Classes Two of the best places to learn to dance
in Vancouver are the Dancey
Ballroom located downtown at
505 Hamilton St (map)
and D2 Dance Studiolocated in Mount Pleasant at 55 West 8th
Both studios feature dance classes
every day of the week for students of all levels from
absolute beginners to advanced dancers, with some of
Vancouver's best dance instructors.
For more information about current
and upcoming classes visit the Dancey Studios website
in trying an introductory salsa class to
see if you like it?
the Dancey Ballroom and D2 Dance Studio
we offer a variety of options for absolute
beginners to try an introductory lesson
on weeknights or weekends.
To see the list of instructors
teaching at Dancey Studios, click this quicklink
or scroll down to the Dance Instructors
Salsa Classes for Absolute Beginners
new to salsa dancing, these weekly
drop-in classes provide a fun and
easy opportunity to try a one-hour
beginner salsa class for the first
time. These "Absolute Beginner"
lessons are the entry point into salsa
dancing for many people and they cover
the basics and fundamentals of salsa
never tried a dance class before,
this is the place to start. Anyone
is welcome to attend, you don’t
need a partner and you don’t
need any previous dance experience.
help you lose weight, reduce stress,
develop new friendships, become smarter,
happier and much more. What are
you waiting for?
Afternoon Salsa at Robson Square is an annual series
of FREE, outdoor salsa dances held at Robson Square
in downtown Vancouver for six Sundays from July 9 to
Now in its 11th year, the dances are open to everyone
and you are welcome even if you've never danced a day
in your life. Try the free lesson at 3pm, watch the
performances at 5pm, or just check out the social dancing
throughout the afternoon and see how much fun it is!
New this year is the After Party featuring a different
style of music each week (Hustle, West Coast Swing,
Kizomba). The after party starts with a free lesson
at 7pm, followed by dancing until 9.30pm.
Beginner Salsa Bootcamp is a three-hour introductory workshop
for people new to salsa dancing. Held once-a-month, it's
an excellent opportunity to try an introductory salsa
lesson and provides a more intensive and practical learning
experience than a drop-in beginner lesson.
Beginner Salsa Bootcamp is a more intensive and practical
learning experience than a typical drop-in beginner
lesson and provides a good foundation for students interested
in trying weekly dance classes.
Many people who register for weekly classes start off
with this introductory salsa workshop to try salsa dancing
and see if it’s something they enjoy.
Learn to dance salsa in just three hours! Held at D2
Dance Studio, 55 West 8th Ave. MORE INFO
Choosing a Dance Instructor
at Salsa Events One of the best introductions to Vancouver’s
salsa scene is to try one of the beginner intro classes
at salsa events.
Many instructors offer these
intro classes at various salsa events in Vancouver and
it’s a good way to try a salsa class for the first
time, learn a few basic steps, assess the instructor,
see if you like their teaching style and the material
they teach. If you stay after the class for the social
dance it’s also a great opportunity to see what
Vancouver's social dancing scene is like.
See the Your
First Salsa Class section lower down on
this page for more information on events which
include beginner intro classes.
of mouth Word of mouth is always a good indication of
who the popular instructors are. Ask around. If you
have friends who are into salsa, ask them who they recommend.
Or if you venture out to a salsa event, ask people there
about salsa instructors. Keep in mind that many dancers
are biased to the instructors who taught them, so also
ask why they recommend a particular instructor. Try
to get as many opinions as possible and this will help
you to get a good sense of which instructors are popular.
Drop-ins Some instructors may allow people to sit in
on a class and watch before committing to a class. It's
also often possible to do a 'drop-in' in a beginner
level class where you pay for one class to try it out.
Different instructors have different policies. These
are both good ways to see an instructor in action and
the material they teach, and an opportunity to talk
with students and get feedback on the instructor. It’s
important to feel comfortable with the instructor and
the students around you. A social and fun atmosphere
will enhance your learning experience and a fun learning
environment usually means a better learning environment.
in mind More expensive instructors are not necessarily
better. Price does not determine the quality of an instructor.
Class lengths can vary
anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. Take this into account when
you look at the cost.
Class sizes and instructor-to-student
ratios vary. Many people who take dance lessons
for the first time prefer a large class with a lot of
students as it can be a less intimidating experience.
Larger classes often have a more social and fun atmosphere
and offer a greater opportunity to meet a lot of people.
