For many of us, exposure to styles of movement and dance is limited to our own cultural context. By breaking outside of what we are comfortable with, we can learn some great new moves, appreciation for new things, learn a skill that makes us stand out in the crowd, build our confidence in ourselves and our ability to connect with people. Dance is a powerful mode of human, bodily expression. Learning new dances and sticking with them to understand their context and culture can be a great way of expanding your horizons and worldview. Here’s why every man should learn Latin dance.
Why Every Man Should Learn Latin Dance
New Dances, New Moves
Forcing your body to learn new ways of interacting with
music can help you learn to express new emotions and new experiences. Since
music is a beat that fills the air and literally moves through our molecules,
dance is a rhythmic response to that musical expression. Learning new dances
and new dance moves is about more than just having a few tricks up your sleeve
at your next wedding–although yes, I suppose that’s a plus as well–it’s about
opening up your body to new ways of expressing yourself in the world. Dance is
a wonderful and sometimes underrated art form that many of us do not practice
as often as we should.
Connect to New Culture and People
If you don’t have Latin heritage, like me, your exposure to Latinx culture might be embarrassingly limited to things like food. While food is a bodily experience in its own right, taking the time to learn new ways of moving your body is a tangible step to building an understanding and framework of new cultures and new people.
Approach it not with the confidence of appropriation, but with the grace and humility of someone seeking to learn. Ask for help. Learn not only the moves, but also the etiquette, history, and philosophy behind the dance. There’s a difference between the person who takes a single Latin dance class as a novelty while on vacation, and the person who immerses themselves in the skill to open up their understanding of the world.
A Free Skill
You don’t need to pay for a class or embarrass yourself in
front of strangers (although that might be the quickest way to learn). Learning
a new dance is as easy as pulling up youtube and slapping a search term into
the engine, and you’ll get hundreds of hours of instructional videos free of
charge. In a world where any content is accessible anytime from our phones, we
often jump from trending search to trending search without developing a skill
that has staying power.
Deciding to use your free time to learn some Latin dance moves will not only help you connect with wider cultures and sensibilities, but it will help you gain new disciplines and practices. Do something you’ll remember and value instead of continuing the mindless scroll down social media.
Dances to Learn
New forms of expression, a greater understanding of
different modes of life, and the chance to learn a new skill should be enough
to motivate you to give new dances a try.
Salsa, Bachata, and Samba are all great starting points for
the ambitious world-dancer. Salsa originated in the U.S.A. from Cuban folk
dance, and many places will offer a salsa dance night. Hop over to YouTube to
pick up the basics, then grab a friend and hit the town!