1… 2… 3… Pause! My Unconventional Road Towards Leadership Through Salsa.

1… 2… 3… Pause! My Unconventional Road Towards Leadership Through Salsa.

This article originally comes from a place of shyness and embarrassment.

Indeed, the scene takes place in a local dancing club, where a social event was organized by students from Latin America. We first gathered, introduced one another and danced on rather mainstream songs. Up until the time, after the arranged schedule dedicated to the student event, the location regained its original purpose and a salsa night began.

Being in my 20s, rather confident I decided to join and have a look. I, however, found myself in a rare situation in which I was timid and even petrified, yet appreciative of what was occurring before me.

Why was I reserved? Despite my rookie eye, I could tell that salsa was a dance that requires technical knowledge. Technical knowledge I had the feeling was expected from me when crossing the eyes of yet unsolicited women waiting for an invitation to partner up for a dance.

Why was I admiring? While standing at the bar for a dozens of minute, I saw a man entering the room, scanning it and coming towards the bar to order a drink and camp alongside with me I originally thought, which comforted me in my discomfort. When he simply dropped off his jacket, walked towards a lady to invite her to dance, which she graciously accepted. And there they were, in the middle of the dance floor.

From that particular point, I knew this is the type of confidence I should aim to have. That is the reason why I decided to start learning how to dance salsa and here are the lessons it taught about leadership.


In salsa, the man is referred as the leader and the woman as the follower. He is therefore responsible to lead the dance, create opportunities to surprise his partner as well as protect her by being aware of the surrounding.

Having this in mind, this level of accountability also encourages me to embrace the beauty of masculinity, which can be a great tool to apply in life as well. We remain the architect of our own life. We are living in a World ruled by cause and effect, where our actions and lack thereof, will dictate the circumstances we will end up in. In the search of the flow state, we should always remind ourselves to properly lead the dance we are having with life.

“All of us are self-made, but only the successful will admit it.” ~ Earl Nightingale

Body Language

Because of the loud music that we need to pay attention to to follow the beat and find our rhythm, it is extremely rare to see and hear couples speak; there is a communication though, a non-verbal one through the body. The direction of the arms, the position of the bodies, the touches, the transfer of weight, all of them are ways to communicate with your partner on a dance floor.

In day-to-day life, this finding is worth remembering since the awareness of its existence can have a significant impact when we want/ need to convince, seduce, protect, brand oneself etc..


In a salsa class, we are encouraged to repeatedly switch partners momentarily. As a leader, the change exposes us to all and different kind of followers, with distinct level, skills, confidence in themselves.

In salsa, as in life, we are forced to adjust to change. Survival of the fittest is not a reference to the physically strongest among us but rather to the most flexible and adaptable beings.

To conclude, so far, salsa has reminded me to be more assertive in my decision-making skills and improve my posture, by being more aware of element of my non-verbal communication which certainly is a confidence booster applicable to day-to-day life. Plus, as a crucial extra, made me practice my Spanish and introduce me to a community of dancers with different styles, music and dances (kizomba, bachata, afro dance).

Bonus: to congratulate you for having made it to the end of this article, here is a video of the results of my first 3 salsa classes in Cuba.


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