For others, a smaller class may be preferable as these
can allow for more focused and individual instruction
and you’ll probably have the opportunity to dance
with the instructor(s). The more personalized attention
you receive the more likely you are to learn faster.
Male or female instructor,
or a couple teaching? Obviously a female instructor
may have more insight for follows, and a male instructor
may have better insight for leads, but this is not always
the case. A good instructor understands both roles and
should be able to teach both leads and follows equally
well, especially at the beginner level.
The best dancer is not
necessarily the best teacher! There are some
great dancers who are also great teachers, but this
is not always the case. A teacher's skill set is very
different from that of a dancer's. Teaching requires
a fundamental technical understanding of dancing and
human movement, gained though experience and training,
plus the ability to verbally and visually communicate
with students at a level they'll understand and learn.
These traits are not always present in a great dancer,
so don’t assume the best dancer will be the best
instructor. The only way to tell is to take a class,
watch a class and ask students for their opinions.
Instructors who teach many different
dances will more than likely have studied various types
of dance for a long time and can use this experience
and knowledge in their classes. This experience can
definitely improve their teaching ability.
Instructor's Skill As a beginner student it is very hard to evaluate
how good an instructor is at teaching. Remember to evaluate
their teaching skills, not dancing skills. You can learn
a lot about the instructor through observation even
if you are new to dancing.
A dance instructor must have
an excellent understanding of the material he/she is
teaching, including being able to teach both the men’s
and women's steps, and the timing of leading and following.
An experienced instructor will be able to warn you about
common problems students have with each step and how
to prevent them.
The instructor should also be
able to successfully communicate this information to
students. This is probably the most important skill
of a good instructor. Just watching an instructor perform
a specific step over and over is not enough for the
average student, the instructor should be able to break
down the step and verbally explain each segment of the
pattern. They should be able to pinpoint the problems
the students are encountering and help them through
it using explanations, examples and demonstration.
A good instructor should be approachable
and open to answering your questions.
And lastly, a good instructor
should be able to encourage the students and be understanding.
A caring and fun class atmosphere will greatly enhance
the learning experience and will most likely bring the
in mind How well does the instructor
break down the steps? Is it too fast for you? Too slow?
At the end of the class did most
of the students learn what the instructor tried to teach?
Did you? If most of the students look confused or disinterested
at the end of the class, the instructor most likely
did not adapt to the class level, or did not break down
the steps well enough.
Did the instructor cover both
the leader's and follower's parts thoroughly? Were student
questions answered well? Did the instructor even ask
for questions or feedback?
A great way to judge an instructor
is by his or her students. Can the instructor's advanced
students dance well? Can they dance with students from
a different instructor or different dance school?
In addition to these observations, any professional
instructor should be glad to answer questions you may
have about their dance experience and the length of
time they have been teaching.
Ask them to explain the style
they teach and if it is the same style that is most
often danced at salsa events.
There are different types of classes and different levels.
The material in higher level classes is usually not
broken down as much as beginner classes. So make sure
you’re in the right class by doing a placement
evaluation with the instructor
Try a few different instructors.
You will notice different teaching styles. One is not
necessarily better than another, but you may have a
favourite from whom you learn the most. The most important
questions to ask yourself after the class are: Were
you happy with the lesson? Did you learn something new?
Did you enjoy the lesson? If the answers are yes, then
you’ve succeeded in finding a good instructor
Classes Many instructors also offer private classes.
These are more expensive than group lessons but private
instruction is one of the best ways to learn if you
can afford it. Personal attention will let you know
where your mistakes are and how to fix them. Your instructor
will be able to pinpoint problems and focus specifically
on the areas you need to improve on.
I need a dance partner to learn?
You definitely do not need a partner to learn how to
dance salsa. Nearly all beginner classes accommodate
students with no partners. In case you do have a partner,
please remember that there are some advantages and disadvantages
to dancing with the same person consistently.
The advantages of having a partner
is that you have someone to practice with on a regular
basis, which is great because a lot of practice is very
However, practicing with only
one partner should be avoided, since your lead/follow
will adjust to the partner's mistakes or you will learn
to automatically anticipate their moves from sheer habit.
So as soon as you start dancing with someone else you
may encounter problems.
While developing leading and
following skills, it is best to dance with a lot of
different partners so you don’t rely on your partner
to know your moves and compensate for your mistakes.
information in this article is an edited version of
an excellent article that was originally posted on a
Toronto salsa web site: TOsalsa.com