Salsa competitions are always intense. Every team does their best with the hope of winning. A lot of pressure is mounted on the contestants. How can you set up your kids to flourish at such competitions without having them lose out on the fun that comes with dancing salsa?
It is important to manage the expectations of the kids. Competitions usually push people to the edge. Salsa competitions are not any different. Everyone who participates wants to win. The sad truth is that there can only be one winner. To change the narrative, you should train your child to adopt the notion that everyone who makes it to the competition is a winner. It takes a lot to dedicate your time and money to salsa competitions. Everyone should be appreciated. On the flip side, it is ok to lose. So, as long as your kids gave their best, they should not be appreciated for the victors they are.
Find a suitable dance partner for your kid
Once your kid understands that it is ok for them to lose (as long as they do their best), they will be able to pick a dancing partner with ease. The ‘we are all winners’ mentality enables the focus to shift from picking a perfect partner to picking a fun and compatible partner. A parent’s or instructor’s guidance is always welcome at this stage as compatibility and suitability are foreign to kids. A parent or instructor should be able to guide the kid on a matter such as the perfect height for a dancing partner.
Distribute the workload over the entire practice period
Once your kid settles on a dancing partner, ensure they start practice as soon as possible. The longer the time before the salsa competition the better. This is because it distributes the workload over a long period of time giving the kids ample time to grasp the salsa technique, build chemistry with their partner and also get in shape for the competition. As the competitions approach practice could be ramped up a bit to give them the needed intensity and prepare the kids for the competition day.
Set realistic targets
The target set for salsa competitions, if any, should be set in consultation with the child having seen how much effort they have put in. If your kid skips several practice sessions and only goes when you accompany them or force them to go, do not bother convincing them that they may win. Salsa competitions are fair. You get as much as you give. The winner is usually the person who has a blend of pure talent and hard work. Always remind the kids that hard work can beat talent if talent refuses to work hard.
Support your kid regardless of the outcome
Salsa is about having fun and being one with music. These core elements of salsa should be taught well and early enough. Teaching them early reinforces them in the brain of the kid. With these elements as the foundation, it is easy to support your child no matter the outcome. If anything, the competition is just a platform for them to have fun, showcase their talent, see fellow kids dance and steal a few cool moves.