A common statement: She is a good dancer.
Another typical utterance: He is not.
But: both are dancers.
Is a good dancer someone with a long-honed instinct for rhythm? People who have just the right move for a beat—the step for the tune, the move for the groove—are called good dancers. Everyone knows someone like this. They are eye-catching, effortlessly smooth, endlessly energetic, at one with the music and themselves.
But can a good dancer not be someone without the self-assured ease of practice with music who, nonetheless, finds the courage to enter a dance floor and join the flow? Off-tune. Out of rhythm. Not moving in exactly the right way that the song suggests. There is, after all, no shortage of uncles who insist they can moonwalk. What if the person—the bad dancer—has so much joy from what they are doing and in finding that happiness through movement are able to make people around them happy too?
What makes a person a good dancer?
There is no authoritative answer.
Rather, the following theory is posited at The Salsa Club: a good dancer is someone who, in the process of finding their own freedom and dancing without fear, encourages others to do the same.
On the dance floor this manifests itself as practice which hones timing; dedication despite disappointment which encourages improvement, whether quick or slow, big or small; and curiosity which leads to experimentation. Coupled with consideration for other dancers in a social setting, these qualities shape The Salsa Club’s teaching philosophy and form the lenses through which famous dancers around the world—from Rafael Barros and Carine Morais, Simone Sanfillipo and Serena Mase, to the Mambo King himself, Eddie Torres—are admired. While these dancers perform and compete on the world stage, winning titles and continuously pushing the frontiers of movement, their rhythmic feats are the end-products of long dancing careers which commenced with a simple fact: AbCD—anybody can dance.
All dancers, whether they be famous performers from communities where rhythm is part of their culture, or a group of dance enthusiasts at the salsa club at the end of the world, are bound by the principle that anyone, over time, and with practice, can learn how to dance. The primordial nature of dancing—the flexing and extension of limbs as the beat dictates, the infection of melody, the submission to the music—is an open invitation to move. All it takes to become better is time, dedication, and a keen sense of adventure.
Whether one is a good or bad dancer is the wrong inquiry. At The Salsa Club dance is both the question and the answer:
Featuring the likes of Faithless, Oliver $ and Jimi Jules, Fatboy Slim, Jamiroquai, and Pharrell Williams, this compilation curates the spirit and energy of dancing without fear, and celebrating good music with movement.
Why Go—Faithless featuring Estelle
Pushing On—Oliver $ & Jimi Jules
Weapon Of Choice—FatBoy Slim featuring Bootsy Collins
Dancing’s ultimate aim is to entice everyone to move in some small way: more makes merrier, after all. The constant goal to tempt as many people as possible to dance is achieved in numerous ways. There is none better than simplicity. Tio Choko’s “cowboy thrust” was the rage in 2020, and it is easy to see why: one motion, one rhythm, and a world of possibilities.
Dance challenges like Tio Choko’s cowboy thrust or the Jerusalema, through their simplicity, are magnetic. Simple steps, repetition, and immediate membership in the dancing world—such cultural phenomenons prove yet again that anybody really can dance.
And get a new belt.