Ask Aleks #2
Hey gang. This is the second episode of Ask Aleks. I’m really excited. Today’s question is from Jason. And the question is: what can you expect from a first class? So I know it can be really nerve wracking attending your first class. You’ve got nothing to be nervous about actually. It’s not like the first day of school, though it may feel like it. You know, back in the day, when you were doing middle school or high school or even grade school. You come in, it’s a super soft and friendly environment.
The instructor’s going to introduce themselves.
She’s going to introduce all the helpers and volunteers that are going to be there to help. It’s a safe environment. That’s one thing that’s a take away from your very first class when you think about it. You’re there to have fun and you’re there to, with your students, have a great experience. Wear something comfortable. Smile as much as you can. The instructor will help you introduce yourself to the other students as you partner up.
It’s all about camaraderie.
It’s all about having fun. It’s okay to be nervous on your first day. No one’s here to judge you. Remember that for you and all your classmates, it’s the first day. So everyone’s in the same boat. Everyone’s in the same shoes.
What we do best at TDS is to make it comfortable for adults to feel good about themselves and to feel confident that they can do it. Most people who learn to dance, they actually learn to dance much later on in life, especially for things like salsa.
I only started salsa eight years ago, so myself, as an adult, it was a challenging task. I didn’t dance salsa when I was younger or any kind of dance. I wasn’t a dancing baby. So..,I just actually imagine like a baby in those old commercials. Remember the 3D baby that was dancing?…Never mind.
The point is what we do well is we help adults feel confident about themselves.
The thing that made it easier for me to learn to dance was a sense of community and sense of family. I wasn’t alone in the trenches. There were all the other students and not only was the instructor there to help me learn to dance and feel more confident in myself, we had a bunch of volunteers in the class.
So it was a lot of positive energy, a lot of laughter, a lot of jokes. It made me forget that I’m taking this chance to put myself out there
and learn something that I was really uncomfortable learning. As a student yourself,I can confidently say that when you leave your first class, you’re going to leave with a smile on your face. You’re going to be happy. The fact that yes, you did it.
You crushed it that first class and there’s so much more fun and so much more to learn.
As a salsa instructor, I have actually a preference. I love teaching beginner classes or introductory salsa classes. It’s amazing the transformation one hour can do on a person.
Students will start to come in and I’ll introduce myself and all the helpers and everyone’s a little bit nervous, quiet, shy.
I crack a couple of jokes, people are laughing, they’re looking around. They’re like, “Oh, okay, there’s other people besides myself in that class.” By the end of the class, people are laughing. They’re high fiving each other. Students come up to me, students that would have had previous phone conversations with me or talked to me in person about how they’re nervous saying “Oh my God, I love this. Thank you so much. I can’t wait for the next class.”
People come in nervous into my class and they leave confident and happy.
I think that’s the biggest take away. So don’t think too much. Pick a class you like. I promise you we’re going to have a great time.
So what can you actually expect from a first class? You want to make sure, especially on the first day, to arrive at least 10 minutes,
maybe even 15 minutes early. It doesn’t help you with confidence if you’re just rushing in right when the class starts. So getting yourself more time to navigate the traffic and everything else that can be in your way will really make a difference for you.
So when you arrive early, there’s going to be an attendance person there. Make sure to introduce yourself so that they can mark you
off on the attendance. They’ll usually have a tablet or a piece of paper, smiling. If you’re nervous, tell them you’re nervous. I can promise you they’re going to make you feel awesome even before the class starts.
When you come into the class, the instructor is going tointroduce themselves, himself or herself. And also the instructor’s going to tell you a little about the helpers or volunteers that we have here.
What’s awesome about our school is that not only do we have an instructor and assistant, but we have anywhere from four to six volunteers in every class.
So these helpers are students of ours. They’re intermediate dancers and they’ve all pretty much start as level one students. So they were in your shoes where you are right now and they do it out of love because they want to pass on that happiness, that confidence that they experienced when they were going through it. So make sure you take advantage of that when you’re going to be in rotation dancing. Ask them as many questions as possible cause that’s what we’re here for.
After the instructor introduces themselves and the helpers, you’re all going to face the mirror and you’re going to start at square one. You have nothing to be nervous about. You don’t need to know anything about salsa, bachata, kizomba, or any of the other types of dances. Literally, the instructor will say, “Move your left foot in this direction. “Move your right foot in this direction.”
And through repetition, through humor, whether awkward or not, you’re going to be laughing and you’re going to be on your way to learning the dance. Once the instructor introduces you to the basic steps, left foot, right foot, whichever way it goes, we’re going to want you to partner up.
It can be super nerve wracking to ask a lady or a lady to ask a gentleman to dance, so don’t worry.
We’re here to help. So we’re going to partner you up. And one of the cool things about TDS is we work super hard and we make sure that every class, the numbers are balanced for the ratio so that there’s an equal amount of leaders to followers. Once you get partnered up, the coolest thing about our school is that you get to rotate and dance with every other partner in the class.
So what that means is that as a follower, you’re going to be rotating every five to 10 minutes or so between the leaders. And leaders, you get a chance to dance with every follower of that class. It makes it a lot easier to get to know all your students and hopefully to make some new friends. So by the end of the class, you’re smiling, you’re laughing. Maybe you’re even exchanging numbers. You’re just having a great time and you’ve forgotten why at all you were nervous about this.
Thank you so much for watching.
I want to say thank you to Jason. That question really hits home with me and I’m sure hits home with a lot of students who are taking the class for the first time.
If you have a question for our next segment of Ask Aleks, leave it in the comments below and I will get to it as soon as I can. It could be about salsa. It could be about Toronto Dance Salsa, our school, or anything at all.
Thank you so much for watching and we look forward to you joining our big family.
Other Ask Aleks Videos
About Toronto Dance Salsa
Toronto Dance Salsa is Canada’s largest salsa dance school. It specializes in turning absolute beginners into dancers. It introduces students to the fundamentals of salsa, bachata, merengue, kizomba, and tango, and also offers workout classes like Zumba. Its new semester of classes is beginning now. For more information, please visit www.torontodancesalsa.ca.