Teaching Some Salsa to Kids

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by suitz, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    I've actually used that movie as well (Take the Lead), but in ESL class - my refugee students love it :D Anyway, see Emoyeno's post on the Addicted thread - she's the one to talk to!

    Rueda - that is such a good idea! You could really make that fun. (I'll steal that ;) )
  2. ColdSalsero

    ColdSalsero Shine Officer

    Suitz, show people this social dancing video of Milton Cobo and Isabel in Japan and WOW them!

  3. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Shine Officer

    This is one of those dances that makes you go, "Wow, I want to dance like THAT!" Definitely bookmarking it. I wonder why I can't post it on my fb wall though, I get an error. :(

    ETA: erased my question, read the comments on the video
  4. suitz

    suitz Nuevo Ritmo

    Hey all,

    Thanks for the replies!

    I'm a bit pressed for time at the moment, so will respond to some specific questions later...

    The trouble is I have very little teaching experience myself with regard to salsa and dancing, it would just me and my amateur enjoyment and enthusiasm of salsa and dancing that I have to share at the moment. I'm not sure where to start with regard to getting any sort of class going... just something fairly basic but fun and enjoyable. Any excuse to just use a room, put some music on and dance!

    I really like the rueda idea! I might have to do that one!

    Shines and footwork, does anyone know of any specific instructional videos that I could get some ideas from? I, myself don't know a huge array of footwork and shines, and what I do know, I tend to just make up on the spot or they're too hard and fast for someone else to follow!
  5. suitz

    suitz Nuevo Ritmo

    Ok, I think I've been convincing enough to be allowed a trial dance lesson, I'm thinking that I will cover the basic steps with the overall aim of getting people ready for some very basic rueda for fun.

    I'll be teaching mostly kids (9-15) and a few young adults (18-21); this has the recipe to go very wrong, as I've never taught before, especially not in a proper class capacity and I've only been dancing for a year...

    Could anyone suggest some fun but slow enbough songs for beginners, especially for young kids... Some of them will understand spanish, and I don't, so I want to be wary of any potentially inappropriate lyrics...
  6. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Youre walking into a " minefield". Especially with kids.. Even many trained teachers do not teach children .

    And, are you competant in the ladies " part " ?. If you start to falter, you will lose the confidence of your class . Are you able to " breakdown " the components of each variation ?; these are questions YOU need to ask yourself .
  7. ColdSalsero

    ColdSalsero Shine Officer

  8. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    Zapped, thanks.
  9. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    Teaching teenage boys

    Okay, I arrived back home and I've fished out the (high school dance) curriculum I put together. As a teacher, you'd know a key aspect is transitions and maintaining their attention. Attention span is generally the kids' age minus three seconds. You need to be able to move from one step (of the class) to the next without losing a beat and hence their attention. Over-preparation is the key. If you need something for the next step (music / equipment etc) have it ready beforehand, or quickly prepare it while the kids are engaged in an activity by themselves.

    Analogies: I would try to think of fun analogies or ways to teach steps. For forward body rolls, we pretended we were throwing up; for regular body rolls we did lambada-esque practice under a broomstick. To get a nice, upward kick,the students had to pick up an object from the floor with their foot (lucky - I had the soccer team members!) The boys also enjoyed practicing spotting in height-matched pairs, staring into each others' eyes and trying to spin effectively.

    Music: they liked slower songs or 'fun' songs. I used:
    Tormenta - The Latin Brothers
    Son Fo - Africando
    Acid - Ray Barreto
    Duele - (someone Colombian? slow tempo)
    Por Ella - Victor Manuelle
    Estamos en Salsa - Wayne Gorbea
    La Musica es Mi Vida - Spanish H. O.
    Salsa Con Gale - Grupo Gale
    Amor Para Mi - Cuco Valoy
    and...I forget what else...

    - the best salsero to steal moves off / emulate in this context was Bobby (Bobby Dickerson - Tokyo-based Detroit native). Some of his team (Fusion 310, Fusion Sol Naciente) routines are infused with some cool hip hop style moves. The kids really liked them.
    - Mitsuo (Mitsue's alter-ego); Los Hombres Brilliantes routines
    - Al Liquid Silver (the Terminator routine was a hit with the boys!)
    - I also pinched / adapted several steps from Angel & Tulane and Hacha y Machete
    - Take, an Osakan freestyle hip hop dancer. He features on DVDs

    Routines: I've found my squiggle-infested, stick figured notes and would be happy to try to make sense of them and work out what I taught the kids, but it does sound like you'll be able to put together much better stuff, especially in terms of hip hop.

