As we become better dancers, we start to pick up on little mistakes that our partners might make on the dance floor – an odd lead, awkward footwork, or dancing off-beat.
If you feel inclined to help dancers develop, go to your favourite salsa school and offer to help out in beginner classes (some schools have volunteer programs and rewards!), offer to teach a class or workshop, or offer to write an article for their blog addressing the issue. But there’s also one way not to do it:
Please refrain from coaching or giving unsolicited feedback on the dance floor!
There is an important distinction between being in class, and being out dancing. Class time is all about learning and getting constructive feedback so we can improve. Social dancing is a time to unwind, be social, and dance for fun. Unless you are very good friends with your social dance partner, or he/she is doing a move that could hurt someone, please don’t give feedback unless you are asked.
Even worse than unsolicited feedback is trying to teach a stranger a new move in the middle of a dance. Gentlemen: if a lady is not following a move and looks confused, do something else. Ladies, no back-leading. Teaching new moves on the dance floor is rude and dangerous.
Teachers, this applies to you too!
We love dancing with our students when we see them at salsa socials, and we also observe the “no unsolicited advice” rule. We do sometimes get pulled aside and asked to review or practice a move, and that’s fine. When this happens, we go off the dance floor (we have “designated practice spots” at most regular venues) – it gives us more room, privacy, and lets us talk without shouting.