Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know what level of dancer I am?
Are dance shoes necessary & where do I purchase them?
How long will it take me to learn how to dance?
What is the proper clothing to wear to a class?
Are Instructional DVDs good learning tools & is it possible to learn to dance from videos?
What is "Cumbia" and is it different than "Salsa?"
1. How do I know what level of dancer I am?
If you have never taken a formal dance class before, it is always best to go to the level 1 group lesson because each instructor has his/her own style and teaching methods. If the class is too slow or easy, then move up to the next level.
Every instructor has their own interpretation of what determines the level of their classes, but the safest bet is to try out one class of the particular teacher of your choice, and see how you fit into the general level of ability of the students in that class.
If you are wondering which instructional video to purchase then visit "Which Video Should I buy?"
2. Are dance shoes necessary & where do I purchase them?
Just as soccer shoes are not necessary to play soccer, but are very helpful for control and obtaining better performance, the same holds true for dance shoes.
One can go for a while using regular street shoes, but once a dancer wants to reach a certain level of performance, proper dance shoes make a world of difference. They are made to be light weight, flexible, yet supporting enough for balance and control of movement.
Please visit our STORE for more details on casual and dressy dance shoes for all occasions.
3. How long will it take me to learn to dance well?
Everyone's interpretation of what dancing "well" means is just as different as everyone ability to learn a new skill. Because everyone learns at a different rate, it is very hard to answer this question with one blanket statement, however, it is guaranteed that every student will learn the basic step and possible 2 or 3 variations in their first class.
In every lesson, the student will learn more and have more fun.
Remeber that learning the foot pattern is first priority, then the musical timing, then the lead and following skills (arms), then the styling comes last. As a great student, pay attention to the foot patterns before you look at what the arms are doing.
The best way to learn a new skill is to attack it at many different angles- visually (reviewing instructional DVDs), physically (taking group & private lessons), and mentally (reviewing it in your mind and practicing outside of class), and remember persistence & practice makes all the difference between a fast & slow learner.
4. What is the proper clothing to wear to a class?
If the group classes are in a dance studio (as opposed to a night club), casual & comfortable attire is the norm. Jeans, pants, or dresses are acceptable attire. Running shoes are not very practical for learning dance because they tend to be too bulky and sticky. Any street shoe for the gentlemen or flats & heels for the ladies are acceptable.
If the group class is in a night club, it is always best to find out the dress code of the night club because some have very strict rules. The Mayan, for instance, will not allow jeans, corduroys, shirts without a collar, or t-shirts.
5. Are Instructional Videos a good learning tool & is it possible to learn to dance from videos?
Instructional DVDs are great for a variety of reasons:
- they can be used in the privacy of your own home any time, at your convenience
- they are very easy-to-follow and great to learn & review patterns with or without a partner
- there are many steps & variations and you can go at your own pace
- details about hands and counts are easy to visualize and learn
- you can rewind and review them as many times as you want, and any time you want
please see Josie Neglia's DVD Store for more details and video clips.
Please check out what other's have said about learning from Dance Hot Salsa Videos in my customer testimonials page.
If you are unsure about which video to purchase, please read Which Video should I buy?
6. What is "Cumbia" and is it different than "Salsa?"
CUMBIA is a type of music as well as a dance. It is a very popular dance in Colombia and Mexico. The Colombians tend to dance it very close to together with very few turns or elaborate movements. They also have differing rhythms (i.e. quick-quick-quick-quick, or quick-quick-slow) and have different rituals like dancing in front of their partner holding handkerchiefs or candles in one hand while holding their skirt or pants with the other.
In terms of SALSA, each city around the world has developed their own style of dancing but there are basically 2 schools of thought about the "Basic Step". One variation is called "Cumbia" style salsa. The South Americans tend to do this "Cumbia" style salsa which is based on a SIDE-TO-SIDE BASIC STEP (i.e. side step and breaking back with one foot, then side step and breaking back with the other foot).
There is also a "Mambo" style salsa which is based on the FORWARD-AND-BACK BASIC STEP (i.e. breaking forward with the left foot and returning to the center, and breaking back with the right foot and returning to the center). This is the style that is popular in places like Los Angeles and New York. Some islands like Curacao, do the "Mambo" style salsa but break forward with the right foot and back with the left.
It is interesting to see how the World Salsa Congresses (which have met in Puerto Rico every year since 1997), have developed a unity among many countries and styles of salsa. There is a give and take of ideas, philosophies and movements.
Salsa is still a "street" dance with many different views about the way it "should" be danced, but the passion for dancing this great Latin Dance called SALSA, is universal.