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DWG’s Good Practice Tips

By Ann Matz and Grace Badillo
Dancing With Grace Productions, Inc.

You know what they say-"practice makes perfect". But, realistically, no one is perfect. Practice is what helps shape you into a good dancer and salsero/salsera that will stand out on the dance floor. Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of your practicing:

  1. Set aside time to practice. Discipline yourself to put aside 4-6 hours a week of practice time. In that time you can perfect what you have learned in class
  2. Use a video to practice. In the comfort of your own home you can learn from the professionals on your own time and practice specific moves over and over again. Make certain not to pick a dips and tricks video unless you have a solid partner to practice with all the time; this is usually only done in performances!
  3. Adopt a regular dance/salsa partner. Practicing alone is just fine, but it is even better when you have a partner to practice the moves with. Ask people in class to practice with you; its not a date, its just practice!
  4. Write down the names of moves or make up a name that you will remember yourself. When so many different moves are being taught or shown to us, sometimes we forget what they are or how they are done. Take notes; jot down a few key words that will help you remember how that move is done.
  5. Get to the night club early and practice. This will help you have some privacy so you can focus on each movement without their being too much noise and lack of space. Getting their early avoids you having to practice on a very packed dance floor, being embarrassed and bumping into people while you are working out your pattern.
  6. Listen to the music in your car, at home, while cooking, while showering, or doing laundry. In order to get comfortable with what you are dancing to you must listen to all types of salsa music (the old and the new). You will find it easier to feel the rhythm when you are familiar with the music and the beats in the song.
  7. Videotape yourself. This is a good way to monitor your progress. You can see where you're weak and strong points are, that way you know what you need to focus your practice on. If you still cant figure out what you are doing, take a private class and bring the tape to show your instructor
  8. Ask for constructive criticism. Have an experienced dance instructor watch you dance and ask for a critique. Who better to get some feedback from, then the pros themselves? Avoid asking good dancers for their advice unless they are incredible communicators; just because they can dance well doesn't mean they know how to explain it well.
  9. Don't be too hard on yourself. If you have troubles nailing a move you can either keep practicing, take a private class to find out what is making this difficulty for you, or just don't do the move! It may not be for you! Pick moves that feel good, lead-able and fun to do. This will improve your style and make you a more skillful dancer. Remember, every salsero/salsera had to start somewhere.
  10. HAVE FUN!!!! That is what salsa is all about. Enjoy your practice time as much as you enjoy dancing out there in the clubs.

Utilizing these practice tips will make your practice perfect. And remember, perfect practice makes for a perfect time!

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