What do I need to bring to class?
It is best to come to class prepared to move around!
For Salsa: clothes that are comfortable and not too restrictive, and shoes that are “not to slippy and not too grippy” are best. Shoes made specifically for dance are the best option, but not necessary.
For Ladies Latin Dance Workout, Lady Styling/Body Movement and Samba classes: workout clothes, and bare feet or dance/athletic shoes that have not been worn outdoors (to protect the dance floor of the Interplay Studio).
We can recommend resources for buying dance shoes if you are interested. It is strongly recommended to bring a bottle of water for yourself.
I have two left feet! Can I still do the class?
Yes! Most people who take the class have never danced Salsa or Samba before, and many have no dance experience at all. We break the steps down so that anyone can join, and we review the basics each class. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not about perfection, but getting moving, enjoying the music and having fun!
Do I have to be in shape to take the class?
Salsa and Samba classes are designed to accommodate all levels of fitness. We teach the basic curriculum and offer adaptations for those looking to increase the intensity.
What if I have to miss a class?
Salsa Dance Durango classes are structured in 4 week sessions--no drop ins for the time being. No refunds will be given for missed classes, inclement weather, or minor illness. Extenuating circumstances will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Summer 2020: What are the current COVID-19 protocols for dance classes? Will there be time to practice and socialize after Salsa Classes?
November 2020 update: due to the current number of increasing cases in La Plata county, all in-person classes will be suspended until further notice. Stay safe and healthy!
(Summer 2020) COVID-19 guidelines stipulate that we will only have participants in classes during the scheduled time, not before or after. Before, in between and after classes, we will clean and disinfect all surfaces.
Classes are currently limited to 10 participants indoors including the instructor, maintaining social distance of 6 feet. For the time being, our Tuesday Salsa Social Dance Night is on hold until further notice.
All employees will wear masks, and participants are encouraged to wear them too. We do not have to wear masks while recreating/dancing, but it is encouraged to put them back on otherwise. That said, it is up to your discretion to wear one or not. Hand sanitizer will be provided at both locations. Surfaces will be disinfected before, in-between and after each class.
What exactly is Black Belt Salsa?
Black Belt Salsa is a curriculum of teaching partnered Latin Dance in a method similar to martial arts. A strong foundation is taught from the very beginning, to ensure that the proper techniques are learned by each student. As well, several fun variations are provided from the very beginning, so that each student has a large repertoire of moves!
The curriculum is highly organized and builds upon itself. Rather than learning random moves each week, each level (or belt color, as in martial arts) is based on mastering foundations and objectives before moving on to the next level. The system is ingenious in that once the foundations are set, the possibilities and combinations of moves are endless!
Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the Black Belt Salsa curriculum overview and belt levels. While we at Salsa Dance Durango are no longer naming our classes by belt colors or giving out belts, each level still corresponds strongly to the BBS curriculum progression. Click here to find out more from blackbeltsalsa.com, written by creator Edie “the Salsa Freak” Williams.
What Are The Different Salsa Class Levels Taught By Salsa Dance Durango?
We focus on the Salsa Style and Rhythm of On-2. Participants must complete one class level before moving onto the next one. If participants would like to repeat a level to solidify skills and comfort level, they may do so for FREE!
Participants who have experience with dancing Salsa On-1 but not On-2: it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to start with Level 1 (trust us!!)
Scroll to the next section for a description of the difference between Salsa On-2 and On-1 :-)
Level 1: Frame, Connection, How to execute moves “Down-The-Body”, the Basic Steps of Merengue, Bachata, and Salsa On2, Open/Closed Position, Introduction to Left Break Turns
Level 2: Cross Body Lead Step, Left Progressive (traveling) turns
Level 3: Right Turns
Level 4: Right Progressive (traveling) turns
Level 5: Creating combinations of moves, introduction to "slants", "stop breaks" and "T-stances".
