No More Blackout: Remember All Salsa-Moves You Learned in Class

When I started dancing, I constantly forgot what I had just learned in class. It’s annoying, but fortunately one gets better at remembering moves over time. Until then, here are some quick tips:

  1. Break It Down: When learning a new figure, dissect it into smaller segments. Focus on each segment individually before piecing them together. This way, your mind processes manageable chunks rather than getting overwhelmed by the entire sequence.
  2. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat: The more you practice a move, the more ingrained it becomes in your muscle memory. Whenever you learn a new figure, practice it immediately after class and as frequently as possible.
  3. Visualize the Moves: Close your eyes and visualize yourself executing the figure perfectly from start to finish. This mental rehearsal helps solidify the sequence in your memory.
  4. Use Mnemonics: Create a catchy phrase or story that aligns with the figure’s steps. For instance, for a “cross body lead with a turn,” you might think, “Step, slide, twirl, glide.”
  5. Teach Someone Else: As the saying goes, “To teach is to learn twice.” By explaining and demonstrating a figure to a friend or fellow student, you reinforce your own understanding and retention.
  6. Record Yourself: Use your phone or a camera to record yourself executing the figures. This not only gives you a chance to critique your form but also serves as a visual reference for the sequence.
  7. Practice with Music: Dancing to music helps cement the rhythm and timing of each figure. Initially, choose slower salsa tracks, which give you more time to think and execute. As you become more proficient, challenge yourself with faster songs.
  8. Join Social Dance Events: Social dancing is an excellent opportunity to practice figures in real-time and with different partners. The variety and unpredictability keep you alert and reinforce memory.
  9. Stay Consistent: Regularly attending classes and practicing in between sessions is key. Consistency ensures that the moves remain fresh in your mind and muscle memory.
  10. Take Notes: After each class, jot down the key points and sequences you learned. This act reinforces your memory, and you can always refer back to your notes when you’re feeling unsure.
  11. Stay Relaxed: Stress and anxiety can hinder memory. Remember, making mistakes is a part of the learning process. Instead of getting flustered, take a deep breath, and try again. With time and practice, the figures will become second nature.