Salsa Academy Program

La Candela’s Salsa Academy Program is much more than just your average Salsa class – it’s a journey that lets you join the Salsa world with ease, hit the dancefloor in no time, and be given enough time to become the best dancer around. During our time with us, you will become part of La Candela’s community – a collective with a shared passion for dancing and enjoying life.

We are a school specializing in Salsa Cubana & Cuban dances and we are on a mission to make Berlin a Salsa capital in Europe. The Salsa Program is the result of accumulated knowledge & experience of over 30 years, with influences from many different approaches to the dance, from old school to contemporary advancement in the dance. If you want to learn in the most effective way, and dance Salsa Cubana like a champ you are in the right place. Our teachers are trained and certified, and we take pride in our methodology and our focus on technical ability, flavor in the dance, and passing the true feel and passion of Cuban Salsa.

We are committed to making it the best experience you can have, and it’s literally our dream to transform humans into dancers and share our passion with you. So join up!

Program Structure & How Does It Work

  • We teach with intention – Our program is a series of over 100 well-structured and planned classes. If you go for the whole program this should take between one to two years to complete.
  • Groups are growing together – Our groups are generally closed groups so we could advance together. When we know what our students know, we can advance much more effectively.
  • Flexibility – The program is built to be flexible and adjusted to Berlin’s lifestyle. While ideally, it’s great to continue your journey consecutively, it’s easy to take some time off and know when to come back.
  • As quick as you want it – The program is flexible in such a way that allows you to choose your speed and take as many classes as you want every month.
  • No partner is needed – We balance the number of leaders and followers for each course and make sure the parity is reasonable.

Levels

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Levels

Our Salsa Program is separated into 5 levels: Beginner to Advanced. At every level, we assume the knowledge & skills of previous levels.

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Fast Track

We generally recommend taking the time and moving on through the levels with patience. But if you are in a rush to learn more and more the fast track explains which blocks from the previous level are most important to take.

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Block

Each level has a few Blocks – a course of 4 classes with progressive content.

Generally given in the closed-group format so you could learn effectively. We recommend joining the entire Block, but if there is enough space and the balance between leaders and followers is good you could join also particular classes.

Knowledge from previous levels is always expected – but within the level you can take the blocks in any order you want.

Our Salsa Program is separated into 5 levels: Beginner to Advanced. In every level we assume the knowledge & skills of previous levels.

Level 1 – Beginners

Come and learn the famous Cuban dance – Salsa! The objective of the course is to bring you to a comfort level so you can dance to the beats of salsa with a partner or in one of the many Latin clubs in Berlin.

Prequists: You should be confident in walking and come with a smile 😉

Level 2 – Improvers

In the Improver level, you will learn some more complex turns, and start to get to groove like Cubans do. While you do that we will work on our basics like champs!

Who is it for?

The course is intended for beginners with experience. You should know the very basics of Salsa Cubana and have at least 1-2 months of dance experience.

Level 3 – Technique Foundation

At this level, we will deepen our understanding of the dance and create a solid foundation for your Cuban Salsa:

  • The focus of the course is on Salsa Cubana’s core elements. The moves which are the “basic blocks” in the foundation of Salsa. Example moves: Vacilala, Siete, or Coca-Cola. 
  • You will learn new more advanced moves you could use on the dance floor.
  • Improve your Partnerwork technique, and be a better leader or follower.
  • Learn many Salsa Solo steps and engage with styling and flavor.

Our classes are known to be extra detailed and structured. This will allow you to understand better the structure of a Salsa Dance and have the foundation upon which you can compose and follow later on more complex figures with perfect technique.

Who is this level for?

Truly this course is for everyone, this is the most important level in our program – and we rarely recommend dancers to skip it – Beginners and advanced alike. We give many details you get nowhere else and work on the foundations like nowhere else.

More in detail we recommend to three groups of people.

