I'm Jan. I'm passionate about writing and all things creative. I love exploring Melbourne and am settling into my new life here. I look forward to sharing my adventures. Visit my blog at www.janijans.com or follow my colourful instagram @janijans
Published June 4th 2018
1 2 3 clap 5 6 7 clap. 1 2 3 clap 5 6 7. Get with the rhythm folks and 1 2 3 clap 5 6 7 clap. What is all this counting and clapping? Well, this is the rhythm of Salsa – not the tasty sauce, but the tasty dance. This is the rhythm may change your life if you step into the world of Latin dance. That happened to me. I am addicted to Salsa – the dance, not the sauce.
I've always wanted to Salsa dance and I decided to try it when I moved to Melbourne. I quickly became hooked. There's a great Latin dance movement here and I've gone to places and watched in awe as people effortlessly danced. I decided that I needed to find a place where I could see if I had what it took to learn Salsa and become one of those people. One of those people who says "Yes, I can Salsa!"
I came across The Salsa Foundation (TSF). Perfect, I thought. They are based in the city and have a free beginners Salsa class. I took the class and have been going back nearly every week for the past two years. And why? Because the 1 2 3 clap 5 6 7 clap that is Salsa, became a regular part of my life. It's both ritual and routine. I would find myself chanting this as I went about my day. 1 2 3 clap 5 6 7 clap. Everyday things started to get the rhythm of Salsa. 1 2 3 clap 5 6 7 clap. I was hooked.
Classes are held at the Seafarers Club on Little Collins Street. It's a quirky place with lots of dance activity happening most nights of the week.
The memories of my first class have stayed with me. I was nervous. I wasn't sure if I could follow along, but I did and I got a taste for more.
The beginner Salsa class is fun and easy and you will feel a sense of achievement after just one hour. There is no obligation to sign up for anything and you can repeat the class if you are still unsure if you wish to progress your Salsa. You don't need to take a partner as you will dance with others who are there.
By the end of the free class you will have learnt some simple moves and the 1 2 3 clap 5 6 7, will be a rhythm that's hard to forget. TSF also offers other Latin dance styles and levels to broaden your dance repertoire.
If you are keen (as I was) you move to the "basics" level class. Here you really do learn the foundations of Salsa and this will get your social dancing underway. All classes, apart from the free beginners, run in a one-month block, for one night a week.
After the basics, you move to Level 2 and it really gets fun. Each month you will learn a series of dance patterns that focusses on one move. These run in a six-month block. Prepare to learn the art of inside, outside and block turns, hammerlocks and copa – that's the Salsa lingo and you can join any time in the six-month period, as the patterns keep rotating.
I have stayed with this level. I am not looking to progress further, but if you are, you can work your way up. I am not sure what lies beyond Level 2, as my interest is purely for the social aspect. You get to meet new people, improve your fitness, enjoy social dancing and who knows, you might find love. Seems dance has a magical way of bringing people together.
TSF is run by Jai and Diane who are hands-on dance teachers. The school has additional dance teachers and great volunteers, all who make you feel like you are part of their extended family. It's great going to a place that makes you feel so welcome and one where you will be having lots of fun and laughs while learning to dance in a really supported environment.
They have open practice sessions on Sunday afternoon where you can work on your technique and practice your moves. Practice is the key. You don't need a partner for this either, as there are plenty of willing people available to dance with.
You can also have private tuition, take part in their dance boot camps or really show off your dance skills in the showcases, which are held during the year.
Having invested my time into learning to dance and seeking out social dancing, I now feel like I am one of "those people", who is dancing, rather than watching.
On reflection, Latin dancing is universal. It won't matter where you travel in the world, there's likely to be a community where you can join in with others who have something in common - Salsa. The dance, not the sauce. You just need to take the first dance step and start to count. 1 2 3 clap 5 6 7 clap.