Thinking about joining a Salsa Dance Troupe?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Recently we’ve seen a growth in local salsa dance competition groups here in San Diego. Many people decide to go the route of joining a competitive group for a number of reasons.

Some salsa dancers do so out of pleasure while others for promotion of their particular style of dance. Others also do it for the financial gains that are possible through exposure at different competitions. Although I myself have never been a part of a salsa dance troupe (For me its all about the social dancing), I know that locally here in San Diego there are many different types of studios and approaches available for someone interested in joining such a salsa group.

Here are some tips and issues to consider if you decide to pursue life as a salsa dance troupe member:

1) What’s your Reason for Joining?

I think it is smart to ask this before you pursue joining a salsa dance troupe. Of course there is the possibility of extreme enjoyment taken from the show aspect of competitions. Talking with different dance troupe members through the years and seeing them in action, it is easy to see that there is some attraction to being viewed by others as the “top salsa dancers.” Some people though have pointed out that joining a salsa dance troupe affords the incredible opportunity to improve your repertoire of dancing moves. This makes sense when you take into consideration that you will be exposed to other great dancers and taught a routine that really showcases some great moves that you otherwise would not learn.

2) Do you have a salsa dance partner?

Most people end up joining existing dance troupes and are basically placed or assigned to work with a particular partner.

If you already have a set partner though it is important that you both have the same purpose and understanding of the work involved. Taking on a competition seriously requires hours of preparation and practice. It is frustrating to one partner if the other is not as committed.

If you don’t yet have a partner and need to find someone, try to find a dancer who complements your level and style. I think the ideal situation is to find someone who is relatively at your same level of dance and that will be able to grow with you in your dancing abilities.

3) Choreography:

I know many groups focus on a theme for their dances, with some taking movie themes or other familiar motifs to brand their dancing. What I think is more important, though, is the actual movements and how the team works together as a unit. I think the purpose of the dance troupe is to showcase the hard work and practice involved to create a cohesive show that the public can enjoy. This can only be accomplished by devising a dance choreography that matches the music chosen and clearly reveals the great synchronization of the movements. Whatever you do, just make sure you are using your own unique choreography and not simply copying another groups approach.

I’ll write some more on the topic in the future. In the meantime, if any readers have any comments or things they want to share on the topic please post them here. It would be especially helpful to hear directly from anybody that is a member of a salsa dance troupe here locally in San Diego.

John F. Bello

Meet John ;-)

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