Frequently Asked Questions

 

-What dance should I choose to learn?

Why Salsa?

Salsa is extremely popular, both here in Vancouver and abroad. That means there are tons of people to meet and dance with once you begin taking classes. It also means that there is plenty of opportunity to go out and use this skill. Salsa parties run pretty much every night of the week in any major city, Vancouver included. If you travel for work or pleasure, guaranteed any major city you're in will have a Salsa community as well as an ample amount of dance events to attend during your travels.

The Salsa community is also very welcoming to new-comers. Due to the nature of partner dancing it is required that men and women behave as "ladies and gentlemen." The community as a whole is very respectful. This allows couples to go out and dance with dozens of other people (if they choose) and not need to worry about the well-being of their significant other. Very rare in most other club environments.

As far as hobbies go it is very inexpensive. Group lessons generally run for a little over $10 an hour. To go out social dancing, cover will cost you anywhere from $7 to $15 depending on which night of the week you go out. Admission to Salsa clubs includes of course dancing but often times live bands, shows, dance competitions, social networking and and of course low-impact exercise. Salsa clubs generally open at 8:30pm and close in the neighborhood of 1:30am. That is potentially 5 hours of entertainment, exercise and socializing. To look at it as an hourly dollar figure, that works out to anywhere from $1.40/hr when paying $7 cover, to $3/hr when paying $15 cover. Compared to many other hobbies and activities such as weekly movies, sporting events, drinks or restaurants, Salsa dancing is definitely a very cost effective past-time.

By taking Salsa classes not only do you learn specific techniques to be able to dance with countless people in the Salsa clubs here in Vancouver and abroad, but these techniques translate to many other forms of partner dance if you choose to branch out. In knowing how to partner dance you will also gain a life-long skill that was all but considered a "lost art" on recent generations until very few years ago.

Not only is partner dancing no longer considered a lost art, Salsa has proven itself a musical genre and dance that is here to stay. Proven itself as more than a fad, what you learn today will be an applicable form of entertainment, exercise, potential career, hobby and joy for many years to come.

Any guesses as to which dance form has been the most popular over the past fifty years? 

Give up?

The answer is Cha-Cha-Cha. Ever since the advent of radio and the ability to record music, Latin music has had a predominant place on the world music stage. The rhythms of Salsa, Cha-Cha, Mambo, Bachata, Merengue and many others are hugely infectious. So much so that there is a common self-diagnosis that excited newcomers to Salsa give to their insatiable need for everything Salsa, whether it be nightly trips to the Salsa Clubs, lessons, finding shoes and clothing that cater to dancing, Salsa road-trips, you name it. They excitedly call themselves "Salsa Addicts!" Thankfully it is the world's healthiest addiction.

Age, body-type, ethnic backgrounds and gender are all non-issues in the Salsa world. If you frequent the Salsa Clubs and would like to be able to participate in this great past time the only requirement is that you have a willingness to learn a few basic steps.

There are countless more reasons as to why you should choose to learn to dance Salsa. The only draw back upon embarking on dancing Salsa is that you will discover what you've been missing in your life up until now.

Enjoy!

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-Do I need to bring my own dance partner to class?

No, partners are NEVER required for Dance Vancouver group classes. In fact most people register alone. That means we provide partners for you. During class partners are rotated every couple of minutes

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-I hear that students rotate dance partners in your classes. Can my partner and I dance the entire time with one another?

Yes, you most certainly can dance solely with your own partner. Although we do encourage students to rotate dance partners, you will not be given any grief or be any less included in the class by not doing so.

The reason why we encourage students to rotate partners is that by dancing with a variety of partners students generally gain two primary benefits over those who do not.

First, these students tend to develop stronger leading and following skills, and at a much quicker rate. Unable to rely on a set partners particular cues, students who dance with a variety of partners quickly realize the need for solid technique and out of necessity gain the ability to execute these universal leading and following techniques.

Second, rotating with various partners creates a more social and fun class environment. Dancing with people other than your significant other can seem scary, but once new-comers see that classes are friendly, fun and easy to follow, couples generally feel comfortable and actually look forward to dancing with others.

Despite the potential benefits of rotating partners as listed above couples still can't go wrong dancing solely with their special someone. Whether students are shy or simply don't like to share, they have every right to stay with their own dance partner for as long as they wish. If they find that once acclimatized to the class environment they are willing to try the class rotations than they are more than welcome to do so.

Again, rotating is not mandatory and students will in no way be given any grief for not doing so. Students who choose not to rotate are just asked to let the rotating person(s) coming your way a heads that you will not be rotating and to skip on ahead to the next available person.

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-What do I wear to class?

Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. For some this will be dressing up, for others this will be dressing down. And for some it's more a matter of blending in. If this is the case, most people show up to class in casual street clothes.

