Joining a Dance Team

I was recently asked what suggestions I would give to someone wanting to join a dance team and the answer is this:

First, don’t give up too easily.  If you really want something, continue to find paths to explore your enjoyment of it.  When it comes to dance teams, their turn-over is high, which means even if you don’t get in the first time, stay in contact with the team organizer.  You may not make the first round, but even if a better dancer is picked ahead of you, they may not actually join and open a spot for you.  There are also other dance teams, even in a small Salsa dance community like Edmonton.

Second, the competition matters but it is something you have no control over, don’t worry about it.  Your chances of getting on a dance team are high if everyone else who tries out suck.  The opposite is true too but you at least have control over your own abilities and skills.  Know this – the number of great dancers in Edmonton is small and in demand.  Joining a team is easier for good male dancers, who are rare birds, then it is for females.  From my experience, most teams have more than enough females and struggle to find enough men (Maybe the  learning curve has something to do with it)

Third, passion and attitude matter – You may not be best looking, the quickest to learn, but if you show up to every single practice, help the team social dynamics and more than pull your weight (i.e. help run finances, order costumes, etc.), team organizers will prefer you.  It especially works to your advantage if you have a positive history with the team organizer.

Here are a few things to expect once you join.  First, teams change.  Depending on who shows up consistently the team will either be too hard or too easy.  If your frustration level is too high and everybody else seems to be acing everything, maybe you need to step away to bring up your level.  Conversely, if you find the training boring and everyone around you seems to be slow, then find a better team.  From my own experience, our team was virtually unrecognizable from the time it started until our first performance at the Calgary congress.  It then dissolved as people stepped away for personal reasons and became something anew.

Don’t think of a dance team as the last stop – they are stepping stones.  Aim for a better team, but start with a newly formed one first.  Once you build a reputation, you will join smaller and smaller dance teams until, you and a partner are killing at the next congress.

As an aside – teams are usually good value for your money if you are dedicated – most team organizers also teach lessons in a variety of other similar dance types.  For a flat monthly fee, anywhere from $100 to $150 depending on the team’s ambitions, travel and outfit costs, you can take those other dance classes for free.

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