control" and not being able to concentrate on
                      the steps because all your attention is needed to stop your partner from
                      being trampled by other dancers.

                      One thing I find very helpful when trying to build vocabulary is to jot
                      down "easy to read" notes on an index card and take it with me. Notes
                      that trigger my "practice memories" and will be enough to allow me to
                      remember how to dance the move. Focus on just a few. Maybe 3 or 4.

                      There's no shame in discreetly looking at your list, "re-loading", and
                      then getting out there and being able to dance 3 more moves you were
                      forgetting.

                      Ultimately, Tenia is right. Salsa IS a language. It is better to know
                      just 4 or 5 words well and know how/when/why to use them. Than to blurt
                      out phrases that you heard someone else say and you have no idea what
                      they mean.... The more words we know, the more sentences we know, the
                      more we can communicate with our partner and the music.

                      Take the time to TRAIN. You will enjoy the dance more, you partners
                      will enjoy you more, and your peers will respect you for it.

                      Cheers! :-)

                      Salsa Steve,

                      a.k.a.

                      Donald S. Hoyt

                      Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson

                      Information Technology Group

                      Oracle Application Developer - OCP, MCP, SCJP

                      (210)403-8617

                      ________________________________

                      From: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com [mailto:austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com]
                      On Behalf Of Dong Ta
                      Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:15 AM
                      To: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal
                      training

                      Thanks Jenni and all others for your passionate comments.

                      I'll obviously dance with you or any woman that I see around at the
                      dance
                      floor. I'm not looking to be a dance expert without having fun, so no
                      question about that.

                      I guess from your post that I'd better stick with some basic steps and
                      make
                      them solid rather than trying a new move that I see from others which
                      may
                      make the partner uncomfortable?

                      Tenia also had a good point. I can take some private lessons. Have you
                      guys
                      had much experience on that? I thought that it'd be more effective and
                      fun
                      if there're a few other students taking those lessons.

                      DT

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Maksim Khrapov
                      Hi, Dong Ta! If you decide to take private lessons, bring a video camera with you. Just set it up in the corner on a tripod and let it roll for the entire
                      Message 10 of 18 , Jul 29, 2008
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Hi, Dong Ta!

                        If you decide to take private lessons, bring a video camera with you. Just set it up in the corner on a tripod and let it roll for the entire lesson. Dance teachers don't have a problem with it as long as you only use it for your own private viewing. And you will have a record of your lesson to watch later and refresh your memory.

                        Have fun!

                        Max
                      • Donald Hoyt
                        This is a good idea. Also, sometimes at group lessons the instructors will let you record the pattern at the end of class as well. As far as privates go, I
                        Message 11 of 18 , Jul 29, 2008
                        • 0 Attachment
                          This is a good idea. Also, sometimes at group lessons the instructors
                          will let you record the pattern at the end of class as well.



                          As far as privates go, I would ask the instructor when you book the
                          private. Some of them don't allow recording at all, some do. It's a
                          hassle to gather and haul all your stuff there and have them turn you
                          down. It's also awkward and creates tension for the private if they
                          don't. I prefer to know in advance.





                          Donald S. Hoyt

                          Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson

                          Information Technology Group

                          Oracle Application Developer - OCP, MCP, SCJP

                          (210)403-8617



                          ________________________________

                          From: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com [mailto:austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com]
                          On Behalf Of Maksim Khrapov
                          Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:29 PM
                          To: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: RE: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal
                          training



                          Hi, Dong Ta!

                          If you decide to take private lessons, bring a video camera with you.
                          Just set it up in the corner on a tripod and let it roll for the entire
                          lesson. Dance teachers don't have a problem with it as long as you only
                          use it for your own private viewing. And you will have a record of your
                          lesson to watch later and refresh your memory.

                          Have fun!

