I think it goes without saying that many people who are new to the scene often think that the setting is extremely intimidating. This is made even worse by the fact that we now have a nice variety of dance teams, all of whom are considered the advanced dancers in our social environment. These people make up the majority of the instructors, performers and top level social movers and groovers in our scene. If you’re walking into a club for the first time, they can really take you back by their skill and creativity.
As a newbie to salsa and to the dance floor, it takes a little bit of acclimating to make yourself comfortable in this, or any, new environment. Having been there myself, I know EXACTLY how you all feel.
Let me take you back a bit and tell you a story of when I first started dancing. I took classes at a local studio because I saw a group of performers dance on stage at an old Pan-American festival (anyone remember those?). I remember thinking to myself at the time that I could do that very thing one day, even though I had never formally danced ANYTHING in my life. This bold thought led me to look up salsa studios and finally deciding to jump in the pool and start my dancing education.
As you can imagine, a studio environment is much more welcoming and accessible to a new student like myself, so I felt pretty damn good about things when I first started. As a matter of fact, I was thinking that I was pretty damn fly if I do say so myself!
I soon learned that life has/had a funny way of kicking me in my ass as I transferred from the salsa class to the club floor. It very much seems that EVERYONE is advanced when you are new. You see some old schoolers just JAMMING out and the younger bucks dancing 3,000 miles an hour! Every single person in the place look like they knew the deal and I wasn’t one of them. I am quite a bit ashamed to say this, but the truth is, after going out for about 3 months and dancing ONCE, I decided…um…this isn’t for me.
I ended up quitting for about 6-8 months until I saw a girl, there’s always a girl right fellas? Well, the girl is what made me try the scene once again and THIS time, I actually tried! Funny thing was, the more I danced, the more I realized it was all in my head. I believe Elanor Roosevelt said: “No One can make me feel bad without my permission.”
If that doesn’t resonate with all of you, it should. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Not everyone is advanced and not everyone wants to be! I can almost assuredly bet that everyone is there to have fun and that is what matters most! We all start somewhere and everyone of the people you admire now started off on the same boat as you, so please, don’t get discouraged! Come to a class to ease your mind and make you feel confident and then try a social. Socials are a blessing to the scene as they were few and far between back when. Now there is a studio/group event every weekend! This is the natural extension of class which then prepares you to actually hit the club floor.
Make sure you don’t waste time like I did, get moving!
To your dancing,