Do you remember when you were little…
that day they told you that Santa Claus doesn’t actually exist?
What you’re about to learn will perhaps be just as surprising.
But let’s take inventory first.
If you’re like most Europeans, you probably believe that Cubans are different.
“They are naturally great dancers.”
“It’s kinda like they are born with it.”
When you see a Cuban person ROCK the dance-floor, doesn’t a part of you just shrug it off?
“Well, they’re just Cuban, so obviously…” — Wait a minute!
It’s not all that OBVIOUS.
Cubans aren’t born great dancers. They are made.
Imagine you want to turn a child into a dancer. What would be the perfect environment for that?
– Let’s put it some place with a lot of music!
– You then arrange for lots of dancing people around. Our little test-subject will constantly see movement and has the possibility to model the behavior.
– But hey, let’s make sure the music and dance are super important to the people. Now, every time the child performs a movement, it will get maximum encouragement.
– To guarantee experimental success, we want to have surroundings that offer almost NO other opportunities! Dancing now is one of the limited means of personal growth and self-expression.
This is Cuba (simplified for this argument).
So the only difference between you and a Cuban dancer is that you have not had the same EXPOSURE to dance.
Compared to most Cubans, you have not spend 10.000 hours of your lifetime listening to salsa music, and watching other people dance. Your parents haven’t encouraged you to move in the same way. And you had lots of opportunity to pursue in life.
Here are the good news: YOU can catch up!
(Isn’t that a relief?)
Here are the bad news: you will have to put in the hours.
If you ever want to come close to a Cuban salsa dancer, you need to put in the time and practice.
But you can get there. And that’s my point with this email.
I want to break the glass-wall that keeps European dancers trapped. The harmful idea that Cubans “just happen to dance better.”
(And for a Cuban dance teacher, there is little benefit in telling you otherwise.)
If you create the learning-environment that produces a great dancer, you can improve really fast.
And you DO have a secret weapon at your disposal. It’s money.
Most Cubans learn from other Cubans on the street.
YOU are fortunate enough to be able to take dance classes, go to salsa congresses, and even watch the best dancers in the world on video (the Wifi in Cuba doesn’t really allow for that either).
Start seeing dancing as what it really is: a skill like any other. Skills can be improved through putting in time and learning from great teachers.