Baila Vancouver Dance Blog

Tango couple dancing

People often think I’m joking when I say “the most important part of dancing is looking good!”, but stay with me. If you make looking good your #1 goal, it will create plenty of other great stuff, like: a fun time, an amazing connection with yourself, with others, and with the music, faster skill building, etc. It truly is a hidden tool the best dancers use. When you admire or enjoy the way someone dances, one of their characteristics is that they make it look beautiful. They are graceful and purposeful in their movements so even the smallest of details look good.

What are they doing? They are using BEAUTY as a tool. The pros are more interested in how something is done not so much what is being done. If you think of your basics steps, a beginner student can quickly learn a step and will want to know what the next step is, and the next, in order to move up levels as fast as possible so as to become an advanced dancer. A pro, however, will be focused on how to do the most beautiful basic step they can muster. A pro will focus on

Creating Beauty In Every Movement.

A beautiful excerpt from Louie Schwartzberg’s movie featured in one of his TED Talks demonstrates how this in inherent in Nature. Nature uses beauty as a tool to create great things. Watch this Video to see the wonderful dance between the flowers and the pollinators. We are part of nature and are thus wired to be attracted by beauty. To enjoy beauty in a piece of art, in a dance, or in another person, is part of who we are.

You can use this idea in your dancing today!

What inspires me about this learning approach is that you don’t need to know much, you only need to create something beautiful with what you know. nina teaching
This is what we love to teach in our classes. We often ask students if they are smiling while doing their basic salsa step, or if they are breathing while doing a tango pivot. These simple techniques beautify any person. We all know this; someone looks more attractive when they smile because their inner beauty shines through.

So when you approach each dance step with the mindset of creating a beautiful movement with your legs or arms, you will notice a positive feedback loop being created. You will start to feel good as you dance and that feeling will also create more ease in your movements, resulting in more beautiful execution. This never has to end.

So next time you are learning something, take the smallest of the elements, get feedback from your teacher on how you can look better doing that movement, then in your own practice time, stand in front of the mirror and work on mastering that feedback so you are doing what you’ve learned in the most beautiful way possible.

Written by Nina Perez director of Baila Vancouver Dance School. Expert Dance Instructor in Argentine Tango, Salsa, and all the Latin social dances. For more information



Greg and Nina

Intuitively we know that watching others exercise, dance, do anything we want to do usually inspires us into action…I came across an article that highlights studies that show how it does affect our bodies as well. (See full Huffington Post article Here)

Here are 3 suggestions of how you can take advantage of this knowledge and how we can help you with each idea…

1. Watch videos of amazing dancers … on our facebook profile we are always posting videos of great performances. Become our friend! (

2. Watch videos of classes you have learned …once you become our student we invite you to our private facebook group and post our class videos for your improvement. Come learn from us! (click here for more info)
3. Go dancing and watch your favorite dancers…stay in touch with us to here about what is happening around town (

Looking forward to seeing your improvement!

Written by Nina Perez director of Baila Vancouver Dance School. Expert Dance Instructor in Argentine Tango, Salsa, and all the latin social dances. For more information

Follow Me on Twitter: @NinaPerezDance


makingthingsworkI find that when experienced beginners or intermediate students come to take my group or private lessons they often share how things are just not working and most of them conclude that it must be them. They must be a slow learner or they must have two left feet. In reality that is rare. Enquiring into how to make things work is a valuable journey.
Here are 3 suggestions of where to start looking and some solutions you may want to try:

Get more information: You may be missing a key piece of technique that would make your dancing flow more easily.

Solution: Take lessons with many different instructors and class sizes. Diversify to get more perspectives. Repeat beginner levels i.e. Bootcamps, workshops, and group lessons. You may have missed something that was said in class. Vancouver has many amazing teachers and we each have our own way to explain and help our students grow.

Click Here for more info on our lessons.

Get more coaching: You might need personal attention, where an instructor spends a lot of time with you. Even if you are a good student and pay attention in class, dancing with your instructor and one on one attention is invaluable and a really good way to leap forward.

Solution: Private Lessons or attend a specialized class with a limited number of spots so you have the instructor’s attention for longer periods of time.

Click Here for more info on our private lessons.

Get more practice: Repetition is one of the fastest ways to get better. 10,000 reps are needed to solidify movements in your body.

