Tempted by salsa instructional videos? Read this first!

Tell me if this sounds familiar: after a few months of taking dance classes, you got bitten by the salsa bug and suddenly, taking classes and going out social dancing isn’t enough. You start looking for new moves and turn to YouTube or, if you’re a little more old-fashioned, the DVD selection at your local library.

How to videos have boomed in popularity in all areas, and dance is no exception. From instructional DVDs by world-renowned dancers, to fun YouTube videos by eager salseros, there’s always something new to look at. But the quality of the instruction varies and, especially with more advanced moves, a lot of knowledge of proper technique is assumed, so learning from videos alone can be a hit-and-miss process.

If you would like to use instructional videos to expand your move set, here are a few tips to make sure you make the most out of them, as well as keep yourself and your partner injury-free:

  1. Pick your videos carefully
    With the wealth of information out there, you can afford to be picky when it comes to dance videos! Make sure you pick videos that give good instruction (repeat the move from different angles, count the beats, break down the moves, give technique and styling tips for both leads and follows), and which are suited to your level and style. A few of the ones we like (we are not affiliated with any of these):
    Online: Addicted2salsa
    DVDs: Salsamania, Super Mario, The Million Moves Man, Bravo Style with Alfonso Caldera
  2. Learn with a good partner
    It takes an experienced dancer to figure out how a lead should work and feel, without a partner. If you’re at the beginner or intermediate level and looking to learn more partnerwork patterns, we strongly recommend you have a good and patient partner to practice with you. Make sure to pick moves you’re both comfortable with, and give each other feedback about what works and what doesn’t.
  3. Get a teacher to troubleshoot anything that doesn’t seem to work
    We often have our intermediate students come to us with YouTube videos of moves they’re having trouble with, and ask us for help. We LOVE it because we love seeing our students explore different avenues for improvement, and because we appreciate the trust you put in us to guide your dancing (also, sometimes you help us discover new moves or combinations, which is an awesome bonus. We love learning from our students!). So if a move doesn’t seem to work properly, find a teacher and book a private class, or ask if the move can be incorporated in your regular group classes!

What do YOU think of instructional videos? Have you tried learning from them? Do you have any favourites that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!


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