top of page

Lesson 9: Managing Your Eyes

"Salsa Bachata Class Accelerator" Lesson 9: Managing Your Eyes

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.

Let's talk about managing your eyes during class.


So what I see a lot of is people looking at their feet. Especially when we're doing shines and and doing things that are focused on the feet and I get it, we want to bring our attention to whatever we're focusing on and trying to fix.


Break the Habit of Looking Down 

The counterintuitive thing, though, is that if you stop looking at your feet and look up. Sometimes it actually becomes easier to do the movement, and this is an unexpected thing or to me it feels unexpected and it's a really interesting thing.


So, a lot of times in class, I'm telling people - Look up. Look up. Look up. and they'll look up and I'll go - See you did it even better. They go - Yeah, that was easier. Oh. Interesting.

People tend to fall back into the habit of looking at their feet. So what we have to do is become really self-aware and diligent in managing our eyes. So that you're not always looking at your feet. It's okay to look at the feet a little bit, but then when you look up and the movement becomes more of about a feeling because all you have there is a feeling in your feet as opposed to visual where you're trying to make something happen with your eyeballs, it just becomes easier. 

Sometimes I joke with people like, look up. I promise your feet are still going to be there and they are, and it tends to make things easier. So that's part one of managing your eyes.

Transitioning Your Focus from the Instructor to Yourself

Now Part 2 is whether you're looking at the instructor or looking at yourself, or looking at nothing. All right, so when we're learning a pattern first, of course, we're going to look at the instructor and probably spend most of the class looking at the instructor again and again and again. Many instructors may do the pattern with you every single time for the entire class.


Here's the thing though. Eventually, you need to stop looking at the instructor because when we're looking at them, it becomes a form of being lazy when you're learning something. Fine, but then you start following it without thinking, and you're just kind of doing what they're doing, and then they go to turn the music on or or they stop doing it and it's like, how do I do this so? or even worse, you leave the class and you can't do it at all.

So you need to be responsible for your own eyes and weaning yourself away from looking at the instructor, so do it maybe 10 times with the instructor and then look at yourself, okay? and just know for that time whatever happens, I'm just going to do my best. I know the pattern in my head. I'm just going to give it my best shot and then maybe you go back to the instructor, Oh I needed to fix this, then back to yourself.


Dance with Intent and Take Control of Your Focus 

The only person that's going to manage your eyes is YOU.

Nobody can tell you now, you need to do this now, you need to do that. Only you know what's best for you at any particular moment in class. You have to be strategic about how you approach your class and know when you need to take your eyes off the instructor, so first going to take your eyes off the instructor and start to do it yourself, and maybe you're looking in the mirror and maybe you're still kind of figuring out the pattern and then I want you to eventually have a soft focus and not even look at yourself.


Just maybe you're looking up a little bit so your eyes aren't getting distracted by yourself, dancing, looking up and that's when you really start to get in your body. We talked before about trying less, this is when you can actually really start to relax and just let it go and instead of thinking I'm going to get every single little movement, just like the instructor, there comes a time when you have to stop doing that and say I know the pattern, I'm going to get every single movement as I do it in my expression because ultimately, I mean, it's kind of an advanced concept.

Ultimately, everybody develops their own style of dance and it's not something that's even necessarily done intentionally. It just is because we're all different as humans.

Let Loose and Work on Your Own Expression 

So what you can do is during class, you can start to pull away from the instructor, look at yourself, and then look up and have the soft focus and then just let it be you. Fine, maybe you screw it up a little bit, but at least for the parts that you've got the part of the parts of the pattern that you got.

At least it's your expression of yourself. OK, then you go back to the instructor. Oh, I'm going to fix this, I want that element to be nicer. Oh, I need to remember that little piece of the pattern and then back to the mirror and then soft focus looking up.

Two Most Important Things to Remember

Alright, so there are two parts to managing your eyes. The first is not looking at your feet, or at least if you are looking at your feet, do it just a couple of times and then look up. Remind yourself, look up, look up, look up alright and just let your feet do what they got to do, they'll know what to do.


The second part is taking your eyes off of the instructor gradually so you can actually dance instead of trying to copy, and you can start to let it go and have your own expression. So those are the two parts of managing your eyes during class. 

Salsa Bachata Class Learning Accelerator Lessons

© 2024 MaS Dance, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

bottom of page