Solution: Choose non-intimidating environments to practice like Sunday Afternoon Socials and Monday Practicas and dance every single song.

Click Here for our where to go dancing any day of the week.


{April 14, 2011}   Baila Vancouver Going Green!

We are so excited to let you know about our  green journey!  Stay tuned for our green blog about how it all started! Baila-Nina becoming an urban farmer? You better believe it!

The Baila-Mobile has been sold! Our Worm pets have started composting! Documentary nights have been a great hit and 3 of our Baila Instructors have signed up for  permaculture farming training.

To view full curriculum of Permaculture course please see attached file ( 3 spots left, contact Nina Perez for more information at INFO



This is a constant tug-of-war I have with my students…them not wanting to make too many mistakes and me needing the mistakes to see where they are at in their progress. Interesting! There is a magic number or a magic process that usually works for mistakes and knowing where you are at in your learning.Take your time to learn

So for example, let’s talk about a common move and mistake  ” Giving a signal”

1st Attempt at Signal: Student might give a signal that is not very easy to understand or in the wrong way. You are processing the new information so be easy on yourself.

2nd Attempt at Signal:  This mistake is usually a  delayed response…so they do it kinda right but a little too late or something is not quite right.  The brain is still processing and they might be thinking too much.  So I will usually offer a new analogy or tip that will make it more clear in the mind.

3rd Attempt at Signal: This time the student made the same mistake as before but was aware of the mistake or what he/she was doing wrong. ” I know what i did wrong”  or ” I knew I was doing it wrong as I am doing it but could not stop it” are comments I usually hear.

4th Attempt at Signal: This is when it actually goes pretty smooth of course not perfect but huge progess has been made.

I have observed that when people are learning any new element the body usually goes through this process, time and time again. 

" Have Fun While Learning"When I now request the student to try the signal and the feet we go through the same process again. When I strike up a conversation while doing the move we go through the same process again and so on…so it is quite fascinating that most people try to avoid making mistakes while from my teaching perspective you need them to bring awareness to the situation and allow your body to assimilate and pass the bridge from understanding to knowing. 

have not met a successful person in their endeavour who has not admitted to making more mistakes than anybody else in their field and attributing their success to that.

Mistakes are for the ones who really want to reach extraordinary levels of success not available to the average perfectionist”  ~Nina Perez~

Written by Nina Perez director of Baila Vancouver Dance School. Expert Dance Instructor in Argentine Tango, Salsa, and all the latin social dances. For more information

Follow Me on Twitter: @NinaPerezDance


The Grouse Grind is a Vancouver Jewel! It is a very hard and beautiful hike that I recommend to everyone, especially for a nice heart rate workout. How does the Grouse Grind help my dancing?

Here are 3 ways that you need to have as you are climbing the grind and as you are learning to dance.

1. Get Started. A lot of people talk about wanting to dance or learning a new skill, or doing the grind but rarely ever do it because they don’t get started by setting a time, scheduling it in and showing up. Showing up is half the battle! Sign up for a class. Go to the dance club, or go to watch a class. Just get yourself there.

2. Take it Step by Step. You really do learn this with the Grind specially if you do this regularly. It is all about continuing your pace and taking each step full heartedly and before you know it you are at the top. So taking it step by step with your dancing, will lead you to success. Take a class, practice your basics at home and keep at it, at your own pace is the best way to do and learn any new skill.

3. Celebrate and Raise The Bar! Many of us are driven by the pleasures of life and if we don’t take the time to reward ourselves, do we ever really get motivated to do things in the first place. The Grind really rewards one’s efforts with the beautiful views and the wild life, but once I have finished I set the next goal with it, better timing or finding the most beautiful spot for a short meditation. With your dancing you want to periodically treat yourself to a dancing reward. You are among the few that take your wellness and lifestyle seriously and learning to dance deserves celebration. Then Raise the bar and set a new goal for your dancing i.e. “I am going to dance with 3 new people tonight” ” I am going to try that butt roll tonight!”. ” I will practice my tango sacada with 3 people tonight”

What we all are really after is progress. So set up your mini step by step goals, do them, and reward your self!

