I have been dancing for many years mostly as a Pro/Am student. I have a problem recognizing beat-1 in several Rumba and a few Cha-cha songs. I do not have the same problem with any Standard-music, nor with Jive, Paso, Samba, East Coast or Mambo. I have been dancing for many years mainly as Pro-Am student. I improved a little over the years but now I realize that I still have the same problem.
The other day, I danced an entire 30-second C-C routine on the wrong beat in front of a class, with a partner I did not know, resulting in great embarrassment. I was so sure that I was right that I ignored the teachers initial counting, thinking that the teachers was wrong. I realized in the middle that I am on the wrong beat, but I just continued, because I did not want to confuse my partner.
My private teacher told me today that if I want to become an accomplished dancer I must recognize beat-1 instantly at any time during the choreography. I know that my teacher is right. So I said, maybe I lack musicality. The teacher said that is not the case, but came up short giving usable practical advice on how to improve.
I know there are some CDs on the market for learning to recognize the counts in Salsa, but I am not interested in Salsa because I dont like the Salsa music. To me it is too busy without direction and clarity. However I like most Latin and Standard music and most Rhythm-music, and I want to improve.