    Sweeteners: oh yeah! The kids were allowed 5 mins of table tennis at the start of the class (I always have a kitchen timer with me at school, so no complaints about times) and free range with the CD player at the end of the class. This did mean that I had to listen to a lot of Exile and atrocious Japanese boy bands, but the boys would copy and parody Exile's dance routines, which was hilarious, and kept them in the spirit of dancing. Dang - I've lost the video I took of them doing that...

    Go suitz!
  10. barrefly

    barrefly Nuevo Ritmo

    Sorry suitz, I'm with Terence on this one. (I have two salsa dancing daughters, 11 and 17)

    "Teaching" dance is a separate skill than dancing itself, and it doesn't even sound like
    you have the dancing part down yet.

    However, there may be mitigating circumstance that entices you to do so. (The kids are poor/disadvantage, and perhaps you are doing it for free...etc...like a "big brother" sort of thing.)

    Kids dancing with adults is another issue. From my experience, the adults don't like dancing with kids, and vice versa. But, I see it done all the time. I guess, a buck is a buck, or perhaps, a follow is a follow, when a class is short on follows. LOL

    Also, ...Rueda? That's some tricky arse dancing. Rueda isn't just changing partners during a salsa song. It's a dance form in itself.

    As far as age goes, my 17 year old started salsa at around 9 years old. That is because I am a lousy dad. I should have started her in ballroom, instead. (Or kept her with Buddy Schwimmer's studio, with WCS) 14 is a good age Terrence. I think Debbie Allan allows her dancers to take salsa classes at her studio, at around 12, but they are all very well trained dancers, (ballet, jazz, modern, etc) and only dance with each other.

    Good luck suitz.
  11. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, I understand your point, Barrefly. However, you and Terence are (I presume) moulding great dancers. Your aim is to teach dance. Suitz (apologies for any further presumptions here) and I are creating a fun activity for teenagers which involves dance. We don't care if they don't get it perfectly or show progress. My school students were having a fun elective class involving dance, and were welcome to take from it what they wished - dance steps, or fitness or flexibility, or team fun, or elements they could adapt to soccer techniques, or a start to eventual club dancing when they're older with a little more confidence. I wasn't expecting anyone to graduate as an expert. We had fun, hip hop flavored salsa activities, and after the course ended if they never took on salsa again it didn't matter - I'm sure they all learned something to take away from the classes, which I, as a schoolteacher, always aim for :)

    In any case, you certainly don't appear to be a lousy dad :)
  12. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    My (teaching) allotment for this term is going to be almost all P.E. classes (somewhat lightens the prep and grading load - yay!!;) ). I haven't seen the curriculum yet, but I'm wondering if they'll let me teach some dance. It'll be interesting trying it with 20-25 kids in a class :eek: I think otherwise I might try and start a dance club at the school. If nothing else, it'll look like I making a big extra-curricular "contribution" to the school (which seems to be regarded as more important than actual teaching performance these days...sigh...)

    I would like to know how rueda turns out if you try it.
  13. Blair

    Blair Descarga

    My girlfriend teachs salsa to her kids...well merengue and after the normal, ew I don't want to touch that girls hand is passed they LOVED it.
  14. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, that's the part I'm wondering how to navigate :) I've always just done shine work with kids.
  15. suitz

    suitz Nuevo Ritmo

    Hey all,

    Been absent for a while due to work commitments and general inaccessibility to a decent working internet connection.

    Indeed, I am not doing this for money or anything other than to have some fun, pass some time and selfishly allow myself to dance some salsa. During this process, I am hoping I can impart some knowledge, skills and just general fun to kids in dancing. I am not trying to churn out the next set of amazing dancers... if I can enthuse them enough to seek 'proper' lessons once I leave here - then I would consider that a personal success. In no way would I proclaim myself as an expert or qualified to teach salsa. I am running my classes for free and quite informally.

    So far, I've held a number of classes and on the whole, it's gone rather well I think. What I find funny is that I 'promote' my class as being hip hop and dance (for political reasons... long story... I'm not deliberately trying to misrepresent salsa here!), as kids being kids and the powers that be who I work for here would probably 'prefer' the activity to sound more... "manly" - hence the whole 'street, hip hop' label... however, everyone knows I prefer to dance salsa... (before I get jumped on, I also used to breakdance and dance hip hop) - so the kids come into my class, all saying they want to learn hip hop this, hip hop that - which is fine, I start off with some hip hop-esque routine, but a little bit into it, they realise that it's physically demanding and tougher and less interesting... then they start asking for salsa for the last hour... in that hour, not a single complaint or moan... it may also be they know that salsa is a partner dance... ;)

    Even if I do say so myself, I'm quite happy that, despite not knowing the follower's footsteps like the back of my hand, I am at least able to deconstruct the move from the lead's point of view and figure out how the follower should be stepping.

