Commandment #6. Learn by Teaching

Learning to teach Salsa starts off by analyzing every lead, follow, movement and style that make up a combination. This detailed analysis will improve your own understanding and awareness of the combination, and will also show you which parts of a combination you need to practice.

You don’t have to be a professional instructor in order to teach basic Salsa combinations. All you need to do is find a friend that you can practice the combination with. Break down each component with your partner until you understand the entire move fully. Also practice wording each part of the combination so that you get comfortable explaining each step. It may be second nature to execute a core move without thinking about it, but once you look at each part in isolation, you may find it much harder to verbalize what you are doing. If this happens, keep switching between doing the move in it’s entirety and the part that’s hard to execute and/or explain. Once you can clearly and easily explain every part for both follow and lead, you are ready to teach!

Once you gather a group of friends together, break down the combination in counts of 3. Start by teaching the leader’s footwork, then include arms, then styling, then teach the follow. Don’t teach more than a 16 count combination, and make sure to play plenty of music for practicing. If your students aren’t understanding your combination, you need to pinpoint which 3 count section they are having difficulty with and focus on that section.

Good luck and have fun teaching, learning, and dancing.

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