The focus on the lesson was simply patterns that involved:
- Outside turn.
- Right turn.
- Crossbody lead.
- Crossbody lead, inside turn.
Billy Bob started his lesson with a series of warm up steps involving basic steps. He kind of a push forward and backward step that I typically would call a scissor step. After that was all over we paired with partners and focused on the crossbody lead.
I have to agree that the crossbody lead is one of the 3 important fundamentals one should understand in salsa (Turning and open breaks being the other two). Any instructor that focuses on being detailed on these three, in my opinion, is on the right track.
However I took it into consideration to learn how to crossbody lead in exactly the same way as it was being taught. Billy Bob's teachings on the crossbody lead involves the leader during the push forward step and an upper body lead that pulls the follower pass the body.
Also, the follower is informed of the crossbody lead at the 7th count prior to the first count (the first step towards the follower).
For those readers not familiar with the hell I'm talking about, all I'm trying to say is that Billy Bob tells the woman what to do a beat sooner than what I would do.
It took some finesse to really get it done the same way. I can do a crossbody lead, and I can teach it in my own way, but it's really wierd to learn something that is so universal but yet it can be taught differently and performed differently.
I teach in my classes that the objective of the crossbody lead is to get the follower from point A to precisely point B, it doesn't say how it should be done.
As a reminder, I am taking the lesson as someone who is learning to dance, not someone who has had years of experience. It was the mindset I put myself into.
It takes work to learn how to salsa dance. As I listen to Billy Bob I made sure I did all of the movements he wanted, how and where to hold the arms, the position of the feet, everything. To hold all those positions take work.
It was easy to understand the lesson, but it was difficult to take the lesson on. I don't have that connection with my partner, she's trying to learn herself. So here I was, focusing on myself and leading while my partner was also focusing on the same thing.
One of the difficulties of teaching salsa is when you have to do it alone. Billy Bob taught the steps for both the men and the women but something was missing from it, something very similar to other instructors who teach it alone or when only one person does all the talking.
Even when I wasn't dancing at normal pace, I could feel the energy draining as I focused intently on what I was doing. It was quite a strange feeling.
once the lesson was over after an hour I felt that it wasn't enough, yet I was drained from the experience. I did the steps, I understood them but I felt that I didn't have enough practice to really remember the steps. It didn't feel natural yet.
So back to regular-me again. The other observation I didn't mention was how nervous one would be feeling. Here I am, dancing with a complete stranger and I don't want to look stupid, so I'm working hard not to look stupid.