Latin dance clubs are increasingly popular in Australia and although they are often advertised just as ‘salsa dancing’ they might play music from all sources. Once you have grasped the foundations there can be a lot of freedom in this style; Arthur Murray will arm you with basic moves for all rhythms so that you can dance the night away.
Here are seven tips to make your first visit to a Latin club go smoothly.
1. Dress the part
The most important thing is to make sure you are comfortable and able to move freely, so choose something stretchy. You’ll get hot with all that swivelling, so wear something light and short-sleeved. Don’t wear trainers: you’ll stick to the floor! Ladies should opt for court shoes with straps, while men should invest in a pair of leather dress shoes.
2. Hear the beat
Salsa clubs also tend to play Cha Cha, Mambo, Samba, Rumba and Bachatta tempos, so it’s important to hear the beat before you move your feet. Your Arthur Murray teacher will ensure that you can tell the difference and have a wide variety of Latin moves up your sleeve for all dances.
3.Get the attitude
Prospective partners are attracted to someone who conveys a positive vibe. No matter how scared you might feel, try to exude confidence and you’ll find that people believe you. Once on the dance floor, make sure you maintain eye contact rather than looking at your feet, and keep up that attitude.
4. Watch your space
Latin dancing is a fast-growing trend, so you can expect the dance floor to be packed with sweaty bodies. Both dancers will need to minimise their styling and stick to shimmies and body rolls, rather than big arms and long leg sweeps. Men need to ensure that they only lead their ladies into steps which are within arm’s reach. It’s probably best to stick to a single spin or turn, rather than multiples, and ladies must practice ‘spotting’ their partner (keeping him within sight at all points of the spin).
5. Sway your hips
As you will be pushed for space anyway, focus on the hip and body movements at the heart of Latin dancing. Don’t worry so much about the fancy footwork and let your body just flow with the music to really enjoy the experience. Practice body isolation work in front of a mirror; roll one shoulder and then the other, sway your hips side-to-side then in a figure of eight, and shimmy your rib cage.
6. Do the walk
Latin moves are based on an unusual way of walking – bent leg and ball of the foot first – which creates that hot hip action. You don’t have to artificially wiggle your hips, just practice this movement and it will naturally drive your hips out diagonally.
7. Have fun!
Salsa is a great social dance, an all-over workout and can’t fail to put a smile on your face.
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