Did you know? After giving classes for years, we decided to start a project to teach and revitalize Cuban Rueda and Rueda de Casino in Madrid – Dame2Salsa! A founding principle was to use a standard. That way, all of our students can dance together all over the world, regardless of skill level or language. That tenet alone has influenced many rueda adventures this past year!
January 2018: Sporty Rueda Almazenada
We started the year with one new project in mind. We set out to train a group of 18 students to compete in our favorite sporty-rueda memory challenge: La Liga de Rueda Almazenada, invented by our friend Enrique Solla. While not as stress free as an improvised rueda, we love the challenge and accessibility of it, especially the standardized practice it gives to our students. One day, this game will be its own standard!
June 2018: Rueda competition
This past spring, some of our students decided to piece together many standard moves (and some inventions of their own) to compete in a local rueda competition. Working from a standard not only helped their choreography and creativity (look at that tunnel!), but made it accessible for people watching. We are so proud of them!
August 2018: Ruedas in the sand
We spent most of August on the coast of Alicante disconnecting from city life, and trying to connect with fellow rueda lovers. While most of the local salsa scene revolves around línea style, we set out to find the Cuban style dancers with our siren call of rueda. With just one Rueda, we immediately attracted other Cuban dancers and rueda lovers who normally never get the chance to practice. They even taught us some hysterical local moves (e.g., enchufla peter pan)!
September 2019: World Rueda Congress
We’ve died and gone to Rueda standard heaven. All we can say is that this felt like a support group for rueda addicts. We learned so much (workshops, experimental labs, socials) and met so many new friends. We can’t wait for 2019, 2020, and basically every year until we die.
September 2018: Rueda in the Park
To kick off the new salsademic course, we held a free event in Madrid’s Retiro Park for students and any salsa dancers who wanted to picnic and dance. Every couple of songs we called a rueda and lots of veteran dancers, who were new to it, joined in. Our favorite part of the day was when one of them said that they were amazed at the ¨good vibes¨ (buen rollo) our group had. Of course! When you dance rueda, change partners, and call silly moves, you’re bound to be in a good mood!
October 2018: Back to school!
This year we’ve welcomed students from all over the world to our school in Madrid. They don’t just come from Spain, but from all across Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Austrailia. If they ever leave us, we can, at least, be consoled by the promise that they’ll continue to spread Rueda around the world. No matter where you are from, you can learn salsa!
December 2018: Hungary for Rueda
After our first Christmas rueda, we went to close out 2018 in Budapest. And, as on any trip to a new city, we were really eager to check out their local salsa scene. While we found people were a little shy asking each other to dance, that all ended when we started rueda! After just one full of standard moves, many wanted to join. We even joined in a bigger rueda called by the house singer, who used 90% standard and only a few local favorites. Maybe one day they will even become standard, who knows!
January 2019: Rueda love is in the air
We are closing out our year-long Rueda journal with lots of great Rueda memories and milestones, including some recent ruedas in Berlin, our first wedding Rueda (complete with newlyweds), and the news (and honor) of representing Madrid in the world rueda flashmob (in March)! Check out the details on our events page!
We are more energized than ever! Stay tuned for 2019… y que viva la rueda!
We get asked if we offer free salsa lessons in Madrid a lot. Maybe even more often than that, people ask us if they can try a class before enrolling in our academy. In this article, we are going to explain why we don’t do either.
The first, and most important, reason we don’t give free lessons at Dame2Salsa, is that we maintain balanced groups. In the class that you are looking to sign up for, there aren’t 10 spots available. In actuality, there are 5 spots for leaders and 5 spots for followers. This way you will always have someone to dance with when you come to class!
Another important reason is that we always organize “closed” groups. In other words, once the new course begins; new students aren’t admitted until the next session. If we offered free salsa lessons, or if the first class was a trial, we couldn’t maintain this policy. Between all of the people who just come to try a class or drop out immediately, we’d have to constantly keep the groups open. Having a closed group is a commitment we make to our students. No more repeating lessons on dile que no, enchufla, and setenta every month just because new people keep trickling in. Instead, we can keep advancing and improving together, at a good pace!
The third reason is that our groups are small. If we had groups of 25 or 50 people, as you may have seen in some places, we wouldn’t mind people stopping by to try a class. But, at Dame2Salsa, our classes are made up of only 6 to 14 students. This way, we know who you are, we call you by your name, and we care about your (specific) learning and improvement. We also take notes on which steps each student struggles with and have them in mind when teaching. Basically, we are tracking your salsistic career! We care about you!
Why some and not others?
Here are some equally important reasons, not related to the group organization. For example, the fourth and final reason is that it just seems plain unfair. It’s unfair to the rest of the students who are paying for a class that another person is taking for free. It’s also unfair because we do not like to work for free. Dame2Salsa is our company and passion. Even though, at some point at an event or something, we may give some basic explanation to get people dancing, it’s not the same as an organized class. Classes take place at the dance studio and cost us a lot of time, money, and effort.
Some may criticize us by saying that if our classes are so great and fun, we shouldn’t fear offering free salsa lessons, since everyone who tries them out would sign up. Unfortunately, the reasoning is not so simple; there are many reasons why someone who tries a class doesn’t end up staying. Starting with the most obvious one, they come and go because trying is free and we tend not to value what is given to us for free. Also, especially in the lower levels, students can get the feeling that it the class is moving too fast, without taking into account the scheduled review classes coming up. For us, the indicator that our classes are good is that students meet the objectives we set for them and whole groups usually come back year after year.
We hope this has clarified why we do not offer free salsa classes, that you can understand our point of view, and as always … long live RUEDA!