The Cuban dance style is joyful, daring, sensual, liberating, playful, empowering, and like with anything that is worthwhile in life, it gets better in time as you get to experience its nuances and learn its codes. Just like with any great romance, the more you commit to it, the more you receive from it.
The teacher you get should match your expectations. Personally, when I am in the position of student, I like to be a little more in depth and then dedicate whatever time is needed in order to get it right. I will research and find the best that field of knowledge has to offer.
Tip #1: Keep in mind there are two aspects to the learning process: body movement/feeling, which is your individual training, and learning to dance with a partner.
Tip #2: For most people, learning to move a la cubana is about awakening areas of the body you didn't know existed, except in an anatomy class… Scary? Not really. I see it time and time again, how fun and liberating it is for men, women and children to start moving their hips, bending their knees, softening their torsos, just empowering themselves in a culturally different way.
Tip #3: Here is a word of wisdom from the Cuban elders; always keep in mind that learning a dance pattern and learning to dance is not quite the same. The first one refers to following someone's moves. It might give us instant gratification but not long term results. Accordingly, there is a good chance we will never get it, really get it, as in heart and soul. In the second case, you are actually learning a method, a sense of progression. It takes patience and time, but boy is it worthwhile ... Dance is a language. It has a specific vocabulary, unique expressions, grammar and syntax. To learn to dance is a love story, and we have to decide how wet we want our feet to get.
My fourth and most personal tip: find someone who’s aim is teaching to learn themselves, meaning they come to you open to mutual giving. Teaching is one of the greatest learning pathways; a question or a response from a student can change the entire course of a class, even facilitate the rewriting of a method. The more we share with each other, the more learn.
If you live in Seattle or anywhere nearby, come by and dance with me. My doors are always open to one more pair of legs with an open heart. 😊