  1. Next level after Improver Level – For dancers who took La Candela’s Improver Level or a few classes before in another school. (8-20 depending on the school)
  2. Dancers that learned on the dancefloor – For people who dance for a long while but didn’t take classes before or need a refresher of the core technique. This course will focus on the elements that allow you to have a smooth dance that feels effortless and beautiful. Keep in mind you still need to know the material of the Beginner course, and without it, it will be difficult to follow. ( one/two private classes can often help with getting there if you have considerable experience ). Also, consider reading here more why you should take this course and not just “dance for fun”)
  3. Any dancer that looks for a kickass technique. We explain everything with super details, and this could enhance your understanding of the dance.

You need to be familiar with and be able to perform the following moves:

Level 4 – Intermediate

At this level, we give dancers a deeper practice in Salsa Cubana. We revisit core elements to enhance them and build more complex figures based on them, keeping a close eye on correct leading and following techniques. We also address different concepts for experienced dancers including styling, musicality and flavor.

  • You will learn some new core elements of Cuban Salsa such as the Tight turn.
  • You will build upon known core elements and create more complex elements and figures such as Setenta Complicado, Dedos, and more.
  • Improve your Partnerwork technique, and be a better leader or follower.
  • Styling, Flavor, Musicality, and more.

Prequists:

The course is designed for dancers who took La Candela’s Technique Foundation level or have between 5-12 months of dancing experience (depending on the school, and intensity of learning). The course will most likely prove too difficult for dancers who just enjoyed the dance and haven’t taken classes before. In case you were not part of previous La Candela courses. The main elements you are expected to know are listed below:

Level 5 – Advanced

in this course, we deal with Salsa as it should be danced, free, rich in movement, flow, full of style and sabor. We will increase our comfort with complex figures, and add some twists to make the dance more flavorsome. As always, we keep our eyes on the details and work on perfecting our leading and following techniques.

The objective of the course is to let you feel free and creative in the dance:

  • You will learn advanced figures, and enrich your Salsa vocabulary and possibilities in the dance.
  • Improve your Partner’s technique. become a leader who can lead a complex movement with flow and a follower who can follow any instruction with grace.
  • Strong focus on styling and topics for experienced dancers.

Prequists:

The course is designed for dancers who took La Candela’s Intermediate level. Coming out of the school you should have between 6-16 months of learning salsa experience (depending on the school and intensity of the learning experience)

Understanding the concept of flow and having some experience with styling / solo dancing is recommended. The course will most likely prove too difficult for dancers who just enjoy the dance and haven’t taken many classes before.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a partner?

Generally no. We balance our partners for every class. While we cannot guarantee full parity, the parity should be reasonable and we switch partners often. So you will get to know everyone and won’t be alone for too long.

In the case where a Block or class has a parity issue having a partner will allow you to avoid the waitlist. Otherwise, you can join the waitlist and when more students of the role join you will be notified.

I have been dancing for a long time but I never took classes. which level should I go to?

This is very individual,  But in our experience, dancers who “go with the flow” tend to overestimate their level. While we are keeping things rather chill and fun we are also a rather technical school – a good foundation is what allows our students to attend the higher levels and keep up with the speed. More often than not “Going with the flow” creates many bad habits you’d want to deal with if you want to feel comfortable with our more advanced classes.

In this case, we normally recommend starting either the Improver level or Technique Foundation. The Improver level will likely feel easy as a whole but will hold many small details that would help you dance better. At the Technique Foundation level, it might become clear soon enough that many steps & techniques need to be corrected, and the challenge to overcome those bad habits is enough.

If you are still in doubt, you are welcome to contact us. We offer free level checks. You can contact us for that. It takes 5 minutes and we will give you our recommendation.

I am a Salsa Linea dancer and I want to learn Cuban Salsa. Which level should I start with?