    The kids have all found it to be very fun and challenging - but I have been very impressed by just how quickly they learn the moves. It's surprised me how much they don't mind the repetition of going over the basics and simple steps over and over... most adults I have danced with would have given up!

    I have not been able to run the rueda lessons yet, as we are very short on followers... at best we have 2 followers and about 10 leads... In theory, I suppose it's still possible, but I think a 2-couple rueda doesn't show the real intricate fun of rueda.

    Whilst teaching the followers, and with me trying to figure out some of their steps (remember, I'm doing very basic stuff... the most 'advanced' move I've taught them so far is the travelling inside turn from a crossbody lead...); I had a question pop into my mind, which I will raise in a new thread: Beginner Followers: What's in it for You?
  16. sagitta

    sagitta Pattern Police

    I disagree. It is very easy to teach rueda. In an hour one can get people - even kids - doing al centro, la rosa, dame, ni pa ti ni pa mi, and basic modified guapea with a partner. Naturally there is no perfection and one takes liberties in what people to do in executing the moves, but this is usually for a quick intro lesson to get people to experience rueda. But it does show that it is entirely doable. because it is rueda doesn't make it off-limts.

    Also in terms of lead and follow just count out 1,2 when people are in a circle and give either 1s/the 2s mardi gras beads to wear to distinguish them and make it easy for people not to get mixed up. Avoid using leader/follower, guys/girls. Just say "1s" do this and "2s" do that. That helps to get around the issue of having imbalances in male/females in a class when doing rueda. Also switch between being a 1 and a 2 yourself, leading by example.
  17. matty

    matty Shine Officer

    i think Cali Colombia wouldnt be the same if they didnt teach salsa to the kids. its one of the great attractions when the kids do a dance show.

    i filmed this last year and spoke to some the parents, the dad of this young boy described how he only allows him to follow his dancing dream if he completes his studies in school. i was very impressed at that, it showed how much of a passion it was to the young boy, similarly to say, playing for a local football team. some of the kids go on to make a living from it, and even become champions!

    so yes, i say go for it.!:D


  18. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    Great advice!
  19. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    This semester I picked up a new class (year 10 history). Shortly afterwards (about a month ago), a group of girls from the class approached me and asked if I would teach them latin dancing. They wanted to perform a routine during the school's multicultural week on 'Americas Day' and wanted me to create one for them. Each year the teachers do a flash mob at mid-year exam time to assist in 'de-stressing' the kids. We go a bit over the top and have a lot of fun, but after the last one (yes, Uptown Funk :) ) two groups of girls approached me to help out with a dance group.

    Typical kids :) the group of year 11s came up at the very end of term, before the two week non-teaching period wanting me to join them in a performance one and a half weeks into the new term. They wanted to book the gym every lunchtime and practice. Of course, sports coaches had already booked out the gym, and I explained to the girls that I was booked up every lunchtime in the new term coaching my sports teams, which anyone who knows me would have been expecting. The year 10 girls, however, were more realistic and organised. They agreed to be ready to go on the first day back, when I had an opening, and also stay after school.

    So... we started off choosing music; they wanted something appealing to the students so that the performance would be supported. I played a selection of songs I thought might work and they decided on a version of Bailando. Two of the girls had a dance background and one of them, when I asked if they could hear in the music when to start stepping, could pick up the one without fail. It was awesome! After sitting watching for the first ten minutes, three other girls jumped up and decided they wanted to be part of it too. I made a very simple routine interspersed with constant basics and only about five variations (right hand turn, side step and so forth). They picked up the timing and idea of salsa so quickly! It was magical :) The three without a dance background are struggling with the movement and any steps where we step on the four and / or eight, but were enjoying and getting into it.

    After two hour long lessons/practices only, they're going for it tomorrow. I won't be at school as I have a conference, but the girl who can pick up the one swears she knows just when to count them in, and I've roped in two other teachers to encourage them and jump in flash mob style. I'm so proud of the girls!

    However, the best part, the absolute music to my ears, was at the end of the last practice, when one of the girls cried out "Hey! Let's start a salsa club at school! Miss'll teach us. Who can we bring in?" Two lessons and they already love and want to do salsa! Hey, I'll totally support it if they are truly keen to start the club. Yay salsa :).
  20. azana

    azana Super Moderator Staff Member

    Apparently the girls did very well! :) I've been away for a few days at history conferences and sports days, but the girls held a 'club' meeting and there were 11 girls and two boys in total :) :).
    Smejmoon likes this.

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