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“Dear Edie,
I read your story and found it most interesting because I am in a situation somewhat similar to yours. My partner and I have been dancing Salsa for a little over a year, we have horrible fights. We have participated in local competitions and have won, but I think this is because our audience is mostly anglo. I would like to improve my Salsa dancing but I can’t find qualified salsa teachers or professionals in my area, and my partner can’t hear the music, I am his ears!. I need a good partner but they are hard to find. I love dancing so much that I feel confident that if I had a good partner, I would choreograph my own dancing and come up with my own moves. I feel the music inside of me. Any suggestions besides just “keep dancing”? ”
– Tolerating my off-beater
Dear Tolerating,
The following is going to sound cruel. Those of you who:

  • Have never gone through this
  • Are under age
  • Immature
  • Compassionate
  • Have weak hearts

YOU may not want to hear this. In fact, if you are in any of the above categories, you have exactly five seconds to stop reading this right now, go to the next question, surf to another page, or turn off your computer.

I don’t want to get ANY NASTY-GRAMS about this subject
from ANYONE.

COUNTING: “5, 4, 3, 2, 1…”

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… OK..did all the weak-at-heart, compassionate, immature young adults leave yet?


Sister, you are hanging on to a clouded, fogged-up dream.
If he hasn’t gotten the rhythm by now, there is a 99.999999% probability he will NEVER get it.

My advice is to get emotionally uninvolved, and dump him.
I’m telling you this based on my own experience and also because you say you have “horrible fights”. So did we. Looking back at what I went through, how I dealt with it, the pain and agony I suffered over this man, how sick I got, and how much control he had over me, it’s JUST NOT WORTH IT. Come on! What happened to the fun? This is supposed to be “fun” remember? Who cares if you’ve won competitions. Consider them beautiful memories now’ what more do you want? It’s time to move on to the next stage of your life. It’s over. Now it’s time to find yourself and GROW. Stay friends with him, continue dancing socially, but stop practicing and competing with him. You’re going to ruin your growth as a dancer.

Have you ever heard the saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.” You don’t see any other good potentials out there (instructors nor partners) because you’ve been so focused on your current off-beater. They have a way of taking up incredible mind space because they have become your “project”. You find yourselves picking faster songs because you don’t want the audience to notice he’s off. You have to choreograph your routines so precisely as to hit each peak of the music perfectly, because he can’t stay on beat and just “land” there naturally. You spend four times as long coming up with a routine to fit the music – rather than just working on moves to go between your free-style dancing. You come up with these incredible moves so as to hide the fact you can’t dance on the beat. In fact, he is more fascinated with new moves than working on his rhythm. You get annoyed at the fact that he could really care less about the rhythm, and when you back-lead him into it at a club, he gets pissed off and leaves you standing there alone in the middle of the dance floor. You can’t wait to dance with people other than HIM at a nightclub just to get the taste of good rhythm back in your mouth again’ and when he shows up, in the back of your mind, just HOPE he doesn’t ask you to dance…

I KNOW!!! I KNOW!!! What a nightmare! I lived it! I lived an absolute Salsa nightmare!
Suggestion? After you dump him, keep your eyes open and go find three or four other partners you truly enjoy dancing with. Compete and do shows with each one. Don’t be so regimented with each that you can’t be flexible. If you stick with your off-beater, your dancing will suffer and your creativity will stagnate. Besides, if you’re as good as you say you are, you should know by now that it’s the woman that most people watch on the floor 80% of the time anyway. You should be able to make ANY guy look great, even a beginner.

I had to finally leave my former partner after over a year of competing, fighting, and performing in shows together. The wonderful thing is that I now have 2-3 real good partners that I compete and do shows with, and they all know each other! I do different tricks with each one of them, and we all have a blast together! Come competition time, I’ll choose whoever I get along the best with. If none of them want to compete, then there are many other irons in the fire. I want to make sure I continue having a blast at my “hobby” of Salsa dancing, and not make it stressful, or intolerable. I’m sorry, but life is too short to suffer through horrible fights with an off-beater. What a nightmare. Get rid of him. Dump him. Move on. Take a chance. You WON’T regret it. Trust me.

Happy Dancing!
– Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!