This is tricky and the key factor is how much patience you have. The thing is, while Salsa Linea and Salsa Cubana share some principles they are much more different than it seems. Generally, if you have patience and want to dance Cuban Salsa well we still recommend starting with the Beginner Level. If you keep your ears open, you will discover the differences between the dances – this will be the differences between dancing Cuban Salsa like Cubans do and dancing it with a flavor of linea dancer.

It’s important to note that the Beginner level and improver level are not fast-paced classes. If you don’t have the patience to dwell on details and dance with Beginners we recommend starting with private classes. Experienced dancers can sometimes learn the material at a much higher pace one-on-one. Alternatively, you can start from the Technique Foundation level, you might be able to catch up on the most important stuff. Keep in mind that in La Candela we respect levels – meaning that we strictly don’t give attention to little details of elements we explain in previous levels.

If you are still in doubt, you are welcome to contact us. We offer free level checks. You can contact us for that. It takes 5 minutes and we will give you our recommendation.

I come from another school, I am at X level, should I come to the same level?

This is tricky since every school defines levels differently, teaches a little a bit differently and every student is different.

Speaking from our experience, in the majority of cases, students from other schools tend to overestimate their level by at least one or two levels. Sometimes it’s because of a gap of familiarity with the prerequisites of our classes, but more often it’s a matter of how things are done. We are a rather technical school and joining our courses works well if you have a solid foundation.

You can take a look at the prerequisites for each course and see what’s relevant for you. When in doubt, we highly recommend not skipping the Technique Foundation level, it’s where we teach the core technique of Salsa Cubana, we teach it with a lot of care, and many details, and it is the most important phase in our program.

If you are still in doubt, you are welcome to contact us. We offer free level checks. You can contact us for that. It takes 5 minutes and we will give you our recommendation.

When should I repeat a course?

This is highly individual. If you practice at parties the material you learn regularly, you probably won’t need to repeat a course – Practice is key! if you feel 70% in control of the material, it’s alright to advance to the next level.

BUT! By all means – YES! The best dancers always go over their basics again and again and again. By repeating a course, you will be able to notice better all the small details. We give a hell lot of them!

Ido, the head of the school tells his students he took the same classes 2-3 times as leader, and twice more as a follower. That’s the making of great dancers.

Can I come for a trial class?

We allow trial classes only in very specific situations. Normally we don’t allow trial classes for the partner-work classes as it doesn’t allow us to ensure a group with a balanced number of men and women. Additionally, many of our courses are fully booked by the time they start, so there is just no spot to spare.

In specific situations where there is a spot open last minute, we could permit a single class. you’d have to contact us to arrange for that.

If you are concerned for the quality or vibe of classes we invite you to take a look at our Google Reviews or Instagram page. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.

Do you accept Urban Sports Club?

We offer a very limited selection of classes through Urban Sports Club – you can find those on the app.

Unfortunately, we do not accept USC for the majority of the classes. We know that Urban Sports Club is very convinient, but the conditions Urban Sports Club provides us do not allow us to provide the quality of classes we would like to provide.

In the future, we might consider a reduction in price for our membership plans for those who use Urban Sports Club.

I used to take classes in the previous version of La Candela’s Salsa Program. Which class should I go to?

Our new program is an evolution of the old program. In the new program, we teach many more elements, we have a focus on styling and solo moves from early on, and we teach in a different order. Our previous program was amazing, but the new one is even better. That said, it is not as straightforward as “I finished level X” so I can skip that level in the new program. In general, the program is a bit “harder”, for example, some material from the Intermediate level is now taught in Technique Foundation, and in the Advanced level, we added material of a higher level than the previous advanced level.

We know this can be inconvenient, and we changed what was pretty straightforward to a complicated way forward. But to give our best we must make a decision to change our methodology at some point. Additionally, you still have the opportunity to enjoy the many benefits of our new program.

Below you will find our recommendation for which classes you should take based on your situation. Keep in mind that this is just the essential that will allow you to advance to the next level with minimal repetition over the material you learned. If you want to make the most out of the new program there is no escape from repeating some material from your current and previous levels.

