Getting The Most From A Private Salsa Lesson

Salsa Dancing

Private Salsa Lessons
Photo Credit: Sydney Dance Rhythms – Sydney Australia

After you learn the basic moves of Salsa dancing, you should consider taking a private Salsa lesson. The question is, when in your skill development is the right time to begin private lessons. This article gives more detail on that and is a continuation of our article about the best way to learn Salsa dancing for beginners.

 

Why Should You Take A Private Salsa Lesson?

Before addressing when to “take a private”, let’s first talk about why. Private Salsa lessons will help you in at least three ways.  

1) Learning The Moves

Beginner level group classes will help you learn the basic moves. Once you are at about 80% competent with those moves, then consider a private lesson. A personalized lesson  will give you the one on one attention that you will not get in a group class. Your instructor will give you increased clarity on the fine details of learning the five or six basic moves that are commonly covered in group Salsa dance classes for beginners. Private lessons will also help speed your learning and push you more quickly from beginner to intermediate skill level and beyond. 

  2) Learning The Timing

Once you know which hand and foot goes where for a given move, you must also make sure that you are executing those moves on the correct timing. A one on one lesson will help you to learn the correct timing much more quickly. It doesn’t matter if you are learning On1, On2, Cuban, Rueda, Bachata, Cha Cha Cha, etc., timing is so important. You and your partner may be dancing the same style, but if your timing is off, then it will be more of a wrestling match than a dance.

A private Salsa instructor will help you become more smooth and stylish on the dance floor.

 3) Correcting Bad Habits

Connecting with a private Salsa instructor will also help correct bad habits. Don’t worry, we all develop them. Many times we are not even aware of our bad Salsa habits. Someone who coaches you with a skilled eye can help point out issues with posture, timing, and balance. A Salsa instructor will help you become more smooth and stylish on the dance floor. And who doesn’t want that right?

When Should You Take A Private Salsa Lesson?

You are ready for a private Salsa lesson once you have learned the basic Salsa moves and have at least 10 hours of actual practice at social dancing.

An exception to this is if your personal schedule does not match up with when beginner group classes are offered. You may have your own personal reasons for wanting to take a private lesson before you learn the basics, preparing for your wedding dance, etc. Just keep in mind that your cost per hour of learning will dramatically increase with private lessons for learning the basics. 

Private Salsa Lessons
Photo Credit: Joel Salsa New York

If you want to add private Salsa lessons to your budget, (ranging from $50 and up per hour) then you can usually find a time slot that more easily works for your schedule. Lastly once you’ve learned the beginner moves, a private instructor will help correct things like timing and posture. He or she will also help accelerate your learning and smooth out moves that you already know.

How To Get The Most From Your Private Salsa Lesson

  1. Show up early to the lesson.
  2. Change into dance shoes or non-rubber soled shoes.
  3. Wear comfortable clothing.
  4. Be prepared to demonstrate the moves you know.
  5. Be open to correction and adjustment from your Instructor.
  6. Have a video queued up to any new moves you want to learn.
  7. Prepare a list of questions in advance on issues you are having.
  8. Ask if you can/should bring a dance partner? Will that cost extra?
  9. Ask questions about anything that is not clear.
  10. Ask if you can use your phone to record the moves covered in that lesson.
  11. Save time by pre-paying or have payment ready.
  12. In the days following, practice the things learned in your lesson.

How To Choose An Instructor

Depending on the size of your city, Salsa dance instructors may be few or plentiful. Whatever the case, how will you know if an instructor is going to be a good fit for you? Notice that I said, “a good fit for you”. An instructor who is loved by some may not be a good match for others. A person may have great technical skill but may be too abrasive in how they talk to you. So ask yourself a few questions to determine which instructor may work out well for you.

  1. Schedule availability convenient?
  2. Cost per hour? (cost decreases if you buy a group of lessons rather than one at a time)
  3. Does he look good to you when you see them dance socially?
  4. Does she have other students that recommend her?
  5. How do the other students of this instructor look when they dance?
  6. How long have they been dancing Salsa?
  7. How long have they been teaching Salsa?
  8. Do they teach full-time or part-time?
  9. Do they have a website?
  10. (very important) Does her/his personality appeal to you? Are they super polite and forgiving? Are they a drill seargent?
  11. Do they seem to care more about making a sale or do they show genuine concern for you as a person?
  12. Does she show up on time?
  13. Is he organized? (you don’t want to show up when they forgot to mention they would be out of town, or have them spend 10 minutes setting up the music, etc. every time.)

A person will never reach their full potential as a dancer without coaching from a private dance instructor.

Keep in mind that because a person looks good on the dance floor does not mean that they have the skill set to be a great instructor. Do your research and don’t feel that you must stay with person if they are not a good fit for you. Feel free to politely share with an instructor what would help you to learn better from their coaching. Be sure to respect his or her other students by not being a distraction when you arrive early for your lesson. Also note that they may have other students behind you so be careful to bring things to a close once your time is up.

Lastly, have fun. Technical skill will come with time and consistancy. However, if you are too hard on yourself so that it becomes work and not fun then it will hurt your long term growth. It’s better to learn slowly over time than to overwhelm yourself and get frustrated. 

Talk Back Ear smallTalk Back: What has been your experience with private Salsa lessons? Please shoot us a message and let us know. We just want to learn from each other’s experiences so that we can grow together.  Message us through our contact page.

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