Question: I am a teacher of salsa in Derby (UK) which I absolutely love but sometimes have difficulty being creative with my styling. My dance partner also tells me that I spin very well, but I cannot help feeling I could be better. I feel that there is a lot more inside me that I could give my dancing but sometimes I am too apprehensive to do so.
Answer: Being creative with your styling often comes from a place of comfort. The less comfortable you are with your body the less likely you will try something different. When we aren’t comfortable within our own skin, we get comfortable with what we learn and focus on copying and regurgitating that material. This isn’t such a bad thing because we all need some basic vocabulary and we need to master that before we start to create our own sentences. However, when we get stuck just repeating what we hear, word for word, that’s when we get that feeling of “I could be better.”
One suggestion I have for getting comfortable with styling is to take a simple move that is executed quite often (ie/ a cross body lead into an open break) and add some simple styling to it. Try doing something different each time. This will allow you to:
- understand that you have a range of options not just one move that you learned
- get comfortable with trying new things without feeling the pressure of doing it in the middle of a complicated turn pattern
- find what feels natural to you, which you can then develop further.
For creativity to occur in a manner where you can actually recognize what you’re doing so you can add to it, you have to first develop a sense of body awareness, get comfortable in your own skin, and then be comfortable with the fundamentals of the dance.