The only times there may be restrictions on what students wear to class is if classes are held in venues that turn into Salsa Clubs after class and you wish to stay for the party. If so, the dress-codes for most Salsa clubs are pretty laid back and usually only restrict the wearing of baseball caps and shorts for gentlemen. If you are curious as to what most people where to Salsa clubs, it is not much different than what people may wear to mainstream clubs. The main exception is more of a mindfulness to wear clothing that allows for ventilation. Cotton shirts that breathe and absorb perspiration are advised.

The other exception is footwear that caters to dancing.  Usually for women of a more intermediate level this means wearing dance shoes with a heel. Beginner female dancers will definitely want to ensure they wear stable, non-bulky, non-grip shoes.

For men this can mean wearing a specialized dance shoe, a dress shoe, or even a form fitting sneaker. Try to make sure they are not too bulky and that they do not excessively grip the floor. See what kind of shoe should I wear?

If you are a sweater be considerate to your dance partners and bring as many change of shirts as needed. No, you won't be able to decieve people into thinking that your flying sweat is actually the fire sprinkler system trying to put out your hottness. Flying sweat tends to not be well received:)

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-What kind of shoes should I wear?

For beginner students going to the Salsa clubs or taking lessons we do not advise them to spend money on dance shoes. Dance shoes are not necessary for the beginner levels and therefore are an unnecessary expense. That said, avoid wearing bulky shoes and shoes that excessively grip the floor. And be certain to be stable in your shoes.

Once a student reaches the intermediate levels it is then advisable to purchase dance shoes. Proper dance shoes will better allow the intermediate/advanced dancer to execute precise footwork, as well as lessen joint strain. By this time you will also have a better idea in what to look for in a good dance shoe. If you are in the market to purchase dance shoes but you are uncertain as to what to look for, then consult any of the Dance Vancouver staff or the shoe professionals at the stores listed under Where can I buy dance shoes?

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-Where can I buy dance shoes?

Avalon Dance Shop 4532 Main Street (between 29th & 30th ave.)Vancouver, BC 604.874.2461 www.avalondance.ca

Experience Shoes 912 Alaskan Way Seattle, WA 98104, USA 206.624.0960 www.experienceshoes.com

Byworld Yaohan Centre, 3700 No 3 Road Richmond, BC 604.232.0328 www.byworld.ca

Exotic Salsa Shoes 1.888.SALSA.68 www.exoticsalsashoes.com

Gabellini Dance Shoes 156 Lawrence Paquette Champlain, New York www.gabellinishoe.com

Ballo Shoes Ontario, Canada 514.812.5112 www.balloshoes.homestead.com

The Dance Shop 1089 West Broadway Vancouver, BC 604.733.6116 www.thedanceshop.ca

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-What style of Salsa do you teach?

Our dance style is a combination of the predominant "Night-Club" styles of Salsa (L.A. and New York) with elements of Latino and Cuban style. To be more precise the focus of our dancing and teaching leans more to the Night-Club styles.

In our beginner level Salsa classes we teach both the more linear Night-Club style as well as the Latin styles of Salsa. When teaching we let our students know which style of Salsa it is they are learning and with whom and where these moves would work most effectively. That way our students are better equipped to cater to the styles and strengths of their dance partners. A point that is appreciated by Latinos and non-Latinos. To not teach our students to be able to dance with and like Latinos in their early days of dance not only seems to be somewhat disrespectful to the roots of Salsa, but also would be "short-changing" our students of the authenticity of this wonderful dance.

Regardless of which style we are teaching any given day it is considered social dancing. In order to teach students how to social dance we ensure that all the moves learned are taught with universal techniques so that they can lead or follow anyone, anywhere in that particular style given that they cater to the level and ability of their partners.

In our Intermediate and Advance Salsa Training Groups the style of Salsa we teach would primarily fall under what's considered L.A. style minus the excessive flash. This is the most common style of Salsa not only here in Vancouver but internationally as well.

Once students have graduated from our Intermediate and Advance Salsa Training Groups they are eligible to take our On2 aka Mambo or New York style classes. This style requires breaking on the second beat of the music and therefor lends itself a more elastic, laid-back and funkier feel.

Regardless of which level students are in the common denominator in all our courses is that the material taught emphasizes the development of strong social dancing skills. That said, we do not teach choreography that can only work with partners familiar with your routines. Again, we teach universal techniques that work with everyone and everywhere within reason of level appropriateness.

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-Why should I learn to dance Salsa?