                          Max





                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • kavitha Baratakke
                          Hi Dong, I started salsa around Sept 2007 and initially I just knew some basic moves from a class I took 4 years ago.For a few months I did not take any
                          Message 12 of 18 , Jul 29, 2008
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Hi Dong,
                            I started salsa around Sept 2007 and initially I just knew some basic moves from a class I took 4 years ago.For a few months I did not take any formal lessons. It was easier for me to do that as a follower but it's really hard to do as a leader I guess. At some point you do want to learn some new things and add to your repertoire. After a few months I felt like I wasn't going anywhere in terms of expanding my skills and finally took some group lessons and also a few private lessons. Both Uptown Dance and Go Dance have some good starter rates (like $99/$139 respectively) for a newbie which includes one month unlimited group lessons and also 3 private lessons. It's a great deal. It was a great start to learning the dance formally and it's better you do that than try to wing it because sometimes you just learn and do things the wrong way and practicing the wrong thing just builds up a habit that's hard to break later. I've noticed once thing about salsa
                            and other dance forms- yes you can improvise and there's no exact right way to execute a move, everyone has their own touch to it but if you follow the basic rules it just becomes a lot easier to execute the move (and it's a lot to do with body dynamics I guess). Bottomline classes esp private ones helped me a lot in undoing a lot of bad moves I was getting used to and reinforced the fact that I could do it much more elegantly. Both Godance and uptown dance have passes you can buy so you can do a group class whenever you're in town (after the starter rate expires) and it's usually about $9-$10 per class. It's a great way to learn new moves or polish your move by practicing with different dance partners.
                            I've fallen off the salsa scene for a while because I've been really busy but I'm making a comeback now. The salsa community in Austin is great so it's such a pleasure to go dancing! Have fun dancing!
                            Good luck!
                            Kavitha
                          • Dong Ta
                            I can tell that you guys have put a lot of thoughts into my question. Thank you all, sexy friendly people. [Non-text portions of this message have been
                            Message 13 of 18 , Jul 29, 2008
                            • 0 Attachment
                              I can tell that you guys have put a lot of thoughts into my question. Thank
                              you all, sexy friendly people.


                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • pelet2001ve@yahoo.com
                              There are some salsa song the english lyric that are pretty good as well for those who want to know the songs without learning spanish. I think the liryc give
                              Message 14 of 18 , Jul 30, 2008
                              • 0 Attachment
                                There are some salsa song the english lyric that are pretty good as well for those who want to know the songs without learning spanish. I think the liryc give a lot of definitiont o the attitude of dance.


                                Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: David Ashley <guirogogetter@...>

                                Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 09:32:49
                                To: <austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com>
                                Subject: RE: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal training


                                For all the people out there who have a work schedule,and can't take salsa classes. Take as many classes as you can. More importantly,I think the best thing to do is familiarize yourself with the music. Let's say for instance,your driving to a business meeting. The best thing you can do is have a university on wheels. Pop in some salsa music. You will find that one song that fits you. Once you find the song that you like,buy it,burn it. what ever. Dance to that song for a month. You generally will dance better to a song that you can feel. As time goes on,you can begin to add songs to your collection. While doing all of this your taking classes as well. Before you attend class,make sure you are ready to dance salsa. While dancing you want to be relaxed as possible. Go make it happen.

                                Donald Hoyt <donaldh@...> wrote: Hi Dong Ta!

                                Here's my 2 cents: Although it may seem harsh to some, Tenia is just
                                being absolutely honest without sugar coating it.

                                I was a newbie 5 years ago. It seems like just yesterday I felt new,
                                awkward, and frustrated (and envious of better dancers who seemed
                                effortlessly to have fun).

                                So you're traveling a lot which makes group classes / regular attendance
                                difficult. The MOST important thing you can do to grow in your dancing
                                (and thus enjoy it more) is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

