You’re in the middle of a social dance, things aren’t going quite right and you’ve got this growing urge to tell your partner what they’re doing wrong.
Stop. Right. There.
If you’re not qualified to teach, don’t do it.
When a dance feels like it’s falling apart, coaching your salsa partner might seem like a great idea, but it ain’t. Here’s why:
- You could be giving out the wrong information, making the problem worse
- You might offend your partner – especially if they’re not great at taking constructive criticism
- Your partner could get annoyed. They haven’t requested your help nor do they want advice from someone who isn’t qualified to give it. Chances are you have technical issues of your own, so they won’t feel like the information is necessarily valid.
Warning: Coaching Your Significant Other Can Get Messy
I’m not sure if I really need to spell this out, but sometimes when you’re too close to someone it’s easy to rub them the wrong way. Learning a new skill is stressful enough, so if your partner is already struggling, a couple misplaced comments from you could be all that’s needed to turn the situation sour and have them projecting their frustration directly at you.
From experience, Patrick and Scarlet recommend completely avoiding any sort of back and forth coaching between intimate partners. They’ve seen things go very wrong in the past – consider yourself warned!
What Should I Do if My Dance Has Turned Into a Disaster? Should I Coach Then?
No. I thought I told you that already?
If you’re in the middle of a bad social dance…
Smile, suck it up and make the best of the situation. Most important of all, be respectful and finish it all the way through.
If your partner is a straight up beginner, it’s critical for them to get the practice they need to improve. Be supportive and nurture that process by being considerate and helpful – it’s the people who do that, that make up a supportive Salsa community. If you don’t want to dance with the person again after that — that’s cool — but never abandon someone in the middle of a dance because you’re not satisfied with their skill level.
If you’re at a Salsa class…
There’s a qualified instructor in the room that can answer any question you or your partner have. If they’re busy, hold your question and flag them down. Don’t start correcting your partner, because you could be giving them “tips” that aren’t correct. Don’t be a part of the problem. Be patient (I know it’s hard – I’ve been there!) and wait for the teacher to come around and help you.
If group classes end up being too slow for you or you feel like you need more personal attention, try setting up a private lesson.
Have You Ever Received Unsolicited Advice?
I’m super curious if anyone out there has a good story about a time when they’ve been unwillingly coached? I know it happens all the time, so go ahead and spill the beans and leave a comment.