What kind of dance do you teach?
We teach several popular Latin dances, including salsa, merengue, cha cha, bachata and reggaeton. Our regular classes focus mainly on salsa to start, but we will be expanding our class range soon – so if you’re interested in any particular dance, let us know! We focus on recreational social dancing, and our priority is to make you into a great social dancer who will comfortably lead/follow and adapt to a variety of styles, and be able to hit the dance floor anywhere in the world. At the moment we do not offer professional/competitive training, but if you’re looking to be the next salsa world champion, email us and we can direct you to some of Ottawa’s best competition-style teachers. We do offer choreography classes aimed at performing locally and nationally – stay tuned for details, and we hope to see you at our auditions!
Do I need to bring a partner to class?
No, you will not require a partner to take classes with us, or with most salsa dance schools! Salsa, along with other Latin dances, is a social dance, which requires you to be able to adapt to and dance with as many partners as possible. The only time when staying with the same partner is beneficial would be for competitions or for choreographed dances (such as performances or wedding dances).
I want to take classes with my partner – will we still have to switch partners throughout the class?
You don’t have to, but we highly recommend it. Switching partners allows you to get used to different styles of leading/following and teaches you to adapt to different partners. If you’re planning to go out social dancing, these are invaluable skills that will make you easy and comfortable to dance with. Dancing with only one partner, you’re more likely to adapt to and reinforce each other’s mistakes and bad habits. If you’re only planning on dancing together, or are training for a specific goal (such as a wedding dance), we usually recommend private lessons – you will progress faster and won’t have to worry about partner-switching.
Am I too young/old for your classes?
If you can read this, then probably not! We currently teach adults (ages 16 and up) but we are hoping to launch a children’s program in summer/fall 2013. Our adult classes have no age limits, and our students come from all walks of life. We believe there’s no “wrong” age to start learning how to dance socially.
Can I observe the classes?
Of course you can! Just show up and find a comfy spot!
How do I know which level of class to take?
All our class descriptions tell you what level the class caters to, as well as what you’ll learn in each class. Our Intro to Salsa classes are for absolute beginners. For those with basic knowledge of salsa (basic steps, basic in-place and traveling turns, a few turn patterns and basic styling), you should look into Salsa: Novice classes. They are the equivalent of salsa level 2/3 in most of the other salsa schools in Ottawa. For those who are confident in leading a double turn, executing double spins, timing, and styling, Salsa: Intermediate would be the perfect place for you! They are the equivalent of salsa level 4/5 and usually require about a year of dance experience. Finally, if you are not sure which class is for you, the best way to find out is to drop in and ask one of our teachers for an assessment!
How do I register?
Registration is required for our Intro to Salsa classes, and for special workshops. We will usually have a registration period leading up to the start of the course, but you can also show up to the first class and register then. If you would like to register ahead of time, and can’t make it to one of our events, email us. Our regular classes and workshops don’t require registration – come as you are!
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, cheques, or credit cards (Visa or MasterCard).
What should I wear?
For all classes, we recommend comfortable clothing that won’t impede your movement. For beginners, wear a pair of comfortable shoes that won’t mark up the floor. For gents, an old pair of runners would be fine as well. Please remember that stilettos are not allowed, so we can properly protect and maintain our hardwood dance floor. For anyone past the beginner level, dance shoes are highly recommended.
How long before I get good?
As for most good questions, the answer to this is “it depends”. It depends on your definition of “good” – are you looking to learn enough moves to be able to hold your own on the dance floor? To have every lady in the house swoon at the mere thought of dancing with you? To choreograph a routine that will bring a crowd to their feet? Our Intro to Salsa classes will get you dance floor-ready in 14 weeks – with these moves, you’ll be able to go out and dance comfortably. From then on, your progress will depend on whether you continue to take classes, how much you practice in between classes and how often you go out dancing. The more you dance, the better you will get, and the faster you will progress.
How often should I dance?
Once again, it depends on your goals and on your priorities. You should dance as much as you want to and as much as you enjoy it. You’re doing this for fun, so there’s really no right and wrong when it comes to your personal preference. However, we do recommend practicing in between classes to make sure you retain and perfect what you learn. These don’t have to be structured practice times – practice your basic step while you’re waiting in line; listen to music and pick out the beat while doing your dishes. We also recommend starting to go out social dancing as soon as you’re comfortable (or even a bit earlier), and going out dancing at least once a week.
How can I progress faster?
Practice, practice, practice. Dancing relies on muscle memory, and muscle memory is built through repetition. The more you practice a move, the more it will become ingrained in your muscle memory, and the less you’ll have to actively think about it when you dance. And the more moves you commit to muscle memory, the more you’ll be able to focus on styling and making yourself look great while dancing. So keep practicing! Another way of accelerating your progress is to take a few private classes. Tailored instruction means your teacher will focus on your specific needs and goals, and give you more detailed feedback.
I am interested in teaching a workshop, what should I do?
The spirit of Azúcar! Latin Dance Company is all about collaboration and cross-pollination. We are always on the lookout for the opportunities to try something new, and experiment with different ideas. In our team, we have people with backgrounds in tango, hip hop, ballroom, modern dance, as well as yoga and fitness instructors! Each person has their own philosophy and approach to dancing, and contributes to the unique style of this school! We welcome anyone who is looking to enrich the world of Latin dance, so contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us all about yourself!