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Why I’m A Better Dancer

DANCER: “I’m superior and you know it. After all,  I can dance salsa. What’s more, my style of salsa is far better than yours plus I’m a better dancer AND I know far more about salsa than most of you. So there!  I have the right to hold my nose in the air, ignore all of you mere mortals and roll my eyes when you ask some of your silly beginner questions and glare at you when you dare ask me for a dance. Who do you think you are?…”

Have you ever behaved like this? Go on and admit it…Maybe just a few thoughts like this lurk at the back of your psyche and you usually brush them away? Maybe you don’t. You might even have been at the receiving end of this kind of bad attitude. It’s got to stop now!

Unfortunately many Salseros fall prey to thinking that they are better than anyone else. It’s so sad. As first-timer they are nervous, unsure of their feet and eager to please. But before long they descend into the deep dark pit of arrogance.

Is their any truth behind their thinking? Let’s investigate!

“I’m superior because I can dance”

Really? Do you honestly believe that the skill of salsa dancing is somehow better than any other? As much as I adore salsa, I don’t believe that the skill of dancing salsa is better than another skill. I know the embarrassing drunk that stumbled onto the dance-floor helped to boost this attitude- you’re only human. They started pulling out all of those cliched hip wiggles and dumb-faced moves and made a complete fool  of themselves.I feel your pain.

But the problem here is not their lack of moves or the fact that they haven’t ever learnt to dance salsa. It’s the attitude and the alcohol consumption that’s the problem.

You have a specialised knowledge that many would love to have. Thousands of beginners take their first salsa class every week in the UK because they too wish they could dance. You already can. Doesn’t make you better, just further along in your journey.

Do you remember your first Salsa class? I can bet you weren’t an expert back then. Be kind. Smile at the drunk on the dance-floor, roll your eyes if you want to but be kind.

“My Style of Salsa is better”

How brilliant does it feel to really love a particular style of salsa? Every single inch of you can’t resist the urge to move when you hear the familiar sound. It touches you to your core and you wouldn’t swap it for the world. As for other styles of salsa, well, you just aren’t feeling it. What can they possibly see in this empty/confusing/jingly/ploddy music? Are they mad or what?

Yet your chosen style of salsa is not better (or worse) than any other. The styles have evolved in many different places with their own influences and flavours. Think back now for a second to how you discovered your salsa style of choice. I simply learned what was on offer in the area and then tried bits of other styles along the way before choosing my favourite.

It’s a bit like chocolate. Some like dark bitter stuff, some love the way milk chocolate slips over their tongues and others like the innocent creaminess of the white chocolatey stuff. Some don’t even like chocolate. But we are all members of a ‘chocolate’ club so we should all make fondue and be friends 🙂

“My Style of Salsa is harder to learn”

Of course. Your style of salsa was much more challenging to learn than any of those ‘lower’ types of salsa And just look at the types of people that ‘that’ style attracts! No thank you. I chose wisely by selecting this style. It was trickier than the others for sure but now I have proved myself to be far superior by mastering this superior style. Just watch me and kneel at my feet…

UMMMM….NOPE. Not true. No style is easier or harder, just different.

“I’m a Better Dancer than You”

Salsa is not a competition nor is it a race. It comes from the human connection to music and their need to express themselves and have a little bit of fun at the same time.

So what if you have been dancing a little bit longer than the rest of the people in the room? So what if you were lucky enough to meet and study with some of the best teachers around? So what if you could practice as much as you wanted til you really nailed it?

And so what that you had the urge to? It doesn’t make you any better! The beauty of life is that we are all different yet we are the same. Get out there and enjoy yourself!

“I know more about Salsa than you do”

I know a fair bit about salsa. It comes from many years enjoying myself in the UK salsa scene as a dancer and a DJ, a healthy dose of time abroad including a long stay in Cuba plus a love of music and a healthy dose of curiosity.

If you don’t know too much about it, that’s cool. I can tell you what I know if you want. But if you’re not interested and just want a great fun night out or a hobby that keeps you fit, then that’s fine too.

Unfortunately, I know a fair few individuals who will look down their noses at people whose knowledge about salsa stuff is less than theirs (be it the names for particular turn patterns, rueda moves, styles or artists). They think they’re above them. They think that they automatically have the right to sneer or huddle in their little groups of ‘experts’ SCRAP IT is what I think. Salsa is about fun.

What can we do about these bad attitudes?

Let’s remember to be a little kinder to everyone around us, even if they are naive or annoying or inexperienced. Everyone’s little differences are all part of the beauty of life. If someone has an arrogant or unkind attitude towards you, simply smile sweetly and move on. Life is too short to be involved in a battle of egos. Make sure you don’t fall into the trap of arrogance and simply ignore those who do. They’re no fun to ‘play’ with anyway!

Arrogance in salsa isn’t pretty.  I don’t care if you can dance and other people can’t. I don’t care if you like a different style than I do, and think that yours is a harder style to learn. I don’t care how much you know about salsa. What I care about is that you enjoy the music and your time dancing and respect others to also have their own opinion.  Beware of thinking that you’re better than anyone else in salsa- it’s a slippery slope to some huge ego issues, Come down to earth a little and you might find you like us mere mortals down here 🙂

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What is your own experience of arrogance in the Salsa scene? Has your ego been shattered by their attitudes? Have you stood strong and triumphed? Share it all in the comments below.

Images © Brendan Lally , Port of San Diego

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