Baila Vancouver Dance Blog

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.

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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.

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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.

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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



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 :>

When we are learning how to dance there are a lot of thoughts and feelings going through our minds and bodies and it is often missed why we are doing it in the first place. Most people when asked WHY say : For FUN! !

Many of us forget to make sure we are both having fun because we are too concentrated or engulfed in perfection.

The quickest way in my opinion is to SMILE. Not only when asking your partner to dance but specially DURING THE WHOLE DANCE . Often when people start concentrating they are serious and do not have a friendly smile and a lot of the times their dance partner starts thinking that they are not doing a good job.

A simple smile will help in at least these three areas instantly and help you build a dance connection that you will consistently start feeling in every dance.

Benefits of smiling during the whole song:

1. You partner will start feeling at ease with you and start relaxing and enjoying the music, the connection and specially your energy.

2. After 12 seconds of smiling your body starts releasing endorphins that make your body be in a relaxed “feel good” state improving body coordination.

3. Smiling is very uplifting, attractive and contagious. You will have people waiting and wanting to dance with you.

So how do you go about implementing this technique of well being and good dancing ettiquette? PRACTICE. Become aware of your facial expression while dancing and then make a conscious effort to change in that moment

et cetera