Wise words from Super Mario

On my Salsa Journey I have had the privilege of being taught by a number of World Class Salsa Instructors including the likes of Hacha y Machete, Island Touch, Juan Matos, Adriaan y Anita and lots more.

That being said, there have been some Instructors that were not so good (& trust me, there is nothing more disappointing than looking forward to a class with a dancer you admire and it totally fails to live up-to  your expectations).

The first time this happened, I had a realisation: Every single World renowned Salsa Instructor is actually a Performer.

Then I noticed a pattern – First become a world class performer then teach. When you think about it, it actually makes sense. I mean that is actually the reason why I wanted to take classes with most of these guys in the first place. When you see people perform & you are inspired to do what they can do, then you want to take a class with them. I mean who wouldn’t? Look at the craziness they just pulled off on stage.

However, as I continued on my Salsa Journey, I soon realised – There are very few performers who are actually great Teachers. I then started to wonder:
Is there actually any well respected international Salsa Teacher who is not a Performer?
As far as I know, there can only be 1. Enter Mario Hazarika more well known as Super Mario (aka The Million Moves Man)

Born in India and an accountant by profession, he has been dancing salsa since 1998. He earned himself the title Million Moves Man through his ability to create any number of unique combinations, that are lead with expertise and are always comfortable to follow.

Me and Super Mario

So when I was in London last year you can bet your ass I wanted to attend a class with the man who must be without a doubt, one of  the best Salsa Teachers in the World. He is the only person who has never had to perform to get a dedicated following and has taught in over 70 countries to date! It did not disappoint.

Therefore, Today’s blog post is some words & advice from one of the Worlds Best Salsa Instructors  & Greatest Leads.

Snippets from various interviews done by Super Mario:

  • Lead the lady like a flower and not a truck, no matter how complicated the move is. (that’s my secret)
  • My first salsa instructor was Elli Galvani, and she taught me many things: for someone to become a good dancer, you have to have faith in him/her, like she had in me. And as an instructor myself, there cannot be a bigger lesson to learn than that
  • There are many attributes to being a good instructor. Mine personally is taking up a challenge to see that someone becomes a good dancer, rather than how much money you are going to earn from that person. My students in London know that I cannot tolerate many things, i.e., if someone does not belong in a group, I tell them to leave. Whereas the other so-called-instructors don’t want to lose out on a potential money maker.
  • social dancing makes you a better dancer…… dance with as many good advanced dancers as beginners, so that way you learn how to lead all types of followers.
  • I think the stage should be for shows and the dance floor should be for social dancing. Mixing them up is not good. I ‘hate’ couples who come off the stage and perform on the dance-floor. It intimidates a lot of social dancers.
  • What is social dancing about? In order of importance: it’s about having fun, making sure your partner is also having fun, enjoying the music while interpreting it and staying connected. It’s everything except showing off to the world.
  • On1 Vs. On2:I have no preference at all. If the lady wants to dance on1, I will, and if she wants to change during the song to on2, I will. It’s all up to my follower. I like dancing, thats it… on1, on2, cuban, cumbia, merengue, bachata, cha cha, whatever, I love it.
  • Social dancing is what salsa is all about. People: when you watch YouTube, please go back to the ’70s and take a look at how people were feeling the music and dancing while a live band was jamming for them. There is nothing like watching those people having fun. They didn’t care about on1-on2; they just danced, which is what I do.

Watch Super Mario in Action

Next time you are in London, make sure you hit Bar Salsa on a Monday and take a class with Super Mario yourself and see what all the hype is about. (Or click the pic above to see the Million Moves Man in action.)

Till next week – Peace, Love, Happiness & Salsa!

A Special Thanks – the snippets in this blog were  taken from:

About Chilly

Causality - I believe for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Cause and Effect. I am the cause - what will be the effect?
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2 Responses to Wise words from Super Mario

  1. Belinda says:

    I love Super Mario’s words about what social dancing is. FUN! If I’m not smiling then something is wrong. In fact I have been to clubs where no-one smiles, the best dancers dance only with themselves and a bunch of girls sit like lonely petunias. The favourite dances have been with men who have made me feel like a queen on the dance floor despite not being an expert or a performer! For some salsa is a sport, but I think for most it is a way to have fun with friends.

  2. Dean Marks says:

    Thanks for this informative post Chilly!

    Apart from the many other insights one can learn from Super Mario I’d really like to express my agreement for one theme in particular you have highlighted: Don’t treat students like cash generating commodities (Ok I’m putting this in fairly strong terms). I must say, as a relative newbie to salsa there’s very little I can add here regarding the art form. One thing I think I can claim with some degree of confidence is this: Putting the interests of the students first actually makes business sense, because preventing students from feeling as though they are cash generating commodities provides motivation for them to really stick with it long term.

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