This is extremely normal no matter how long you have been dancing for. I would guess a very small percentage actually remembers the moves and uses them all the time. The only way to get them into your body is repetition and practice 😊 which is where social dance events can come in handy if you don’t have anyone to practice with because you can try different partners and get a feel of what works and what you can adjust which is not usually the case in a workshop since the follower knows what is coming and will help or completely lead the move helself. But this way your body is not learning the move and you forget. I usually look at 3 moves I want to try before I go to socials, this way I can practice something if my brain blacks out. Another thing I will do is sit out a dance or two and get inspiration from other dancers in the dancefloor. That way you might see a move you know and had forgotten and can maybe try in your next dance
Also remember basic on the spot, basic moving forward and backwards, double lady turn and your turn are simple moves you can put between any figure to make it look bigger and add a bit of variation
Two words: cheat sheet.
More words: Write moves, patterns onto a slip of paper, or have it on your phone, whichever works. Then review it while at a party. Pick one and do it in the next dance. Repeat when you need to.
I do this occasionally, but what stops me from doing it more often are the critics inside my head saying:
– You’re taking this too seriously in a social setting
– It’s bad etiquette to “practice” when social dancing
I know that neither of these are universal truths but I wonder how followers would feel if I took the opposite extreme and treated every dance as technical practice.
Not all practice is bad when social dancing. The main no-no is turning a dance into a drill where you just do the same thing again and again. That is, when it is not fun for the other person.
But it is totally acceptable to try to remember things, especially as a beginner and a cheat sheet actually helps with that so you won’t be blanking during the dance that much.
And why can you practice all the other things like leading and following and improvising and musicality? 🙂 Practice all you want as long as it is still a dance.
And about taking things too seriously… Some people can have a lot of fun even with limited skills but many people are not like that. And if a cheat sheet helps you remember and thus actually have more fun, how bad can it be?
Absolutely. As Johnny said below, this is normal at all levels. Mostly because when you are starting, you are trying to reproduce the figures that you know rather than dance following what your song and body ask you.
I remember when I started I could do about 40 seconds of song before I started freaking out. I remember at some point that I waited like half a song to take girls to the dancefloor, stalling with conversation and such just to not go through that.
Keep it up man
Be aware of what moves you do routinely remember on the dance floor. Before you go social dancing, review them and the moves you always forget. Make it a goal to incorporate one of the moves you forget into your social dancing that night. If you “blackout,” think of that move.
The overall aim is to widen your “repertoire,” one move at a time if that’s what it takes.
It sounds like you need to be going to more socials. It’s not enough to take endless classes but you need to keep trying the moves you learn at the social. Classes are for memorizing moves socials is where you actually practice salsa dancing. To get better you should be going once a week or maybe once every other week.
Don’t worry about remembering or forgetting everything. If you intend to practice and social dance and put your time in, moves will come and go. You’ll randomly be reminded of combos you learned ages ago when you watch someone else dance or take a lesson and see something similar. You’ll understand how various moves that seem different are actually just variations of the same thing. You will get good enough that you can just watch someone do something once and know how to do it, and add your own twist to it without having to commit it to memory.
You’ll understand that doing simple stuff with cool styling or flair can look and feel much better, better fit the music, etc. than remembering some specific moveset that you shoehorn into your dance while dragging your partner along.
Just work on getting better in general. Learn moves and how to do them, but don’t sweat memorizing everything.
Thanks everyone for taking time to respond to me! It’s all so usefully! I can definitely continue with all the information and tips! ✌🏻
Lots of great thoughts here. I’ve been dancing for over 10 years now, teaching for 8, and I still often feel like I forget moves. It’s normal. I like to watch videos before socials, either of individual moves I’d like to incorporate or whole dances from top pros I like. That helps me accidentally incorporate new things into my dancing.
One other suggestion: In my opinion, it’s most important to learn to lead very well, because in doing so you take care of your partner first. Once your follow is happy and comfortable, you can practice all you want during a dance without her really noticing or caring.
That’s completely normal at the beginning. Keep going to social and it will change. You will feel much better. Practice is the key and stay cool. Every dancer has known that. Totally normal. If you want I wrote an article to improve your bachata dancing. It might help you if you want to have a look
Good luck 😉