Abner Ballardo

The last year, despite I’ve always thought that dancing was not for me, I decided to take a cuban salsa classes. It was a complicated decision because I didn’t like salsa and I didn’t feel confident with my dancing skills. However, my motivation was trying something new and I may say, the results were far beyond my expectations because how I thought about dancing and salsa changed forever.

I took this decision a long time ago while I was watching Jammin’. If you don’t know it, I can tell you that it was a peruvian TV program where music bands played covers or their own songs. At that time, the Christmas was pretty close, so a nice lady were asking everybody: “What would you ask Santa Claus for Christmas?”. In my opinion, she was just consuming time and I wasn’t paying attention… Until one guitarist said: “I would ask, even for a single day, to know how to dance salsa… Wait! And enjoy it”. Suddenly, I felt the same thing and I wrote that in my notebook: “I should look for salsa classes”.

It wasn’t a priority so nothing happened for years… Until one day I found a discount coupon for classes in Salsa-School. “What a coincidence! Salsa classes found me!”, I said. Therefore, I reviewed my old notebook to remember the context. And after that, I took my phone to ask if they could teach a rock guy, who doesn’t know how to dance. Even more, to be sure, I went to see a class. And it was a pleasant surprise, there was a parking lot, the classroom was nice, the people was friendly and they had students with different skills (advanced, medium and, of course, newbies). So I decided to take class.

Signing in was easy but, as I expected, my first class was complicated because I was alone, nervous and I didn’t have any idea of what was going to happen. The first thing that surprise me was the warming-up exercises because some of them made obvious my lack of flexibility and experience. I felt like a dancing robot! After that, they called all the newbies and taught us the basic movements with the rhythm “1, 2, 3… 5, 6, 7…”. It looks easy but my legs ignored my orders. That was frustrating because other newbies learned the movements quickly. At that moment I asked myself: “Why the hell are you learning salsa?” and just before I answered, Victor, an instructor, gave this advice to all: “Practice at home and listen salsa!”.

There was a relationship between that sentence and one technique I learned from the book “Pragmatic Thinking and Learning” by Andy Hunt. It’s a simple technique that I apply in other contexts successfully. If we use it in salsa, it could be: “Practice at home but no only physically. You must also imagine yourself dancing salsa while you are listening salsa all day”. So, I listened salsa all day. Everyone who know me were surprised because they never thought that I could be interested in salsa… A rock guy listening salsa all day!

My second class was as difficult as the first because I should dance with a girl but I didn’t feel confident with the basic steps. Even worse, my partner was a lady with little patience, so she felt uncomfortable with my mistakes. It was an awkward moment but Olga, another instructor, noticed that and reassign the lady with other guy. And after that, she told me that I was going to dance with her all the class. It was awesome because she had a lot patience and useful advices that helped me a lot to understand the rhythm “1 2 3… 4 5 6…”. Now, when I thing about that class, I’m complete sure that my story with salsa could be different if Olga didn’t help me and encourage me to continuing practicing.

Luckily, over the next classes I improved, all the instructor advices and the technique I was using help me a lot. Right now, I must confess that I’m not an expert dancer but I can dance in any party without doubts. I don’t feel lost in my steps and I believe that taking more time to practice will help to be better and better. That’s why, I hope to take classes again and find my edge in salsa. As you can imagine, I wrote that in my notebook and I want to do it soon.

After all, I’m convinced that dancing is not impossible even for a rock guy who didn’t like salsa. I use past tense because that changed, maybe listening salsa all day made something in me. Now, I like salsa and I enjoy listening it and dancing it.

If you want to learn salsa and you are close to Lima - Perú, you should only consider Salsa-School

I can’t finish this article without giving thanks to all the people at Salsa-School: Olga V., thank you for your patience and encourage. Diego G, thanks you for all advices that made things simple. Erika S., thanks you for your patience and forgive me all the stamps on your foot. Claudia L. & Noemi O., thank you for your patience and tips. Julio E., Victor and Alfredo; thank you for all the correction and tips.

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