Salsa Classes Singapore: Basic Class and Importance realized

Salsa Basic and Importance realized

Four months ago, curiosity prompted me to sign up for my first basic salsa class at my university in Singapore, as part of my initiation into this next phase of my academic life. I had always had a interest in dance – watching dance performances through secondary school and junior college days awoke in me a desire to someday emulate the lithe, fluid movements of the performers on stage. However, I had had no formal training or experience with dances like ballet or hip-hop, which many of the performers had mastery of (or at least some exposure to). As a result, I spent much of my pre-adolescent and teenage life wanting, and yet hesitating to, pursue my interest in dance, held back by a worry of being unable to keep up with others.

Imagine my great relief then when, upon turning up for my first basic class on the university grounds, I found myself among both boys and girls who seemed just as “beginner” as I felt, all wonder-eyed and eager to learn. I found even greater encouragement when I discovered that I was able to pick up the basic steps relatively easily. In fact, I enjoyed myself so much that I took advantage of every opportunity to dance salsa in social settings – at union square, after a dance class, or at salsa party events organized by schoolmates.

With the increased exposure and the frequent practice that this way of life afforded, I found myself improving at a rate that felt, to my previously apprehensive and hesitant mind, nothing less than miraculous and phenomenal. Within the short space of about two months, I found myself learning to follow the lead of an experienced salsa dancer on the social dance floor, and was quite astonished to find myself becoming able to execute moves which had not been taught to me in class. This served as a great motivator to me, and encouraged me to sign up for intermediate salsa classes in school, where I learnt the proper moves involved in executing more complicated variations of the basic dance steps.

By the time I signed up for the semipro package at Xenbar, I had the audacity to believe that I had already, or at least almost, “graduated” from basic level salsa. This overinflated opinion was partly due to the high and shock of having received first place in the beginners category during evaluations. Winning a trophy for anything regarding dance was definitely beyond my wildest dreams! it knocked my sense of reality completely off-balance.

Trusting to Justin’s wisdom nevertheless, I dutifully set my schedule up to attend at least two salsa basic lessons a week with Xenbar instructors on top of semipro performance training. After attending just three sessions, I was rather amazed to discover that many of the students there were experienced dancers, some of whom had been dancing up to advanced level salsa for years! Upon enquiry, the reply was always the same: “Basics are important. You must always go back to the basics.” This was completely not what I expected of what I perceived as a “beginners” class.

It was not until my second week of training with the semipro crowd, however, that I realized just how lacking I was in the basic techniques needed to progress to a higher level of understanding. I became aware of important fundamentals, such as the proper way to “hook”, the type and degree of tension required for a smooth lead and follow, or even how to execute a spin with the correct preparation. I had not even known that such techniques existed, as they were never communicated to me in my classes at school.

This really impressed on me that simply being able to execute the moves does not mean that you can “dance salsa”, particularly if you want to dance it well. It also made me, once again, to feel thankful for my good fortune in finding dedicated and well-learned instructors at Xenbar, in stark contrast to the classes I had taken in school. I will definitely never underestimate the status or importance of salsa “basic” class again. It has become, for me, a chance to gather, practise and master techniques fundamental to the dance, and a crucial step in my pursuit of improvement. Such an attitude is in accordance with just what the class is and should be, and I believe most people who go through the basic course will find that they feel just the same way.

- Candice, 11 january 2007

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Starlinn Actfa DanceSTARLINN CHOO YANQING joined the SFDF program in 2004 while studying in NUS, training 12 hours a day; she completed her SFDF, Diploma & IHDC courses in 3 years, using her teaching income to finance her classes in Diploma & IHDC. In 2008 she pursued her IMDC Dance Business & is now doing her 3 years IPHDC Dance Product Research. While pursuing her IHDC she was already traveling around the world for assignments. more


Bianca Actfa DanceBIANCA enrolled in the SFDF course after A-levels. Within 6 months she was dancing as a backup dancer for MTV. She has also traveled to many countries like Germany, UK, Taiwan & Hong Kong to teach & perform, & was offered a position to dance in a few Musical plays. 


 Libin Actfa DanceLB, a masters degree holder working for a MNC, decided to do a career switch after he completed his SFDF. He then worked as an International Sales Manager in dance products, an international artist & dance instructor. He is the Singapore Bachata Champion 2008 and the 1st runner up in the Asia Salsa Championship behind Serge and Polina from Russia in 2010. more


manfred Actfa DanceMANGGOH was one of the elite few selected for the Mediacorp Dance Academy in 2000. He graduated from NTU with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and used to work as a Project Manager in the IT Industry. He passed his examination & evaluation for SFDF and is currently doing his Diploma & IHDC. more


maricel Actfa DanceMARICEL, a professional dancer from the Philippines, joined SFDF in 2009. In less than a year, she has performed at the Esplanade Da:ns Festival 2009, Salsa Cruise Asia 2009, & has also been to China to teach & perform. In 2010 she was offered a full time dance instructor job in Singapore. She has since gone on to set up a dance studio in the Philippines and comes back periodically to upgrade her skills.


rachel Actfa DanceRACHEL an undergraduate in NTU joined the SFDF in 2010 and was offered to open a dance studio in China.  She has taught and performed in Guang Zhou, Shen Zhen, Hong Kong, Singapore.


 derrick actfa danceDERRICK has over 20 years of dance instructor experience with more than 30 types of dance. He was granted an exemption from SFDF after taking an examination & evaluation and signed up for the diploma & IHDC simultaneously.


tamil actfa danceTAMIL, a professional dancer & teacher actively involved in competitions & performances for Hip Hop, Bollywood, Indian Dance. He was teaching dance in secondary school and choreographing for SYF. He joined the IHDC program to further his training as a dancer & teacher in 2009.  Since joining the IHDC, he has taught, performed & competed in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan.


brenda actfa danceBRENDA joined the SFDF when she was 13 years old and was hired to teach and perform both locally and overseas after 6 months. She was also financing her own dance study while teaching private dance classes.  Under the SFDF, she was the 1st runner up in the Asia Salsa Championship 2010 and Singapore Bachata Champion 2009.  She was given opportunities to teach in Malaysia, Hong Kong, China.

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Actfa School of Dance & Performing Arts
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