Exercise with Salsa Dancing | Dana LaRieal Morales

Salsa Dancing is Better than Exercising!

For any of you who know me, you know that I have become a salsa addict!  I love to salsa dance.  I decided to embark on this journey back in June 2010, while I was on a cruise with a group of my friends.  Each night we would go to the club on-board the ship and there were several couples who were salsa dancing all over the dance floor.  They looked so smooth that I just watched them constantly.  I decided right then and there I was going to learn how to do it.  Now for those who have taken zumba…this is not the same thing!!!  Zumba has latin foundations, but depending on your instructor it may be more like reggaeton or other hip hop versions of latin music.  The footwork is not salsa either…it may have hints of salsa movement, but it is not salsa dancing.

Salsa dancing is an art form in itself and when I tell you it is fun and a workout at the same time believe me!!!  The first rule is wear as little clothes as possible.  Most people think they are just trying to be seductive and all that…ok yeah you do feel sexy with this dance, but the real reason they don’t have on a lot of clothes is they are sweating like pigs!!!! lolllllllll Ok I don’t sweat as much now as I did when I first started, but I still sweat…and so does everyone else.  The second rule is to wear shoes that have a slippery sole…and ladies keep your platform heels at home until you know what you are doing!!!  You will see that most of the real dancers don’t have platforms at all, they invest in dancing shoes…your feet will love you for it.  (If you choose to do this go for the character shoe and graduate up to the sexy shoe!).  I actually wear a flat dance shoe that looks almost like a slipper.

How to I Got Started Salsa Dancing

So here is how I got started…first I found a community center that had free classes.  These classes taught me some basics and also allowed me to get to know others in the salsa community.  After attending a few times I felt at home with the other participants and began to feel more confident in the moves.  After a while, I noticed the regulars talked about this club in town where they would go to dance.  On their urging I started going to classes there and loved it.  I would go to that club on Thur and Sun nights.  Thur night they had a class and then I stay for dancing afterwards…and Sun night was a two hour class and I stay and dance afterwards.

How You Can Get Started

Most clubs or salsa events start with a free class, which if you participate will allow you to stay in the club for free during the event.  Note, all salsa classes are the same, so you want to determine what type of class you are attending.  Each instructor has their own style and way of teaching.  I have learned the LA style and the Columbia style of salsa…they are slightly different for the women but more different for the male.  The two styles can be blended so don’t let the names scare you.  Also, some clubs don’t differentiate between the names of their classes.  They may call it Latin dance classes or something similar.  In this case, you may learn bachata, cumbia, salsa on one, salsa on two, rueda, etc.  All are cool, just be open to learning.

Making the Time to Dance

The one thing I quickly realized was that most of the places that offered the free classes didn’t open until 8 or 9 at night and were during the week, unless the class was offered at a community center. I encourage you not to make excuses.  I actually used to go home after work and take a nap and then go out to dance.  Now, I learned how to dance prior to being married or having a child. Actually, I met my husband during one of the salsa classes and he became my partner…obviously in more ways than one lol.

The Best Thing I Ever Did

Salsa dancing provided me with so many positives in my life.  First of all, it is totally addictive – in a good way.  It didn’t take me long to get used to the schedule and my body adjusted to all the new movement.  I realized later that I was dancing about 10 hrs every week!!!! yes I said 10 hrs! It also obviously led me to my husband and I have to say it has led many other couples together too. It’s something about dancing salsa that just brings people together.  My husband and I have met so many friends from all over world from the dancing community…it’s like a little family.  Another great benefit is that it also helped me to lose weight without even trying.  So I say all this to say:

1.  Open yourself up to new things…it may be scary at first but it is a lot of fun.

2.  Make exercising fun not a chore…if you aren’t enjoying it you won’t want to do it.

3.  Who knows you may meet your soulmate in the process!

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About Dana LaRieal Morales

Dana LaRieal Morales is the Founder of The Happiness Bucket where she coaches individuals and teams on having a better work-life balance. She is a Certified Project Manager, an Alum of the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where she earned her degree in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice and she is also an Alum of Tennessee State University where she earned her Masters in Public Administration, She uses her vast organization, project management and process improvement experiences to help those around her be the best version of themselves.

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