I finished La Candela’s previous Beginner Level

Next level: Improvers – Block 2, afterward advance to Technique Foundation
If you want to repeat material: Beginners – Block 2 (first 3-4 classes) and Improvers Block 1 (classes 4-8)
More Knowledge to gain: Beginners – Block 1 for a focus you didn’t have on single turns, timing, and new steps.

I finished La Candela’s previous Technique Foundation Level

Next Level: The missed material is spread throughout the level. To bridge the gap between Technique and Intermediate, you should take the following 2 blocks in order to be eligible for Level 3: Technique Block 4 and Technique Transition. The Transition Block will occur only once (or twice if many people need it), so I’d suggest to make an effort to join it unless you are interested in repeating the entire level anyway.
If you want to repeat material: Repeat the entire technique foundation level – you will repeat the material and learn much more.
More knowledge to gain: Improvers Block 2 has additional info you missed. It’s always smart to repeat the Technique Foundation level as it’s probably the most important level, but there is also new material to find throughout the entire level.

I finished La Candela’s previous Intermediate Level 1+2

The level has been greatly revised, and therefore you will need to stay in the level for a while.

Next Level: Intermediate level Block 2,5,6. Afterward, you can move to the Advanced level.
If you want to repeat material: Technique Foundation Block 1,4 and the Intermediate level.
More knowledge to gain: By repeating the Technique Foundation or Intermediate level you will find new material, new styling, and new solo moves.

I finished La Candela’s previous Intermediate Level 1 only

The level has been greatly revised, and therefore you will need to stay in the level for a while.

Next Level: go for the Intermediate level and skip Block 3. Some repetition is to be expected, but not too much. Technique Foundation Block 1 has a lot of repeated material, but also two important classes you missed (classes 2-3)
If you want to repeat material: Technique Foundation Block 1,4. Intermediate Block 3, and first class in Block 6.
More knowledge to gain: In Technique Foundation or Intermediate level you will find new material, new styling, and new solo moves.

I finished La Candela’s previous Intermediate Level 2 only

The level has been greatly revised, and therefore you will need to stay in the level for a while.

Next Level: go for Technique Foundation Block 4, and the Intermediate level ( You can skip Blocks 1 and 7). Some repetition is to be expected, but not too much. Technique Foundation Block 1 has a lot of repeated material, but also one important class you missed (class 4)
If you want to repeat material: Technique Foundation Block 1. Intermediate Block 1, some material in Blocks 4 and 7.
More knowledge to gain: In Technique Foundation or Intermediate level you will find new material, new styling, and new solo moves.

I finished La Candela’s previous Advanced Level (1+2+3)

Next Level: The advanced level has a lot of new material. More styling than before, and some newly added figures are some of the most challenging figures at the level. Also, check out our additional classes beyond the program.
If you want to repeat material: The Advanced level has many of the figures you’d like to repeat. But some of the easier moves (that are also used many times) moved to the Intermediate level Blocks 5,6 and 1st class of Block 4.
More knowledge to gain: In previous levels, there is a lot of new material we added to the program. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to recap it without going through it. Intermediate Block 2 has some interesting new insight into circularity but the first class is repeating material from Intermediate 1. The advanced level has a lot of new material, but you might revise many of the previous figures you’ve learned.

I finished La Candela’s previous Advanced Level 3 Only.

Next Level: You can carry on with the Advanced level, but some more complex elements that are common moved to the Intermediate level Blocks 2,5,6. Advanced 6 is largely based on Advanced 3 so you can skip it if you don’t wish to repeat.
If you want to repeat material: Advanced Block 6, the rest are spread between the Advanced level.
More knowledge to gain: In previous levels, there’s a lot of new material we added to the program. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to recap it without going through it. Intermediate Block 2 has some interesting new insight into circularity but the first class is repeating material from Intermediate 1.