I love the Salsa FREAK website, it’s so entertaining & I can really appreciate the “down to earth” answers that you give to almost every question under the sun. However, I have a question for you that you may not have had before and I could appreciate some insight and wisdom from you.
I am a beginning Salsera (been taking lessons since February) and I am ADDICTED. I can totally relate to you when you talk about needing to get your “fix.” I take lessons twice a week and go out regularly to clubs. My problem is my husband.
We began taking lessons together. He is a phenomenal dancer, from Belize (Central America), he’s got the rhythm, Cuban motion, etc., and is very good at solo “styling” moves. The problem with him is that he 1) doesn’t believe in needing to practice (at all), resulting in his 2) getting frustrated when we go out and try to dance together because he 3) feels intimidated by other dancers because he hasn’t practiced and he 4) freezes up.
This man does inventive and fabulous solo styling moves at home, in hallways and among bar tables, and does extremely well when we are in our classes, but freezes up when it comes to our dancing together in a social situation!!! AARGH!
I come from a choreographed dance background: jazz, tap, competitive dance teams, etc., practice regularly on my own and with the other guys in my classes, and know the value of practicing, even a little bit every day. My husband does not come from a dance background at all. I would really love it if my husband would PRACTICE with me because the biggest challenge for me in Salsa is partnering and being lead. Another by-product of his “practice-phobia” is that he gets really frustrated when I don’t respond to what he is attempting to lead me into. Many times he is not giving me the right signals and we end up in the previously mentioned vicious cycle.
What can I do to entice him into practicing with me regularly? Or, more importantly, how can I get him to see that just because a person naturally has the rhythm, they still need to practice in order to be able to really “shine” on the floor? Especially if they’re learning something new! I really want to be able to dance WELL with my husband, because both he and Salsa are HOT!!
Any advice you can give will be GREATLY appreciated!!!!!
A Salsa Wife”
Dear Salsa Wife,
First of all, because you have an extensive dance background, it will be difficult to “tame you” to follow a lead in the first few months. I am constantly getting emails and complaints from men who try to lead newbee former jazz dancers. They are impossible to lead at first! They always want to do their own thing, and end up almost leading themselves! This is part of your husbandâ€™s frustration with you, and why he seems to have a problem leading you at times.
Another thing you must remember is that in the United States, it is more common to partner dance to Salsa music here than in other countries. You said he was from Belize (Central America). In Central America, the people dance to Salsa music, but most of them dance solo. Theyâ€™re terrific solo dancers, but they donâ€™t do a whole lot of partner dancing or coordinating technical moves like they do in Los Angeles or New York for example. There are many men from all over the world who grew up with Salsa, but once they come to an American city, they have to re-learn the steps to be able to dance with the women out here!
Iâ€™ve met countless men who have told me theyâ€™ve never seen Salsa danced like they do here in the United States. We have a Swing or Hustle style here. To adapt, they must take a Salsa class. “A Salsa class?” They think to themselves upon stepping on American soil. “A Salsa CLASS?” Who takes classes to Salsa? As they laugh their way to the club, then get hit like ton of bricks when they see the dance style here. Since most of them grew up with the music, there is no need to take a class, because they “supposedly” already know how to dance Salsa! “Just move your hipsâ€¦ like thisâ€¦”!!
â€¦yea, RIGHT BUDDY. Try “just move your hips like this” when dancing next to the likes of Eddie Torres (NY) or Fancisco Vazquez (LA)â€¦
IT JUST WONâ€™T HAPPEN.
This is why it is so difficult for him to surrender to taking a class, much less PRACTICE for crying out loud. People in Latin and/or Central America just donâ€™t dance Salsa like we do.
Trying to “entice” him to practice with you wonâ€™t work either. Because you are his WIFE, there is nothing that you can say or do to get him to practice with you.
“A man convinced against his Will, is of the same opinion STILL”.
Practicing Salsa dancing to him would be like you PRACTICING blinking. The only thing you can do, is go out, throw him to the “wolves” (females) whom you know dance well, and let him realize he needs to adapt to this country on his own.
I always say,”When in Rome, do as the Romans”.
Remember, a man needs his ego STROKED very well. The wolves (great female dancers) will destroy it. You must STROKE his ego at all times and be his source of refuge when those women tear him apart out there – some may even walk off the dance floor. Women in this country WANT TO BE HELD DURING SALSA DANCING. In this county, it is a “treat” to be taken to Fantasy Land with a man. They will murder him out there with their evil and disgusted eyes.
Treat his ego like a fragile hummingbird that has just landed in the palms of your hands. It will be the WOLVES (other women) who will convince him he needs to practice, not you. Soon, practicing dancing Salsa will become “his idea”. Just flow with it, and agree with him quietly. Never say “I told you so” (heâ€™ll hate you for it). Just lovingly help him along, and be sweet and nice, like the love of his life.
Meantime, keep practicing at becoming an excellent follower with many different men. Go back to your husband on occasion, showing improvements here and there, and things that youâ€™ve learned. He should be able to do the same as well. Both your confidences will build, and you will enjoy each other much more. Remember, he will never be your favorite dance partner, and you will never be his.
You will argue, complain, get frustrated, and whine about each other. This is completely normal between husband and wives. Just realize this and accept this fact NOW. There will always be another better dancer coming along for the both of you on occasion. Sad, but unfortunately the bitter truth. Spouses must realize this, and accept it. There is no room for jealousy here. None. Itâ€™s useless and pointless.
If you want your marriage to last, above and beyond the dance floor, you must always foremost place each other #1 in your lives, respect each other, realize youâ€™re both just trying to do your best, and be each otherâ€™s soulmate, sole lover, and best friend. Dance together, love together, and laugh together. Accept and appreciate him for who he is, AND LOVE HIM “ANYWAY”.
Thank God every day that his passions are yours,
yours are his, which beautifully makes the both of you,
– Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!
Edie The Salsa FREAK!! Website