                                There are MANY ways to practice. 1) Taking a private lesson is expensive
                                but is like Miracle Grow. It's also easier for a traveler to call an
                                instructor and book 1-2hrs whenever you have time vs trying to be free
                                at the exact time as a group class. 2) Attend ANY group class wherever
                                you are (I still took the basic classes the whole first year I made it
                                into the advanced classes. More "floor-time w partner" = stronger
                                skills). Get on the internet and look them up. Preferably these are
                                "dance studio" classes. They tend to cover more technique (and moves)
                                than "free club" classes. 3) Buy a good Video (Tenia's are an excellent
                                place to begin. Great combination of essential moves. The exercises get
                                progressively more challenging. She even took the time to put on her
                                "magic shoes" :-) ). Having a video gives you "memory burn-in". I
                                used to watch the SAME pattern 20-30 times over a year and ALWAYS notice
                                something new about the technique as my "dance-vision" grew that made me
                                understand better "How/Why" the move works and how to execute it better.
                                4) "Air-guitar", yup, that's right. Pretend you have a woman in your
                                arms and dance your part by yourself simulating leading her.
                                Ready? If you can't dance it by yourself, you can't dance it with a
                                partner - Period. Dancing the pattern by yourself helps build muscle
                                memory. This is VERY important. The more muscle memory you have, the
                                less your brain has to think about "Oh, gosh where does my left foot go
                                again?" and you can concentrate more on a) How you are moving/leading
                                your partner b) How she feels [happy?] c) The music - you can relax
                                more because you have less churning through your "active" mind, this
                                will allow you to look more relaxed, fluid, natural. You can also
                                "play" with the music more. Adding improv moves that "just feel good".

                                Once you have done these activities and feel like you can remember
                                enough to try them out "in the real world". The MOST important thing you
                                can do is DANCE them with a partner. 1) It's easier to do this at group
                                classes/practices/ or private partner practices where you can walk
                                through them slowly, without being rushed, and pay attention to
                                executing them properly to where they "don't break" and feel good. In
                                this environment you can stop in the middle of the step and think if you
                                need to and then start back up. Try them WITHOUT music first. Music
                                stops for no one and may force you to dance the move faster than you are
                                ready. Sloppy and breaking is not as good as slower and smooth. Then -->

                                2) Dance them to music. It doesn't matter whether you are at a club or
                                at home on tile with a CD player.... Just synchronizing with the music
                                will help you with timing and feel. In the beginning it is actually
                                easier NOT to dance at a club because you remove the stress
                                (distraction) of feeling like people are watching you. You also don't
                                have to deal with "traffic control" and not being able to concentrate on
                                the steps because all your attention is needed to stop your partner from
                                being trampled by other dancers.

                                One thing I find very helpful when trying to build vocabulary is to jot
                                down "easy to read" notes on an index card and take it with me. Notes
                                that trigger my "practice memories" and will be enough to allow me to
                                remember how to dance the move. Focus on just a few. Maybe 3 or 4.

                                There's no shame in discreetly looking at your list, "re-loading", and
                                then getting out there and being able to dance 3 more moves you were
                                forgetting.

                                Ultimately, Tenia is right. Salsa IS a language. It is better to know
                                just 4 or 5 words well and know how/when/why to use them. Than to blurt
                                out phrases that you heard someone else say and you have no idea what
                                they mean.... The more words we know, the more sentences we know, the
                                more we can communicate with our partner and the music.

                                Take the time to TRAIN. You will enjoy the dance more, you partners
                                will enjoy you more, and your peers will respect you for it.

                                Cheers! :-)

                                Salsa Steve,

                                a.k.a.

                                Donald S. Hoyt

                                Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson

                                Information Technology Group

                                Oracle Application Developer - OCP, MCP, SCJP

                                (210)403-8617

                                ________________________________

                                From: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com [mailto:austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com]
                                On Behalf Of Dong Ta
                                Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:15 AM
                                To: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: Re: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal
                                training

                                Thanks Jenni and all others for your passionate comments.

                                I'll obviously dance with you or any woman that I see around at the
                                dance
                                floor. I'm not looking to be a dance expert without having fun, so no
                                question about that.

                                I guess from your post that I'd better stick with some basic steps and
                                make
                                them solid rather than trying a new move that I see from others which
                                may
                                make the partner uncomfortable?

                                Tenia also had a good point. I can take some private lessons. Have you
                                guys
                                had much experience on that? I thought that it'd be more effective and
                                fun
                                if there're a few other students taking those lessons.