Level 6: Open Breaks, conversion from On2 to On1
Level 7: Reverse Progressions Checks, Stops, & Rotations
DEFINITION OF SALSA “ON 1” VS. SALSA “ON 2”
“On1 Salsa timing is commonly known as L.A. style, which has often focused on sharp hits in the music and flashy moves.
On2 Salsa timing is commonly known as New York style. It is known for its more suave feel and turn patterns/combinations.
Put simply, On 1 feels faster and more staccato, whereas On 2 feels more laid back and smooth.” (Credit: The Dance Dojo)
Salsa On 2 is currently the most common form of social Salsa dancing around the world. People who learn Salsa On 2 first have a much easier transition to learning Salsa On 1, which is why we teach it first. Good news for already On 1 dancers is that it is not difficult to transition to On 2 with the right instruction, and the versatility of knowing both makes for an amazing dancer!!
What are "Salsa Shines"?
This refers to solo footwork. Often, instructors will lead a class with Shines as part of the warm up. On both the social dance floor and on stage, Shines can be danced as a group (similar to line dancing), or between partners if the lead separates from the follow during a dance so both of them can "Shine", before collecting the follow back into dancing together. Our classes will currently focus on Shines/Solo Footwork with respect to Social Distancing guidelines.
Here's a terrific description of the benefits of Shines from YourDanceStudio.Com:
The Timing: ...dancing is about connection. Whether we’re talking about partner connection or musical connection, it’s always important to connect to the rhythm and pace of the music. This is a core part of dancing. Now, learning to match your footwork, whether you are doing shines or dance steps, to the beat of the music is a fundamental skill that you typically learn before you attempt dancing with another person. Practicing Salsa shines will help you drill solid timing and develop the skill of connecting with the beat of the music as you move your body to enhance your body motion to a desire outcome. Learn to do some Salsa shines and applying to the timing of the song and a well coordinated execution of them and you are on your way to smooth dancing.
Your Balance: ...when doing “partner work,” many new dancers, and even some experienced dancers, depend on their partners for balance....By practicing shines...., you will enormously improve your dancing, in general.
Agility and Speed: Dancing is such a beautiful interaction between two people, and if they are great dancers, it is more likely they will make it look easy. But until you try it yourself, you don’t realize that it takes a heck of a lot of balance, centering, clear intention and the skill to change directions quickly, when needed....In reality, HOW do your steps becomes more important? How you transfer your weight? How do you coordinate your body with your step?...Whether you are doing Salsa shines for ladies or men, or you are learning more Salsa shines On 1 or On 2, practice a footwork combo that incorporates quick directional changes. You’ll see how quickly you become an agility champ! Shines will give you the edge you are looking for time and time again. On the flip side, it’s also challenging to take slow and controlled steps. Learning to adapt to the different speeds and moods of music takes focused practice. Keep focused on footwork that helps challenge your ability to move at different speeds in ways that are controlled and on time.
Your Own Style: Some of the most musical dancers in Salsa, Bachata, and Cha Cha are not only comfortable doing shines, but they are also liberated by it. Salsa music has such a variety of sounds, instrumentation, moods, and flavor. Experimenting with shines on your own can give you the opportunity to explore the nuances of each song without the added challenge of leading or following. Sounds like the trombones, the trumpets, the baseline, the percussion, the piano, the vocals, the breaks, etc. will give you an arsenal of opportunity to play with, but understand it takes time to master moving to those musical elements. Pick a few shines and create your own Salsa shine routine to go along with the melody. So, work on YOU, and you’ll have much more to give to your partners once you are comfortable and allow it to develop your style of dancing...Style is part of musicality and every experienced Salsa dancer has developed his or her own flow that they express both within “partner work” and when they seize opportunities to do it on their own.
Be Confident: One of the greatest benefits of learning to do Salsa shines is overcoming your fear of “partner work” and dancing on your own! Dancing is, and always will be, a mental challenge, and a physical one, too. Gaining confidence to dance on your own is like taking the training wheels off your bike, so to speak. Once their off, the world is yours for the taking, socially speaking! Put that all together and you’ve just stepped up your dance game both technically and artistically.