Frequently Answered Questions!
How many students do you have per Class?
Each of our levels has a strict limitation of individuals to guarantee quality, and there are almost always 2 Instructors, and sometimes assistant student volunteer apprentices in our group classes. We strive to avoid having our students take group classes in massive quantities to the point that we won’t even remember your name!
How will long will I take to learn to Salsa? How many lessons do I have to take?
Before we answer these questions, you will have to determine your goal if it is for just for:
Preparing for an upcoming function (i.e. wedding)
Performance and/or competition
As a career (performing and/or teaching).
Whatever your goal, we can accommodate both complete beginners and also higher caliber dancers that want to 'fine tune' their dancing. However, the length of time it takes and the amount of classes one must take to become either a proficient dancer will depend on the individual's capabilities and dedication to both intensive learning and practice. In short, you will get as much as you put into salsa dancing. One thing we can guarantee is that we provide both a positive and enjoyable environment for you to learn to salsa dance. For the more involved dancers, we also offer challenging advanced salsa classes to work on your choreography, technique and styling.
How much should I practice to get better? Do I need a dance partner?
It is always a good idea to have a training partner to practice. Whether you are learning to lead or follow, it is always more fun to have someone to practice with. Setting achievable goals when you practice is an important step. However, it should never stop you from trying your best to practice with or without a steady partner. In fact, most of the fundamental exercises we teach for better movement DO not require a partner. You must first master your own movements before you can even relate it to another! To find a dance partner, there is a simple solution – go social dancing! It comes with the cover! And yes, you take both the positive and sometimes not so positive experience that comes with it—it’s all part of learning! We don’t shelter our students on what’s really out there! Having said that, you obviously want to strive for a better experience, so be consistent with the lessons, practice, make friends in the class or in the dance socials, and keep dancing even if you feel like everything goes wrong in the beginning because wrong will not exist without a right! Of course, just strive to get more right than wrong as you progress for a better social dance experience!
Do I need a partner to register?
No. You are rotated with what is available for your level; sometimes with other students; and sometimes with the available instructors or volunteers which has many benefits because you do not have to worry about what your partner is doing—only what you are doing! Nonetheless, partner work with different individuals does offer some developmental benefits to get as close to a real experience when you go out social dancing. We do have one request when you are working with your rotational partners in class – don’t correct them! If you are uncertain about something, do the best that you can until the instructor can assist you or answer your questions. Correcting a follower when you are a leader and vice versa almost always equals problems, and instructors become referees rather than teachers!
Why should I choose to study with UnitedSalseros?
Modesty aside, other than the fact that our training methodology and philosophy produces awesome, quantifiable results, we have also taught countless social dancers, performers and instructors (many of which are now performing/teaching for other companies or for themselves), all over the world. We encourage you to do further reading in our “About US” and hopefully you come into conclusion that you are in very good hands and made a worthy investment of your time and money, and we appreciate your business and strive for highest standard of teaching. Even our Student Apprentice Volunteers usually spend at least a year of dancing, performing, and taking private lessons before we designate them as such, and the standards we have for teaching is even more demanding as they advance.
What kind of Salsa Style do you teach?
Our style of dance is mainly based on New York/Puerto Rican style of Salsa, blended with local elements and our own innovations We also teach Afro-Cuban based movements (Rumba and Santeria) as part of our Shines regiment (solo non-partner work part of Salsa) to give a dynamic, earthy experience. Our instructors are influenced both in their travels and experiences and are not confined to one style of salsa. We fuse our experiences with our creativity to offer a unique experience for our students. There are some things, however, that we can confidently say if you learn from US. For one, our style (be it On1 or On2 timing) is user-friendly with other styles if you learn proper technique in leading, following and timing. You can use it anywhere in the world and almost every club or dance social in Toronto wherein they are not insulated from outside experiences. Salsa and Bachata has evolved into such a high level that the diversity is immense, but we always include both past and modern aspects of the dance to keep its authentic nature, no matter the style of the dance.
What should I wear in class or in the class or clubs?
We are now in the modern era – wear whatever you want you are comfortable. Just come dressed! Do check with the dress code, however. A good idea is to wear something light and comfortable whenever possible. Also, a shoe with a suede or smooth leather bottom (usually available in stores that sell dancewear as) or a leather shoe bottom will be better as it is adaptable to different kinds of floor surfaces. If possible, however, we recommend comfort first before fashion. Many dancers find jazz sneakers the most comfortable to wear, though not practical if you have are gearing towards dressing more formally. In addition, please do not wear anything that will “whip” your partner while you execute your movements. More importantly, practice good hygiene. We hate having to send emails regarding deodorant use, change of shirt, breath freshening, showering, etc. Having said that, please wear very light cologne or perfume because many people get allergic reactions or get bothered with strong scents or odours! For dance shoes, please speak to your instructors about it since shoe stores come and go all the time, and they can help you make good choices; sometimes even get you a discount.
What are the different styles of Salsa?
Please research them on the internet. That could be entire website to read! A word of warning…although educational and we do recommend you learn about style, history, etc. of the dance you are taking, you may also get confused and get sucked into the politics of “my style is better than your style” especially if you visit forums. As far as we are concerned, the style you learning not only works, but also rocks!
What is the fastest way to learn Salsa? Private, Drop-In, or Registered Classes?