                                DT

                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • David Ashley
                                pelet2001, That is correct. It s important to understand the basic steps. If you can t feel the music,and understand the function of the instruments you will
                                Message 15 of 18 , Jul 30, 2008
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  pelet2001, That is correct. It's important to understand the basic steps. If you can't feel the music,and understand the function of the instruments you will have a hard time. The best dancers are the people who understand the rhythm of the music. Next time you go to a salsa club. You will know who the best dancers are. Most good dancer's have big collection's of music. Once again,I'm not saying don't take classes. That is just a reference point. You have to use your critical thinking skills. Think outside the bun. Ha Ha.

                                  pelet2001ve@... wrote: There are some salsa song the english lyric that are pretty good as well for those who want to know the songs without learning spanish. I think the liryc give a lot of definitiont o the attitude of dance.


                                  Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

                                  -----Original Message-----
                                  From: David Ashley <guirogogetter@...>

                                  Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 09:32:49
                                  To: <austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com>
                                  Subject: RE: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal training


                                  For all the people out there who have a work schedule,and can't take salsa classes. Take as many classes as you can. More importantly,I think the best thing to do is familiarize yourself with the music. Let's say for instance,your driving to a business meeting. The best thing you can do is have a university on wheels. Pop in some salsa music. You will find that one song that fits you. Once you find the song that you like,buy it,burn it. what ever. Dance to that song for a month. You generally will dance better to a song that you can feel. As time goes on,you can begin to add songs to your collection. While doing all of this your taking classes as well. Before you attend class,make sure you are ready to dance salsa. While dancing you want to be relaxed as possible. Go make it happen.

                                  Donald Hoyt <donaldh@...> wrote: Hi Dong Ta!

                                  Here's my 2 cents: Although it may seem harsh to some, Tenia is just
                                  being absolutely honest without sugar coating it.

                                  I was a newbie 5 years ago. It seems like just yesterday I felt new,
                                  awkward, and frustrated (and envious of better dancers who seemed
                                  effortlessly to have fun).

                                  So you're traveling a lot which makes group classes / regular attendance
                                  difficult. The MOST important thing you can do to grow in your dancing
                                  (and thus enjoy it more) is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

                                  There are MANY ways to practice. 1) Taking a private lesson is expensive
                                  but is like Miracle Grow. It's also easier for a traveler to call an
                                  instructor and book 1-2hrs whenever you have time vs trying to be free
                                  at the exact time as a group class. 2) Attend ANY group class wherever
                                  you are (I still took the basic classes the whole first year I made it
                                  into the advanced classes. More "floor-time w partner" = stronger
                                  skills). Get on the internet and look them up. Preferably these are
                                  "dance studio" classes. They tend to cover more technique (and moves)
                                  than "free club" classes. 3) Buy a good Video (Tenia's are an excellent
                                  place to begin. Great combination of essential moves. The exercises get
                                  progressively more challenging. She even took the time to put on her
                                  "magic shoes" :-) ). Having a video gives you "memory burn-in". I
                                  used to watch the SAME pattern 20-30 times over a year and ALWAYS notice
                                  something new about the technique as my "dance-vision" grew that made me
                                  understand better "How/Why" the move works and how to execute it better.
                                  4) "Air-guitar", yup, that's right. Pretend you have a woman in your
                                  arms and dance your part by yourself simulating leading her.
                                  Ready? If you can't dance it by yourself, you can't dance it with a
                                  partner - Period. Dancing the pattern by yourself helps build muscle
                                  memory. This is VERY important. The more muscle memory you have, the
                                  less your brain has to think about "Oh, gosh where does my left foot go
                                  again?" and you can concentrate more on a) How you are moving/leading
                                  your partner b) How she feels [happy?] c) The music - you can relax
                                  more because you have less churning through your "active" mind, this
                                  will allow you to look more relaxed, fluid, natural. You can also
                                  "play" with the music more. Adding improv moves that "just feel good".

