Can we learn Salsa from online classes? Well, the answer to that question is yes and no. It depends on what you want to get out of the classes in the first place. If it’s to help you get moving and developing your musicality by exposing yourself to Salsa music, then yes absolutely. If you want to become a professional dancer, then it’s definitely a no – you will need a lot of quality feedback from face-to-face instructions to help with your progress. How about to become a social dancer? I would argue that the answer is yes, assuming you will get lots of direct feedback from dancing with many different partners on the social dance floor.
Providing the online classes you are enrolled in are structured, broken down and explained well, and delivered by experienced instructors, we are confident that from them you’d be able to build good enough dance vocabulary to take you to the social dance floor. Having said that, nothing beats in-person instructions though, where you can get immediate feedback and guidance from your instructor, can ask questions, and can socialise with your classmates! Isn’t that what you want from social dancing anyway? I certainly hope so, as otherwise you would be happy with solo dancing instead.
But if you happen to live in a small town with no local salsa course available, for example, or if you feel you need to build up your confidence first before going to an actual dance school, then by all means go enrol yourself to online classes and don’t be put off by the nay-sayers!
Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of your online classes:
Find out what you can about your online dance instructor(s) before enrolling to their classes.
Do your research by looking at their website, social media accounts, promotional videos, and reviews from other students. Different instructors have different ways of explaining things and we must never underestimate the personality factor. Check out their vibes and see if you’re naturally drawn to them. Bonus point if they also offer live stream options, Q&A sessions, or a forum where you can discuss lessons with other students and with the instructor(s). It’s also a good idea to learn from various instructors as they usually have their own style of teaching and different nuances of the dance.
Find a partner to practise with
This will make your life so much easier in learning partner-dancing. Even though you’d be able to learn the steps and techniques on your own, learning them with a partner will put it in context for social dancing. Social dancing relies heavily on good connection with your partner and with the music to make it thoroughly enjoyable, so having a dance partner to practise with would help you build this understanding sooner. Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have a dance partner, there’s still a lot you can learn on your own.
Find a structured course
It is always a good idea to follow a well-structured course, with the basics being the most important part of your overall learning experience – because this will be your foundation. Everything else needs to be built on top of a strong foundation. Find an instructor that teaches the basics very well. Even if they’re not a flashy dancer themselves! Infact, professional artists are so far away from doing the basics, many of them usually have difficulties explaining to beginners students – it’s a common phenomenon known as the curse of knowledge. Make sure you check out the course syllabus before you’re enrolling to a course and see if they cover the basics in detail and progress from beginners to higher levels.
Go out and social dance whenever you can
If you don’t go to actual classes, this is your only chance to practise what you’ve learned! Don’t be shy, most salsa communities are very welcoming. Everyone was a beginner once, so they’d understand if you tell them that you’re new to social dancing. Just like when you learn a new language, the only way you’ll improve significantly is by speaking the language with other learners or native speakers often.
So if you’re in doubt about taking online Salsa classes, hopefully this will spur you on to go ahead and do it. It’s a great hobby to have, it’s fun to learn, and you’ll have a great community to socialise with later on.