Similar to the belt system in martial arts, the armband denotes your stage of progression in dance. Each level has its own requirements and you should fulfill most of them in order to attain that rank.
The Disciple System
Unlike other studios, Mambo Club is a non-profit entity; our passion is to produce great dancers and our system is modeled after discipleship in traditional martial arts. There are no fees involved in the personal training; however, your progress is dependent on you, how dedicated you are and if you can perform the required techniques to graduate. Some trainees graduates in months, whereas others never graduates at all.
1 on 1 Feedback
Since booking space is difficult on campus, it is not feasible to run an advanced class. Also due to the skill level discrepancy of individuals in the intermediate class, it is not possible to dive into advanced topics. To progress on an individual level, we have to rely on form check videos. Upon reviewing these videos, your instructor will be able to identify bad habits/mistakes and will be able to correct them in person after class during the practice session.
What is looking good in salsa? How do we quantify visuals when dance is an art form? There are many factors that comes into play but here are the 3 major breakdowns in the Mambo teaching style. Like a painting, your art form must look good to an untrained audience and not just to other dancers.
1. Technicality: things you learn in class, this includes staying on beat, proper form, pattern design and flow, musicality etc.
2. Chemistry: this is the connection to your partner, does it look like you are having fun? are you smiling? are there sparks flying between you two? If the audience blushes while watching, you have succeeded!
3. Aura: this is also known as stage presence. In martial arts term, this is call the "strength at the end of the finger tips", meaning that the performer is so confident of his/her form that even his finger tips are engaged. Styling, poses, physique and dress code all plays into this category.
The lead in salsa generally has a steep learning curve in the beginning. They must learn the fundamentals and recalling combos at the same time, this is generally an overwhelming process and progress can be very slow. About 50% of leads will not pass this plateau as it requires consistent homework to overcome. 2nd plateau occurs if the lead does not film himself. His form will start to deviate and bad habits will accumulate. This is a common zone that many leads fall into as their current level is “good enough” to dance socially. 3rd plateau occurs if the lead does not care about the layering of the music and therefore is dancing robotically to the patterns he designed earlier. He will always be performing the same routines regardless of the circumstances.
Contrast to the lead’s early plateau, the follow does not encounter one until much later on. This is because the follow does not need to think about combos while learning the fundamentals. 1st plateau occurs when the follow can now follow the majority of moves on the dance floor. Similar to the lead’s 2nd plateau, this is the “good enough” point for casual social dancing. 2nd plateau occurs if the follow does not receive any feedback. Same with the lead, her form will deviate, bad habits will accumulate, and travel distance increases. She will also likely become very heavy to lead as she lacks anticipation in her following. 3rd plateau occurs if the follow never films herself. Her styling is purely external; she is mimicking someone else’s styling without internally knowing why they occur. If advanced basics/body dynamics are not understood here, bizarre manifestation of contrasting styling can occur.
- completed intermediate class & shows up to practice regularly
- not involved in other latin dance club/school
- has purchased dance shoes and have gone out social dancing
- have sent at least 10 form check videos
- have mastered suspension
- helped out during club events
- leads: can lead all the fundamental movements from beginners & intermediates and do a double spin
- follows: can do the paper technique during inside turns
Once you have your armband, you no longer have to pay for classes. You are now a class Teaching Assistant.
- have selected an "idol" for patterns and styling
- have posted at least 10 partnered videos
- have helped teach the beginner classes
- goes out social dancing regularly
- have mastered advanced basics and the applications of advanced basics
- leads: have mastered the collect-360, non-class patterns and combo design
- follows: have mastered the hip prep for doubles, hand styling and body isolations
Once you have your red band, you have the option to teach the classes.