Written by Nina Perez director of Baila Vancouver Dance School. Expert Dance Instructor in Argentine Tango, Salsa, and all the latin social dances. For more information

This is one of my favorite topics to talk about as we embark on our dancing journey not only do we learn about dance but we also learn about ourselves. Many times during my lessons I need to give feedback to students about how to make the lessons more enjoyable for their dance partners of the moment or of their lives.  What are we talking about here?

We are talking about Forgiveness. Not correcting our partners when they are making mistakes is probably one of the hardest rules to learn when you are dancing. I see most often two scenarios:

Women/Followers tend to correct their male leads when something is not done right on the first or second try.

Men/Leaders tend to correct partners that are a different dance level than themselves.

In both instances I would encourage you to have a new approach:

Don’t Correct…Forgive. What could this look like:

1. Smile
2. Give encouraging comments
3. Seek instructors help or advice

We all learn at different paces and understanding is the key to creating positive results.

Written by Nina Perez director of Baila Vancouver Dance School. Expert Dance Instructor in Argentine Tango, Salsa, and all the latin social dances. For more information

I received an interesting Stat in Jen DeTracey’s newsletter: “Pop sociologist Malcolm Gladwell, author of “Blink” and “The Tipping Point,” stated that about 10% of the population felt isolated in 1985, while in 2010, 25% of the population felt isolated. Ironically, while social media has connected people more than ever, it has further isolated people, whereas in the past people had more of a direct connection to family and neighbours and had stronger, community-oriented relationships.”
I strongly believe that we can’t lose focus on creating real relationships, nourishing them, building them if we stick to staying behind our computers, only staying in dance class mode, and not getting out there.  I have outlined 3 effective ways to stay connected…some maybe out of your comfort zone but really good for you!

Here are my Tips …
1. Go take a dance class with different instructors, expand your horizons and it will help your dancing to hear things explained in different ways
2. In class make Practice Meetups with your new friend. Come earlier to practice what you are learning to the dance nights. Don’t confuse this with a date, as it should be all about the dancing!
3. Go out dancing and make it a point to ask new people to dance. Get out of your comfort zone… the No’s will build your character and the Yes’ will build your relationships. No way to lose.

Written by Nina Perez director of Baila Vancouver Dance School. Expert Dance Instructor in Argentine Tango, Salsa, and all the latin social dances. For more information

Follow Me : NinaPerezDance


{February 18, 2010}   Celebrate Olympics Salsa Style!

(Submitted by Nina Perez of Baila Vancouver Dance School (@ninaperezdance))

Great activities happening all day long and this one will let you enjoy the Olympics with a Latin Twist.

Rumba Calzada a Juno nominated band will be playing at Live City Vancouver! Cambie at Georgia Street 9:30pm-11pm Free Non Ticketed Event !

Last time I saw them they were playing at Robson Square, they were great and the experience of ice skating to one of my favourite bands was phenomenal!

They will be back at Robson Square on Feb 20th as part of ” Experience B.C. at Robson Square”
10:00pm (Free Show).

With the sunshine beaming it is almost easy to believe we are in a hot Latin country. You don’t want to miss this. They are one of the best bands that Vancouver has to offer.

Nina Perez is Director of Baila Vancouver Dance School. Bringing all the Latin dances to you in group and private lessons. No Partner? No Rhythm? No Problem!

Twitter ninaperezdance


I had the pleasure to hear The Dalai Lama  in the Peace Summit in Vancouver.

As dancing is my life I always like to see if I can apply what I am learning in any area to my dancing or teaching. So I can help my students learn faster, have ease of movement and dance with more enjoyment.

The Dalai Lama said many wonderful things that if applied would make our world a better place but one comment stood out in my mind and I believe can be very helpful to dancing and our Salsa Community. (paraphrasing) He said:

” Treat others as a part of you”

So I would reccommend you apply his beautiful advise every time you are dancing and …

1.Treat your partner as an extension of yourself.

2.Treat the couples beside you as an extension of yourself.

3.Treat the people standing around who haven’t been asked to dance lately as an extension of yourself.

If we all did this we would have…

1. Better Leaders and Follows

2. Less Collisions on the dance floor

3. More people dancing, less people standing!

No matter what the level of your partner, it is always more enjoyable when dancing with someone who puts you above the dance moves and makes sure that having a good time is a priority :>

et cetera