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Editor's Note: Shelly Green is one example of the many people who email SalsaNewYork when it comes to getting instructor recommendation. I know from prior experience that different people have different needs when it comes to learning how to dance. That's why whenever I get an email from someone wanting a recommendation for an instructor I email them back a little questionnaire (for example what borough would you like to take classes in? What level of dancing are you at? Would you like a male or female instructor? Are you interested in weekday or weekend classes? Etc.). I use the questionnaire to help me zero in on the instructors who best fit that person's needs. Here Shelly gives us her take on the process she went through when she first decided to take dance classes. - Manny 

Learning from Addie Diaz
-by Shelly Green
I have always been interested in learning to Salsa and while surfing the net, I found SalsaNewYork.com.  Most websites have an email address in which you can submit questions, comments, or concerns so I did but did not expect to get a response.  If I did get a response, I knew I would get it within a two to three week period.  You can imagine my surprise when I received a response from Manny on the same day and he answered my questions...............he even had a few for me. 

I had an interest in learning but didn't realize I had some decisions to make. Salsa or Mambo?  Did I want to male instructor or a female instructor?  I could not understand why the sex of the instructor was relevant but I received my explanation.  Learning from an accomplished female instructor would help me when it came time to develop my "style" as I progressed through my classes.  Now I had a better understanding I needed recommendations for instructors.  Again I was asked two more question..........Did I want a weeknight class?  What borough would I want to take the class?

Addie Diaz was recommended among other female instructors but I chose her class due the information on her site and her fast response to my message.  I stressed to Addie that I literally had "two left feet" and did not have a partner with whom to attend the classes.  She told me the same thing Manny did that I didn't need a partner.  She was reassuring and several days later, I was in her next class.

I attended my first class and was amazed at the set-up.  The class was divided into three groups of beginners.....beginners; intermediate; and advanced.  The first hour was spent learning and reviewing basic steps and the second hour was spent practicing these steps with a partner.  Addie normally has one or two persons assisting her so I felt as if I had the best of both worlds.  I had an opportunity to dance with other students as you would in a group lesson but I felt that each group receives individual attention so it is almost as if I had a private lesson.  Don't forget I have "two left feet"  and it doesn't help that I am also shy.  Well, Addie and her co-instructors encourage each student to keep trying and they also work with you till you "get" the move correctly.  Your fellow classmates are equally supportive and offer assistance when needed.

After my first class I was inspired to learn more and I kept returning.  Each week the class is a little different because you constantly have new students joining the group and you work at your own pace.  Isn't that great?  No pressure!  The environment is challenging yet nurturing and my dancing is improving also.  Yes, I am still learning to "Break on 2" and lovin' every minute of it!

If you are a beginner such as myself or have had a desire to take a lesson, I suggest you take a lesson at least once.  The class is designed for people like me: 

  •     Want to learn to Mambo/"Break on 2"
  •     Do not have a consistent partner with whom to take a dance class
  •     Do not think you are a good dancer
  •     Always wanted to take a lesson or two but never took the time
  •     Shy............or shy at times

If you can answer "yes" to any of the items listed above then you too should try one of the many classes or socials mentioned on this site (SalsaNewYork) so you can experience "La Vida Loca" on your own terms.  




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