Salsa & Languages have more in common than you thought

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Hi, everybody! Sebastián here. Today I didn’t want to write the continuation of my trip to China, because I suddenly realized about a topic I’m going to take into account.

I think that you are very familiar to salsa: a hot Latin dance originated by influence of African slaves in Caribbean Spanish colonies, such as Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Due to globalization and Cuban diaspora in USA, salsa started to massificate its influence. Salsa is so related to Latin cultura that one of the principal reason to learn Spanish is to learn salsa from the best ones. Dancing is one of the best activities you must learn, not only because of all the benefits while doing this, but also, to increase your social skills. Salsa is one of the most popular rhythms asked in every discotheque and it has the reputation of being so hot… if you still don’t believe me, just watch this 14-year-old sweetly cleaning the floor with a hot salsa teacher.

So… what does salsa have to do with language learning?

The reason exposed above (Spanish) it’s not the only match (using Tinder slang). I use to attend salsa lessons, every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 to 10 in a club called “Pata Negra”, for free. So, I’m learning sequences of moves every class, after a little warm-up, where all basic steps are reviewed. In the class (divided in basic, intermediate and advanced levels), you learn the sequence with progressive repetition, until you finally nail it. After the class, every level reviews publicly those moves. After these highlights, now it’s time to hit the iceberg.

 

Every sequence is a combination of moves. We all agree that every step seems really good, but now a combination makes a combo that brings you to the next level.

We all agree also that sentences may be viewed as a combination of words.

 

As in languages, all the moves in sequence may be isolated, and new sequences may be created by yourself. While in languages, you may be learning with a book when you learn by heart new sentences, but at a real conversation you surely won’t use those sentences, but rather you’ll create another ones using the words you previously have learned.

 

The same happens in dancing: either if you’re practicing by yourself or you’re in a party dancing, in most of the cases, you’re not with your prefered couple while learning, and probably your couple doesn’t know to dance, neither as s/he doesn’t know that you have attended lessons. But, as in languages, it doesn’t matter, because what is important is to have a good time, even if you screw the whole sequence. But you must not show that you have screwed it, but to continue as it didn’t happened whatsoever. S/he won’t know, s/he won’t test you. Maybe you will hear: “You’re a great dancer”, while you will know that you made the dance fluently, that you didn’t awkwardly stopped. The clue here is to enjoy the whole song you’re dancing at with a great company. In a conversation with a foreign languages, a native speaker surely will understand you even if you’re messing up grammar or pronunciation. In most of the cases, s/he will be pleased that you’re speaking in his/her language. You’ll hear compliments are: “You speak very well (insert name of your target langue)” or “Your (target language) is excellent”.

 

While I was discussing this topic with my cousin, she agreed and she added this right damn thing:

As langauges, dancing is so human

 

Yep, ladies and gentleman. Dancing is a social skill that can be upgraded or practiced massively, and so is language learning. So, next time you’re learning a language, think outside the box: maybe you’re seeing it in a wrong way. And get your favourite sneakers, wear them and get up to the floor.

Finally, I want to end this entry with a good salsa song. Hope you enjoy it. Let’s dance!

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