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Lesson 4: Freezing

"Salsa Bachata Class Accelerator" Lesson 4: Freezing

The video below is part of a paid program on one of our sister sites. We're giving the program away for free here at Movers and Shakers.

This "Local Class Learning Accelerator" series is about learning how to learn.

The series will teach you to squeeze the absolute most benefit from your salsa and bachata classes.

The series is meant to be completed in order, so start from Lesson 1.

Audio Transcript: Below is the audio transcript of this lesson. Headers have been added.

All right, let's talk about freezing in the middle of class. So one strategy that I'll use in class as an instructor a lot is I'll explain something, we'll go through it a few times, and then when we have music on or not, maybe we're just counting, when the students are not expecting it, I'll say freeze. 

So for example, we'll be doing a turn, a right turn, right?


So we go 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 1, 2, 3, 5, and then I'll say freeze.  

I'll go freeze, 1, and then the whole class will stop on 1.  

Then I turn around and I look at everybody, and let's say I'm looking for a turnout in their feet.

It's just one example, right? Whatever it is. I'm looking for something that I want to go fix in everybody and even though we just taught it 60 seconds ago, immediately people go back to their old habits of not turning out, for example, again, whatever that thing may be and this happens, I see this every single day in my life. People go back to their old habits, and they don't realize that they're going back to their old habits.

Improving Dance Skills with Self-Awareness 

Developing your dancing really comes down to self-awareness. Just awareness of your body in space, and how many things you can be aware of at a time or when you get them into your muscle memory, so subconscious, you won't even have to think about a lot of things. But when you're learning something new, it comes down to awareness.  

So if an instructor tells you to do something, you fix it once or fix it twice, and then you immediately go back to your old bad habit, now you're just drilling in the old bad habit, which literally, on a scientific level, on a physical level, creates new pathways in your brain.

Breaking Old Habits and Refining Your Dance Technique

Think of it like an old record. So a record spins, and the needle, depending on your age, you may or may not be familiar with this, but anyway, a record spins, and the needle's on the record, and the record has grooves.  Every time that record spins around, that needle digs those grooves just a little bit deeper, just a little bit deeper, a little bit deeper.

The same thing happens in your brain. Every time you repeat a pattern, a movement, it creates new pathways that get ingrained into your body on a physical level. New pathways are being created a little bit more and a little bit more. So if you immediately go back to your old habit and start repeating that again and again in a wrong way, then it gets harder and harder to fix.  

So strategically, as a dancer, as a student in classes, you want to keep yourself in check and fix those things as early as possible.

Take Charge of Your Learning: Freeze, Check, and Improve

Not every instructor is going to tell you to freeze in class and fix things. Or maybe if they do, they can't do that every minute, even if they are having students freeze on occasion in class and going around and fixing them or if it's a big class, there's no way they can go around and fix everybody. That's no fault of the instructor.

So you have to take it upon yourself to manage your own learning, and what I want you to do is when you need to freeze and check yourself, you just freeze. So what I mean by that is you'll be doing a pattern, you'll do it a couple of times, the music will be going, or they'll be counting, everybody's going. And then all of a sudden you stop. Everybody else is still going. Fine, let it be. But I want you to stop in the middle of class and check yourself. Oh, is my foot where it needs to be? Or whatever that one thing you're focusing on at that moment, right?

Again, you don't have to be perfect with everything at every moment. Focus on one thing. Any one thing you approve in a single day is a great success. So focus on that one thing. Okay, got it. Do it again. Okay, the class is going with music, maybe I can catch up or maybe not, who cares? Maybe I'm just going to stand here and I'm going to do it again. Okay, got it.

So they're all doing their thing, which is fine. Okay, got it and a lot of times what happens in class is people are watching the instructor and repeating mindlessly. But what you're doing is you're training yourself to focus on the things that actually create improvement and I say this very humbly because I am so guilty of this as well. I can go into class and I can repeat things mindlessly and then the instructor says, okay, let me see. I'm like, oh man, I don't remember it because I wasn't focused on it. I was just thinking about whatever, lunch, and just copying what they did.

You do YOU and Take Control of HOW to Improve Yourself

So instead, you have to be really diligent about training your focus. Don't be embarrassed, right? If you're not keeping up with the class, nobody's watching you or if they are watching you, who cares? The truth is most people are looking at themselves because, whatever, they're just looking at themselves, right? They're not looking at you and again, if they're looking at you, who cares?


So you do your thing. You get what you need out of class and you stop in the middle and fix that thing. Fix it four times, five times and then come back to the pattern. Okay, got the pattern and that part, you're gonna feel so much more confident in that little part. Ah, I got that. And again, remember, one thing improved is a big win in any class, in any lesson, in any day.


So allow yourself to do what you need. Take that time to stop in class and focus on that one thing you need to focus on. Please go ahead and start implementing that right away before we get to the next mission. 

Salsa Bachata Class Learning Accelerator Lessons

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