I would say that you are overthinking: you will never be a real pro with potential because for that you need a mindset that would not let you ask these questions: be honest with yourself and let that possibility fall .
This leaves it as a hobby for someone with a job: your income and your necessity of sleep determine the maximum involvement: for me its one weeknight and one weekend night, one course. But i switched out the course for two festivals with workshops per year. Choose and keep to it, it makes life easy and you can change your choice later!
And then enjoyment level : for ms there are 20% max followers with whom i can flow. And this percentage i heard from many people, so do not expect to find more, even ic you find more temporarily, your expectations will shift !
The test of my enjoyment comes from letting my partners shine on a higher level theb they expected to be able to do.
To be honest, you have to take life day by day and BE happy instead of trying to reach the happiness as a Goal.
There is no balance in Salsa, but that’s ok.
I’ve gone through everything you’ve been through and more…
My personal opinion is that you should do it until you don’t enjoy it anymore, then stop.
Go all out. Forget about achieving balance. Like you’ve already said, Salsa has more benefits (health, social, etc) than negatives.
At some point, you may reach a point where you are satisfied with being a casual dancer and going out dancing once a week or once every month will be satisfactory.
I’ve known many entrepreneurs and successful people who managed to fit Salsa into their lifestyle. No, they are not going to be professional but what does it matter? The money shouldn’t be an issue. If you are having problems with money, then you’re doing something wrong. Salsa is cheap.
If you have to question why you’re doing it, then stop for a while and see if you miss it. The Salsa scene will ALWAYS be there.
Salsa has consumed me and at the same time has been the bane of my existence.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Yes, I’ve had this issue too. Once I was able to dance well with more followers regardless of their level, things started to open up and I was able to have fun again. Plus things like traveling and dancing in other countries really gave me a different perspective on dancing Salsa since every scene is different and people act differently in other countries. Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery.
There will always be lulls in your dancing. Could be many months when you feel you aren’t getting any benefits. It’s ok to take breaks too.
Are you talking about pattern retention? If so, after internalizing many different patterns and combinations, you start to visualize new patterns. Retention isn’t a problem once you reach this point. You don’t even have to be dancing very often. Once a week is enough once you have dedicated enough patterns to muscle memory.
A lot of what makes the dance sustain is your interest in the music, musicality, and how you refine the vocabulary of your dance — this you refine by practicing footwork and shines, the stuff that most intro classes do in the first 10-15 min… this is essentially the rabbit hole that you must follow to get out of intermediate-land.
Pursuing moves and patterns will get old quickly and it sounds like that’s where you’re at; most of the complexity of the dance comes in the musicality and phrasing of the moves, the connection, and the quality of movement itself. Have you seen dancers and you were able to tell within like, a few seconds that they were GOOD dancers? It’s because their basics are developed, and with years/decades of maturity. To grow as a dancer means to nerd out and really practice the shit out of your basics… this also makes you pretty self-reliant in terms of your enjoyment of the dance.
Even though this is a social dance, you’ll feel burnout if your enjoyment of it is contingent upon your follow’s skill or the music’s energy. This will sound trite, but: find your joy within!
I try to meet my partners at their level, so with beginners, I stick with the basics, but I still occasionally play within the dance. It’d be something small, during the basic, like 1,2,3 kick 5,6,7 tap.
I dance shines with anyone who seems comfortable with it. If the follow freezes or looks uncomfortable, I scoop them back up.
As far as what I rely on most, I’d have to say small crossovers, during the basic. Though, I consider it as more of a favorite, than something I rely on. It’s kind of a modified box step, but I’m still moving forward and back.
Mostly, I try to go where the music takes me. Body rolls, digs, kicks, shoulder shakes, hooks, wobbles…whatever feels right in the moment.
I believe that you’re right about “pattern versed.” I think of it as “muscle memory.” Those are the patterns that I can do almost on autopilot. At this point, they just flow.
Hope that answers your questions.
Same thing after 3 years, a bit tired of seeing the same faces every week. The obvious answer seems to be festivals but even there every night feels the same. Sometime there is a very good dance that makes me remember why I love dancing and makes me keep going.
Overall to answer your question getting into salsa dancing was very positive. There is no endgame but it’s ok, the process was and is still fun. A bit cliche but like many hobbies, it helped me growth on a personal level. Getting frustrated, challenged, interacting with strangers, getting better (and still so far of being good), learning about the culture and discovering the scene. I’m not going out as much as before and got back to my previous hobbies. I think it’s ok.
It sounds like you are using salsa to fill a hole in your life. I don’t really understand your need to have a goal and it is unlikely you will be able to make money from salsa. As others have said salsa is something to enjoy that does not have to have an end goal.
Perhaps you have hit a ceiling with your dancing skills and most of the fun you were getting was from the feeling of progression, of getting better. I have been dancing for about a year and have reached the intermediate level. I’m at the point where it starts getting difficult to make meaningful improvements (diminishing returns) so I can relate to the feeling. Maybe this means you do not have to go dancing as much to get your fill. You have completed a period of time where you were putting in extra work to learn something new.
Maybe since you are single you should focus on the social aspects of salsa. Now that you don’t have to focus as much on your dancing you can focus on meeting women. You can then use salsa as a tool to become closer to a woman. Instead of being focused on improving your salsa you can focus on your social skills which are more important in the grand scheme of things.
It sounds like salsa is not fun for you right now. Give yourself permission to walk away. You CAN quit and that’s totally ok. Some people get the maximum that they could get from dance, and they change hobbies/obsession. Take a break. Don’t go for several weeks and see if your feelings change.
If you go back, that means you accept compromises or perhaps never being a pro, and just enjoying what you can from social and having fun with it. You also may go back, but with a different structure, mindset, style or practice. If you don’t go back, there is something else out there for you, something that is more rewarding for you at this stage in your life.
I can write an ultra long message about it but the way I got over it is to ‘get over myself.’ This message isn’t as cold as it sounds. Yes the problems in a scene and people you dance with might be real. Yes then you can quit and pursue something else. I remembered that the music is still awesome, most follows still love dancing with me, and just put a big smile on my face. The energy rubs off. I think almost anyone gets a slump like this a few times if they are relatively serious dancers.