Private classes are the best avenue to learn (and costs higher), but certainly not the only avenue to learn well with UnitedSalseros. Although we recommend that at one point in time you take a private class to fine tune some details, it is entirely possible to learn comprehensively through our group classes even it will obviously take more time. While it can be argued that group classes offers it own unique benefits, most of it can also be achieved through private classes and your instructor can simulate, for example, real life Salsa leading/following scenario. With a UnitedSalseros trained instructor, you will initially be “spoon-fed,” but when the instructor senses your advancement, progressive challenges in technique, choreography, and artistic development will be presented. Both our group (not club drop-in) and private classes are structured to be both comprehensive. However, if you are in a hurry and can’t wait until you start burning the floor, we consider the best avenue to learn to do registered group lessons, private lessons, as well as lessons with other instructors in Toronto and abroad during special events.
Can I take lessons with other instructors?
Of course! We don’t own our students or “hide information” from our students in order to keep their business. The last thing we want to do is insulate you! We are confident in our comprehensive training programs! We do suggest, however, that you first complete our comprehensive foundational technique, in order to fully take advantage of what is taught elsewhere as instructional quality vary from school to school.
How do I become a performer, instructor or student apprentice volunteer?
Please speak to Teddy, or any of your instructors for more information. Do note, however, that all of them require both serious time commitment.
What level should I register for if I have already experience dancing, or have taken other classes in the past?
As we mentioned, different schools have different standards and ones opinion of their current level is highly subjective. You may be more or less experienced, and the only way to truly determine this is to drop in for your trial class and we can determine from there your level of aptitude based on our program standards. Strangely enough, majority of students who tell us that they are at an “advanced” or higher level are actually not at that level (especially fundamentally), and those who say they aren’t actually are! Our program standards evaluate your fundamental footwork, leading/following, body isolation, turning/spinning, and musicality and timing techniques primarily. Knowing a bunch of choreography does not equate to being advanced, although having both will obviously be amazing! It’s like having a good voice (technique) and knowing a lot of songs (choreography). Without the voice, any song (or choreography) you learn will not be enjoyed by your audience (partner) if it is not executed clearly, gently and on time regardless of one’s dancing style. We always recommend you learn less, and learn well. More is NOT better! Therefore, we first communicate with us, and if you are indeed at a higher level, we have absolutely no problem moving you into that level, or advanced fast enough to move to a higher level even if your class package is not done yet.
Why don’t you have a free trial class?
We normally do not because your first class is actually an important class. It serves as your orientation, assessment and regular class. A lot of effort, with extra staffing if needed, is employed to make sure you blend in smoothly. Furthermore, the comprehensiveness of your first class is not of the same standard as to what is out there. Depending on your level, you will receive instruction in technique, choreography, proven movement theories, a training regiment, etc. from the very first class – we don’t filter our classes! It’s almost like a special workshop! In the end, students really have to simply follow the training regiment in order to produce quantifiable results (yes, there will be not so “exciting” exercises, especially once it loses its novelty and you hear them again and again). We will, of course, try our best to adjust to your learning style in order to explain things clearly but not to the point that the program training methodology changes as that will create total chaos with so many “ideas” floating around. We have seen, tried, tested, challenged, etc. what works and does not work – especially long-term. With an open mind and courage to face your weaknesses, you will definitely see quantifiable results with qualitative practice! As for the Drop-In fee of $25 for your first trial class, however, we do waive that fee if you decide to register after the class while in the studio as we consider that a long-term commitment in your part (that produces enjoyable results!).
Will I meet people (i.e., meet the love of my life, improve my “social” life, get married, etc.)?
Yes, we know what’s on your mind, especially for single people out there! You will definitely meet people in class and in the social dance community. For sure, the higher level your skill, the more options you will have to accomplish your goals. In order to retain them, well, that’s your personality (and hygiene!). We can sometimes give people a bit of advice, but we are not counselors or therapists, so it’s best to seek assistance in that area if you need to improve your interpersonal communication and social skills. We recommend you turn to eastern philosophy or any religion you practice for guidelines in life provided they don’t encourage prejudice, intolerance, etc., even if they are different from you in all levels. The salsa community is a mosaic of different races, personalities, age, etc., etc. It is best that you develop good social skills and dancing etiquette in order for people to look forward dancing with you, not avoiding you!
Basic dance etiquette you may want to consider…
Don’t correct or lecture your partner in the class or the dance floor!
Always say yes to beginners, especially if they are taking lessons and trying to improve—remember we were all beginners once! If they are a creep, however, or just @$@$@ in your opinion, then avoid them like a plague, and don’t send them to UnitedSalseros for instruction, please!
Practice good hygiene (always assume that it can be you, not someone else that is creating a havoc in the surrounding air space)
Lead and follow gently the best you can – it’s not a video game!
Don’t or avoid gossip nor criticize other people for their dancing style (especially if you are new…you don’t know yet fully on who knows who or who slept with who?)
If you participate in a birthday dance, come only once and allow other people to take their turn before coming in again. Also, a good idea not to try all your moves in 30 seconds!
If you turn down someone for a dance and used an excuse wherein it will not allow you to dance at that moment, please wait for the song to finish before you accept another dance --- please don't immediately accept another one while the same song is playing -- it's rude, and remember these beginners one day may become Salsa superstars...maybe even your life long partner in the future! If they are really creepy, rude, or anything of that nature, however, then do whatever you need to do to "survoid" (avoid and survive) as diplomatically as possible, and worry less about what people may think of you!
Just be kind and use common sense!
Other Questions You May Have…
Just ask your instructors or this long enough section may never end! We’ll try our best to give you the best answer or information, even advice, regardless if it is good or bad new, or both!