                                  Once you have done these activities and feel like you can remember
                                  enough to try them out "in the real world". The MOST important thing you
                                  can do is DANCE them with a partner. 1) It's easier to do this at group
                                  classes/practices/ or private partner practices where you can walk
                                  through them slowly, without being rushed, and pay attention to
                                  executing them properly to where they "don't break" and feel good. In
                                  this environment you can stop in the middle of the step and think if you
                                  need to and then start back up. Try them WITHOUT music first. Music
                                  stops for no one and may force you to dance the move faster than you are
                                  ready. Sloppy and breaking is not as good as slower and smooth. Then -->

                                  2) Dance them to music. It doesn't matter whether you are at a club or
                                  at home on tile with a CD player.... Just synchronizing with the music
                                  will help you with timing and feel. In the beginning it is actually
                                  easier NOT to dance at a club because you remove the stress
                                  (distraction) of feeling like people are watching you. You also don't
                                  have to deal with "traffic control" and not being able to concentrate on
                                  the steps because all your attention is needed to stop your partner from
                                  being trampled by other dancers.

                                  One thing I find very helpful when trying to build vocabulary is to jot
                                  down "easy to read" notes on an index card and take it with me. Notes
                                  that trigger my "practice memories" and will be enough to allow me to
                                  remember how to dance the move. Focus on just a few. Maybe 3 or 4.

                                  There's no shame in discreetly looking at your list, "re-loading", and
                                  then getting out there and being able to dance 3 more moves you were
                                  forgetting.

                                  Ultimately, Tenia is right. Salsa IS a language. It is better to know
                                  just 4 or 5 words well and know how/when/why to use them. Than to blurt
                                  out phrases that you heard someone else say and you have no idea what
                                  they mean.... The more words we know, the more sentences we know, the
                                  more we can communicate with our partner and the music.

                                  Take the time to TRAIN. You will enjoy the dance more, you partners
                                  will enjoy you more, and your peers will respect you for it.

                                  Cheers! :-)

                                  Salsa Steve,

                                  a.k.a.

                                  Donald S. Hoyt

                                  Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson

                                  Information Technology Group

                                  Oracle Application Developer - OCP, MCP, SCJP

                                  (210)403-8617

                                  ________________________________

                                  From: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com [mailto:austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com]
                                  On Behalf Of Dong Ta
                                  Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 12:15 AM
                                  To: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com
                                  Subject: Re: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal
                                  training

                                  Thanks Jenni and all others for your passionate comments.

                                  I'll obviously dance with you or any woman that I see around at the
                                  dance
                                  floor. I'm not looking to be a dance expert without having fun, so no
                                  question about that.

                                  I guess from your post that I'd better stick with some basic steps and
                                  make
                                  them solid rather than trying a new move that I see from others which
                                  may
                                  make the partner uncomfortable?

                                  Tenia also had a good point. I can take some private lessons. Have you
                                  guys
                                  had much experience on that? I thought that it'd be more effective and
                                  fun
                                  if there're a few other students taking those lessons.

                                  DT

                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • David Ashley
                                  Kavitha you are correct. The basic steps are important. Add the basic steps with a song that you like. You will have good results. kavitha Baratakke
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Jul 30, 2008
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Kavitha you are correct. The basic steps are important. Add the basic steps with a song that you like. You will have good results.

