Our dancers actively focus on becoming better dancers and teachers. All our assistant instructors are taught time-tested and sophisticated training theories which give them choices as they become well-rounded dancers and/or instructors. We continually research and update new strategies to become better teachers as part of our program commitment and one of US’ core philosophies. Some of our unique training methods are rarely taught elsewhere. In fact, this is why many Salsa enthusiasts both near and far have taken lessons and workshops with US. These strategies for learning, training and teaching now serve as a model for many instructors locally and internationally. US is equally strong in the social dance arena. We have successfully integrated into our dancing the best qualities of various styles of Salsa. W e can teach in the finest detail (taking into consideration various learning styles) how to execute all your movements with grace and control. Furthermore, we also create our own intricate turn pattern sequences to have a creative edge. However, it is our instructional strategies that make us distinct and pi oneers in the Toronto Salsa community. Our success is founded on the teaching principles that are centered around the student. US proceeds with the understanding that Instructors may have good artistic, musical, and technical knowledge but may not be necessarily good teachers. Teaching is a wide field in itself and demands equal, if not more, attention than performing; it requires going beyond the ability to break down steps clearly. An excellent teacher, by our definition, has to be an excellent communicator, coach, counselor, and administrator to mention a few. It is also crucial that teachers possess good interpersonal skills and have performing experience in case they have to judge or coach at a competition.
Teaching and performing are wide fields, and this is why it is rare to find a “two for one” performer & teacher. Thus, we have set up a comprehensive training program to our students, as well as other instructors, throughout the course of their learning:
1. Leading/Following clearly without tension, stiffness, heaviness or too much softness (regardless of your weight or height) through proper centering and active relaxation.
2. Soft focusing, centering, and active relaxation to develop lightning fast reflexes for all your movements; energy work - the ability to pace one’s leading, following, and isolating the body slowly, regularly or rapidly with absolute control and precision.
3. Mastering single or multiple traveling spins/turns through an incredibly effective step-by-step method; executing dips safely that will not send you to the chiropractor the next day!
4. Dancing on 1, 2, or 3 and introduction to musical structure of Salsa and sounds generated by the instruments commonly found in its musical orchestra; exercises in musicality and how that relates to movement; developing a natural form of expression using one’s own personality; playing with different emotional states (acting) for social dancing, performance, or competition
5. Integrating various traditional and modern dance genres to Salsa (including advanced movement disciplines from Modern Dance and the internal martial arts); dancing, exploring and fusing different styles of Salsa (New York, L.A., Cuban-Miami, Afro-Cuban, Colombian, etc.); creativity exercises for choreographing your own turn patterns and shines. US also provides exceptional instructional training systems. The US instructional system is set-up wherein students can decide their own learning pace (meaning if we tell you to relax, for example, you will be clearly instructed how to accomplish that mind and body). Our strength comes from our diversity. We are able to share our skills with one another and help in each other’s development. Some of our instructors have dance backgrounds in ballet, modern dance, break-dancing, hip-hop, ballroom, Afro-Cuban, etc.), as well as martial arts and other forms of movement disciplines. This wealth of knowledge and dance experience enables us to draw from one another and add richness to our dancing.