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Looking For a Few Good Salseros
By Marques Gunter
Posted Nov 15, 2005

We all know Indy has conservative values and can be somewhat behind on new trends. As most of us already know, salsa dancing is one of them. Women typically love to dance, whether it be hip-hop, ballroom, jazz, or Latin, while men run scared from the idea of getting on a dance floor for everyone to see. I would guess it started when little boys were given a football to play with, while the girls were given a ballerina Barbie. The idea of salsa dancing as sexy, passionate and stylish has not yet reached the masses in our midsize town, while bigger cities like LA and Chicago salsa has gained mainstream appeal. Due to this lack of mainstream acceptance and male upbringing, Indianapolis has a serious shortage of male salsa dancers (salseros).

What can we do to resolve this shortage? Well, we could kidnap a couple dozen men, lock them in a dance studio and force them to watch salsa videos and learn how to salsa dance. That could work, but I think there are more peaceful options.

Education
Education is the first step. I was not interested in salsa dancing until I saw a short 3 minute salsa dance performance at the Jazz Kitchen by Yang and Erin. I was an easy case because I have always liked to dance, but had never tried anything structured. It never hurts to stop by a local salsa club and observe the dancers in action. If you cannot catch a live performance, there are tons of video clips on the Internet.

Intimidation
All men have the same excuses: "I have two left feet" or "I have no rhythm." Guess what guys - we all did! Just like playing a sport, you have to practice. I have taught over one hundred students and only a small percentage of them were naturals, mostly because they had previous dance experience other then salsa. It took me 3 months before I started to get somewhat conformable on the dance floor. If you stick it out through the learning curve and keep practicing, you will look like true salsero in no time - trust me on this one. As for rhythm, it is your interpretation and expression of the song though dancing. Rhythm can be mastered when you drop down the barriers of what others think of you when you dance. Only then you can fully express yourself on the dance floor. While not an easy task, it will come when you master the basics.

Motivation
I will be honest with you: other then enjoying dancing, I started to learn salsa to meet women. It was a no brainer for me - women love to dance, so if I learned to dance well, I could meet more women. While my motivation has slightly changed to the love for the dance, I still enjoy meeting new women. In salsa dancing, there is only one pickup line you will ever need: "Can I have this dance?" You will be surprised that the women fall for this line every time!

Couples Who Dance Together, Stay Together
Guys, your girlfriend is always complaining that you do not do enough things together. Movies, dinners and romantic walks get boring and routine. Why not give salsa dancing a try? Learning stylish dance patterns, watching your lady move her hips to beats of salsa and the rush of endorphins is a better alternative then rental movie night.

Trickster
This one is for women who have a boyfriend who is reluctant to dance, and should be used as a last resort. I had a couple that was taking lessons at my dance studio. The guy was built like a football player. One day I asked his girlfriend if he played football and how did she sparked his interested in dancing. She confirmed that he used to play college football and that she tricked him into going by telling him that she had a surprise for him. Well, her plan did not backfire; on days she was not able to attend, her boyfriend still showed up for the lesson!

Men, there are women in the salsa clubs standing around the dance floor, each one waiting for you to ask her for a dance. And unlike typical clubs, she would most likely accept your offer to dance. Men, I know I am asking a lot from you, but the rewards of learning to dance will ALWAYS outweigh the time and effort needed. So turn off your PC, stop watching the Colts game (ok, you can Tivo it first) and head down to a Latin dance studio or club. The Indy salseras are waiting for you.


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