Today we’d like to introduce you to Myron Abernathy.
Myron, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was first stung by the salsa bug back in High School. Towards the end of my senior year, we had a multi-cultural festival in which I saw several of my friends participating in the Latin portion of the event. Some of them were dancing, and I had no idea what I was looking at at the time (I would realize later they were dancing Merengue), but I thought to myself, “Wow. I would love to be able to do that someday.” I wanted to be able to specifically do the activity they were doing, but I deep down, I also wanted to be able to do ANYTHING in front of a crowd like that. Back then, I had horrible stage fright and couldn’t stand having all eyes on me.
I would eventually take one Latin Dance class at a club in Tallahassee, FL, while attending college there, but I, unfortunately, was unable to turn that into any momentum as far as learning more. That would finally happen once I moved back home to Atlanta to finish college. A Puerto Rican friend I was attending church with announced one day that he’d be teaching free Salsa classes for our campus ministry every Sunday after Church. He had me at “Salsa” and “free,” of course. I was hooked from there.
I spent two years taking classes but didn’t get to put what I’d learned into practice outside of class, as I was only 19 at the time, too young to get into any Latin Dance clubs in the area. During that time, my original instructor had to move back home to Michigan and informed me that if the class was going to continue, I would have to be the one to keep it going. I didn’t think I was ready for that, but I loved the dance so much and had no other outlet for it, so I accepted. In hindsight, I truly wasn’t ready to teach, but I was glad to have gained the experience in learning how to teach, even though I hadn’t yet mastered the material.
So I finally turned 21 and spent that Summer looking any and everywhere for places to dance and learn. After spinning my wheels at the Latin Club scene (it was more of a meet-market crowd, so I was getting turned down for dances half the time or more), I finally stumbled upon a “Salsa Social” at The Sanctuary Night Club. Though it was technically a club, the event that night, run by “Salsa” Sheila Sampath, had much more of a community vibe to it; everyone danced with everyone, regardless of attraction, skill level, or background. I officially became a “salsaholic” that night and never looked back. I continued to attend the event every time it was held and began going to other similar socials as I got more involved in the scene, gaining a new family along the way.
I would take classes and workshops at every opportunity and eventually began teaching again in 2007. In 2009, would even begin teaching at The Sanctuary, the place where I’d found my “tribe,” so to speak. I currently freelance as a private lesson instructor, also teaching private parties, weddings, and even comic conventions.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Though the road has definitely been enjoyable, with the good far outweighing the bad, it was not all strawberries and cream. I was not the most assertive guy in the world at the time that I started my journey, which didn’t help, since men traditionally lead during partner dances. It was a hindrance to my dancing at first, but Salsa helped me grow in that area both within the dance itself and in regular life.
Also, I was not fond of being the center of attention, which kept me from getting out onto the dance floor unless at least a handful of other couples were already out there. My love for the dance would eventually wear away my scopophobia, and I learned to tune out the eyes that (I only perceived) were on me.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
As a freelance salsa instructor, I go by “Smoove Salsero.” I came up with that name because the most consistent compliment I would get on my dancing was that I was “smooth.” I like to think that each dancer’s personality overflows into their dance style, and that’s why I tend to be more laid-back and mellow with my dancing (one member of a Latin band who saw me dance once dubbed me “Tranquilo”), whereas most salsa dancers are known for being flashy and flamboyant.
While I can teach all experience levels, I’ve become known for teaching beginners. As a student, it would always annoy me when some teachers would simply say, “Watch me and just do what I do.” I’d think to myself, “Well, if I could do what you’re doing already, I wouldn’t be here!” So when I teach, I teach people the way that I would like to be taught. I break things down as far as possible and I’m always coming up with new analogies for the concepts I teach. I’ve had many beginner students tell me that they’d been taught a certain concept many times before by other instructors, but it would finally click once they came to me. Also, because knowing the “why” of what I’m doing helps me retain the information better, I pass that same knowledge on to my students. I take care to explain WHY they need to do this thing this way or stop doing that thing that way.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Humility. There’s a quote that goes something like, “The man who knows something knows that he knows nothing at all.” I believe that, no matter how good you become at something, there will always be more about said thing that you don’t know. There will always be more to learn and improve on. And there is always someone else out there better and more knowledgeable than you. I’ve always told myself, if I ever allow myself to think I’ve got it all down, that’ll be the moment that I start to decline.
- 1 hour Private Party/Group Lesson – $200
- 45 Minute Private Session – $85 (for up to 2 students)
- 5-Session Private Lesson Package – $375
- 10-Session Private Lesson Package – $700
- Phone: 4045790657
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/smoovesalsero
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Smoovesalsero
- Twitter: twitter.com/smoovesalsero
- Other: youtube.com/smoovesalsero
Proyecto Barrio Dance Studio
Angelia Claudette Photography