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Dance for romance: Salsa dancing boosts communication skills

Romance is a dance, at least when it comes to communication, according to Melanie Rubin.

Rubin, a salsa aficianado and career and business coach, interviewed 50 men and women for her book “What Women Really Want From Men: A Step-by-Step Dating Manual.” She has co-produced “Salsa Partnering: Getting Off on the (Right) Left Foot” with salsa expert Santiago Candelaria, which takes place on Dec. 30 at Casa Flamenca. The social event will focus on how verbal and nonverbal communication skills can transform not only your dancing but also your relationships.

“It’s designed to be interesting, useful and fun for people who have never done salsa before and to also have new tips for people who have done salsa before but want to fine-tune or refine some of their skills, so I think it’s going to work for both groups really well,” Rubin said. “The twist on it is we are going to be looking as well at how salsa skills can prepare you to have excellent communication in relationships, because some of the things that make a really great salsa dancer are the things that make for a really successful relationship.”

Candelaria will teach five essential salsa skills with the help of Rubin, who will discuss connection.

“The way that you first connect is through your hands, through either the open hold or the closed position,” Rubin said. “When we teach that first part of partnering, we’re going to teach people how to really focus on the connection so that you’re not thinking about what just happened or trying to anticipate what’s going to happen, but you’re really staying in the present and focusing on the connection with that person. The same thing is true in relationships; if you’re thinking about the past or you’re thinking about the future and you’re not actually focusing on really being connected with who is standing right in front of you, then usually communication goes awry pretty quickly. Salsa is a fun way to fine-tune those skills.”

There will be a break in the middle when participants can enjoy traditional holiday New Mexican foods such as posole, tamales, biscochitos, Mexican hot chocolate and strong coffee. Rubin also will provide information on the various venues and spaces in the area that host salsa dancing events or instruction.

“We’ll have some time to socialize and relax and chat and keep it really informal and really light,” Rubin said. “We’ll have people who can sign up as couples or people can come in as singles. We’ll be trading partners so that people can practice to kind of answer that question more specifically. Of course, when you’re out dancing salsa, you’re dancing with people of a lot of different levels and a lot of different styles so you get that experience dancing with different people. That really helps you.”

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