Knowing how to dance Salsa has its many advantages. One benefit for men that needs no explanation is that it is often referred to as "The Great Equalizer." You don't necessarily have to look good executing your moves to impress your partner. You only need to feel good. Salsa is good for the soul. For those of us who are deprived of touch and being in close proximity to others in our day to day lives you will find that Salsa helps take the edge off the desperation for social and intimate connection. I find that women and men who join Salsa classes tend to become "ladies and gentlemen" bound by dance etiquette and no longer desperate for "touch" and interaction. In addition to the benefits listed above, something happens to people in their first few short weeks of lessons. People begin to appreciate the ability to tap into that often dormant part of their being... and that is being connected to rhythm, music and expression through dance. I was one of those people growing up who claimed, "I hate dancing!" The truth of the matter was that deep down I wanted to be so good at dancing that I could put a smile on the face of any lady I danced with just like that smooth, unsuspecting old guy who seems to be at every single wedding there is... Who is that guy? Where did he come from? How did he learn to do that? Regardless of a woman's age, body-type, status or profession, she seemed weightless and beautiful in his arms. Man! I secretly wished I could do the same. Even though I was much younger and more fit than him, on the dance floor I felt insecure, awkward and inferior; it was intimidating.

Even worse I couldn't stand disappointing girls every time they asked me to dance. It's not that I didn't want to dance, it's just that I was terrified of looking silly; It was an invisible demon that seemed to paralyze me. If you share any of these feelings and experiences then you definitely need to tackle this fear. Slay this invisible dragon once and for all. As soon as I started taking Salsa lessons and going out dancing I couldn't believe it took me all of twenty-seven years of my life to experience the joy of dance and even better, becoming that guy who could make a woman smile on the dance floor.

Back on track... Salsa is a global phenomenon that we here in Vancouver are very much a part of. By knowing how to dance you will easily be able to access social communities here in Vancouver and abroad. Every road trip I'm on I find out where a Salsa event is taking place. I show up to the event, dance and meet new and wonderful people each and every time.The Salsa dance scene is also a great alternative to the often drunken, pretentious mainstream club scene. People attend Salsa clubs for it's clean social environment, love of dance and Latin rhythms. In ten years of attending salsa clubs in Vancouver and abroad I have never witnessed a single altercation. You would be hard pressed to duplicate that in any mainstream dance club scene. Salsa has great health benefits as well; it is low impact thus making it a safe and fun form of exercise for people of all ages and body abilities. The legendary Jack Ellard who in his 80's and presently resides in West Vancouver still frequents the dance halls. Not only does Jack look great for his age, but he puts on a show everytime he steps onto the dance floor... Hey, maybe he's the "smoothe, unsuspecting old guy" who attends all those weddings? Jack is living proof that dancing is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Way to go Jack!

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-Class sizes?

Class sizes can vary from session to session, level of course being offered as well as the size of the venue. For more information contact us at info@dancevancouver.ca

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-Where can I find good Salsa Music?

Finding Salsa music that suits your tastes is difficult especially for those not familiar with the language or names of artists. I recommend you start by viewing the lists of song titles and artists we have posted under Music. Search for those songs titles or artists in any online music store and listen to the sample tracks. If you like a song or artist you can purchase their music where available, either online or in your local music store. *Please support the artists who inspire us with their wonderful musical talents by purchasing there music. We often get requests from students wishing to buy burned cd's from us... We refuse to make profit from musicians life's work. Please encourage others to do the same.

An online music store that I have purchased music from is www.latincoolnow.com and I'm impressed with their musical selection. I highly recommend it.

If you know of any others please let me know and I will gladly post them.

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-I'm unable to attend the first class. Can I pay ahead of time to ensure I have a spot in the upcoming course?

Yes, most certainly. Some classes routinely reach capacity so it is strongly advised to make your payment in advance. The most convenient and quickest way to guarantee your spot is to pay online via Paypal through our website. Note: at the time being credit card and other forms of plastic payments can only be made online.

For those of you who prefer to pay in cash, arrangements would need to be made to meet in person by emailing register@dancevancouver.ca. If you are unable to meet ahead of time some students have been known to send a friend or family member to make payment for them before or on the first day of class. Note: Payment must be made in full

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-I want to try out you Beginner Salsa Class but I'm not sure if I will like it. Can I pay a drop-in fee first then decide after class if I want to continue?

No and Yes. All students must pay for the entire course before the start of the first class. If you wish to withdraw from the course for any reason including, "I thought I would give it a try to please my wife, but I just don't feel cut out for this," our response will be to first applaud your effort and for being a good husband, then refund your money, minus the fee for the first class attended (drop- in rate of $15 will apply for hour long classes). *Important! To be eligible for your refund, you must request your refund immediately following the first class so those on the waiting-list wanting to join the class are able to do so. For more information see our Registration and Payment Policy.

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-What is the best payment option?

PayPal provides the fastest and most convenient payment option for most people. To pay by cash it is recommended students arrange to make payment in advance by contacting us at register@dancevancouver.ca. Remember, spots are only guaranteed once payment has been made in full.

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