                                    kavitha Baratakke <kbaratakke@...> wrote: Hi Dong,
                                    I started salsa around Sept 2007 and initially I just knew some basic moves from a class I took 4 years ago.For a few months I did not take any formal lessons. It was easier for me to do that as a follower but it's really hard to do as a leader I guess. At some point you do want to learn some new things and add to your repertoire. After a few months I felt like I wasn't going anywhere in terms of expanding my skills and finally took some group lessons and also a few private lessons. Both Uptown Dance and Go Dance have some good starter rates (like $99/$139 respectively) for a newbie which includes one month unlimited group lessons and also 3 private lessons. It's a great deal. It was a great start to learning the dance formally and it's better you do that than try to wing it because sometimes you just learn and do things the wrong way and practicing the wrong thing just builds up a habit that's hard to break later. I've noticed once thing about salsa
                                    and other dance forms- yes you can improvise and there's no exact right way to execute a move, everyone has their own touch to it but if you follow the basic rules it just becomes a lot easier to execute the move (and it's a lot to do with body dynamics I guess). Bottomline classes esp private ones helped me a lot in undoing a lot of bad moves I was getting used to and reinforced the fact that I could do it much more elegantly. Both Godance and uptown dance have passes you can buy so you can do a group class whenever you're in town (after the starter rate expires) and it's usually about $9-$10 per class. It's a great way to learn new moves or polish your move by practicing with different dance partners.
                                    I've fallen off the salsa scene for a while because I've been really busy but I'm making a comeback now. The salsa community in Austin is great so it's such a pleasure to go dancing! Have fun dancing!
                                    Good luck!
                                    Kavitha







                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • David Ashley
                                    Jenny and Norma I feel the same way. Love the post. You ladies are the passionate dancer s. That s the key find a song you like. After,that stick to the basic.
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Jul 30, 2008
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      Jenny and Norma I feel the same way. Love the post. You ladies are the passionate dancer's. That's the key find a song you like. After,that stick to the basic. It's that simple. you guys are awesome.

                                      Norma Tinajero <normajean1133@...> wrote: Jenny,
                                      I couldn't agree with you more! A dancer's attitude says way more than her skills. I personally, don't consider myself an expert but avid and eager to dance. I rarely turn people down and if I do so it is due to their attitude toward me. So... like she said, keep on asking boys, the more practice you get the better dancer you will become. I'm a teacher so I find that this advice applies to most things in life.

                                      Norma

                                      --- On Mon, 7/28/08, Jenny Achilles <classic_chic@...> wrote:

                                      From: Jenny Achilles <classic_chic@...>
                                      Subject: RE: [austinsalsa] How to improve if you cannot take formal training
                                      To: austinsalsa@yahoogroups.com
                                      Date: Monday, July 28, 2008, 10:35 PM

                                      This will be my first post, but it touches on a subject about which I feel very strongly. The previous comment on this topic suggested holding off on dancing until more lessons could be taken. I understand that many people will agree with this and I can respect their sentiments. However I strongly disagree.

                                      I fell in love with salsa and merengue through dancing with friends in their houses. It was just a part of our lives. Every get-together ended in dancing--with whatever style and moves each person had learned in their respective countries. Many of them had been dancing since they were small children. I have yet to find a salon dance floor that was more fun than the evenings on carpeted or linoleum floors where we danced til 5 am when we finally collapsed from exhaustion.

                                      I would rather dance the basic step all night long with someone who is smiling, passionate about the music, and intentionally connecting with me than with someone who knows all the steps that can be taught but is not actively sharing the dance with me. In addition, I think someone who can tone down their style to a level where their partner is comfortable and having fun is a much better dancer than an "expert" who leaves their partner feeling like a "bad dancer" just because they can't follow all the moves.

                                      One final caveat--not everyone can afford dance lessons; they can be expensive. The dance community should be open to all, regardless of income level.

                                      It is true that it can be very difficult to find dance partners who are willing to dance with someone who only knows the basic steps. Many people will turn down dances. However, please keep asking because eventually you'll find those of us who will gladly share our passion for dancing with you, at whatever level you're at.

                                      Learning to dance is a fun journey and a shared experience. Hope to dance with you soon!

                                      Best,
                                      Jenny
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                                    • Kenneth Tran
                                      My view is that the breath (different moves) and the depth (solidifying basic steps) are both important in the learning process and in making the dance
                                      Message 18 of 18 , Jul 31, 2008
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                                        My view is that the breath (different moves) and the depth (solidifying
                                        basic steps) are both important in the learning process and in making the
                                        dance enjoyable.

                                        I'm in the same boat as Dong's. So I have a question for the ladies: do you
                                        mind or (or actually encourage) if your partner tries to perform a new move
                                        which he's still inexperienced with? For my own sake, I'll experiment anyway
                                        but I still want to hear your opinions.


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