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How To Find A Good Salsa And Latin Dance Instructor

Updated on January 28, 2010

What's Most Important?

Teaching Latin dance, or anything else for that matter, is not so much knowing about the subject area, but knowing how to teach students. All too often, dance instructors market themselves by demonstrating their ability to dance and by pointing to the number of awards they have won. Those things simply suggest that they can dance well, but have nothing whatsoever to do with their ability to teach you anything.

Some dance instructors proudly point to the number of years they have taught and use that as a way to suggest that they are effective teachers. However, as everyone who has attended school knows, the number of years one has taught has little or no relationship to the quality of the instruction the teacher is able to provide. Didn't you ever have a relatively inexperienced teacher who was awesome and/or a seasoned veteran teacher who was ineffective?

All this being said, it should be noted that some of the finest instructors have little or no teacher training and are simply gifted educators. When searching for a teacher of any subject, look for one with strong teaching skills and secondarily evaluate his/her knowledge of the subject.

Where Do I Look For A Salsa Instructor?

Keeping in mind what I have said about what's most important, you now need to begin looking for a salsa instructor.

You may wish to begin your search by checking the Internet. Use a search engine, type the word "salsa" and/or "Latin dance" as well as the name of the city, town, county, or area where you would be able to take lessons. This should help you identify several possibilities.

In addition to the aforementioned, consult friends and acquaintances. Someone you know may have taken dance lessons before and can recommend a good instructor. Further, one of the people with whom you speak may have some direct knowledge of one or more of the possibilities you identified through the Internet. 

If you're not real shy and find yourself at a Latin club, take note of those who appear to be proficient dancers and ask one or more of them if they know of a good dance instructor. This is a particulalrly effective method of finding a quality instructor since it gives you the opportunity to see the product of the teacher's work and the ability to ask questions of someone who may be less biased than the teacher.

Get The Myths Out Of Your Head

"Small classes are better than big classes because you get more individualized attention". You won't hear those words from my mouth. In fact, I believe the opposite. Moderate to large size classes are preferable. One of the primary objectives in teaching salsa is to learn how to dance with anyone, anywhere, at any time. How does one become a master leader or a master follower by limiting one's experiences to a very small number of partners? Look for an instructor who welcomes a moderate to large class and who ensures that every man dances with every woman and vice versa. That kind of experience is imperative and far outweighs the value of the small amount of individualized attention one can get from an instructor in a small class.

"The more moves you learn, the better dancer you'll become". While this may be true for intermediate/advanced students with a strong foundation, it is absolutely incorrect for beginners and for most who have not had professional dance instruction. The Leaning Tower of Pisa leans because the foundation is defective. No matter how many additional stories are constructed, it will never stand straight until the foundation is repaired. If you want to learn to dance salsa, or to learn anything else for that matter, you must repeatedly work on your foundation. Therefore, it is imperative that you find a salsa teacher whose primary focus is on the development of basic skills as opposed to the weekly acquisition of new dance steps. Finding this will be your most difficult task.

Salsa Is For Everybody

5 Star Latin Dance Music - Salsa, Merengue, Bachata

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    • abrodech profile image

      Anya Brodech 

      5 years ago from 130 Linden St, Oakland, California, 94607

      I've been dancing for the last 8 years and I totally agree with you. Just because someone is a good dancer, does not necessarily mean that they are a good teacher. Teaching someone to dance effectively is only possible if you have a good teacher's mentality and are able to explain yourself in a manner that is understandable and relevant to the student. Furthermore, the teacher should be patient and be able to come up with different ways of getting through to the student.

      The only point that I have some slight disagreement with you is about class size. In my personal experience, the larger the class size, the more people I get to dance with, but at the same time I get less individualized attention and don't get much in the way of an explanation when I'm confused about something and am more likely to get stuck dancing with a series of leads doing the steps incorrectly because a) the teacher didn't have a chance to come by and show them how to do it correctly, and b) I'm confused and can't really help them either for the same reason.

      Overall though, I would agree that dancing with a variety of people is one of the best ways to learn and expand your dancing skill set, but at the same time, you do need someone to explain to you how to do something correctly so you can move forward with your dancing and not be stuck confused.

    • ElGringoSalsero profile imageAUTHOR

      ElGringoSalsero 

      8 years ago from Palm City, Florida

      Wow! I'm new at this and was pleasantly surprised to find that someone had posted a comment on my hub. Then, when I clicked and discovered "bearclawmedia", I was immediately impressed with David's description of himself. Once again, I learned a lesson in humility. Thank you David for your wonderful comment and for the humble and humorous description of yourself.

    • bearclawmedia profile image

      bearclawmedia 

      8 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

      You're awesome, this is an awesome hub. I am your fan. The instruction is very professional as is your writing. Thank you. Bearclaw

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