What is SALSA?Salsa
is a umbrella term of different rhythms & styles of Latin & Afro-Caribbean
music. Originated from Cuba, Salsa music is based on "SON" with other
elements added from Cuba
(Rumba, Guaguanco), Puerto Rico (Bomba, Plena) & America (Jazz, Blues, Swing) to create the spicy sound
of "Modern Salsa". Today's Salsa dance came from Mambo, and is specifically
breaking on2. Although dancing Salsa can be on whatever timing one prefers -
on 1 , on 2, on 3 and it can be danced in different styles, such as LA
(theatrics), NY (shines & slot), Cuban (circular), Puerto Rico style
(clave), Colombia style (fast syncopated footwork).
>>> Click here to learn more about the history
NYSalsababy Dance Lessons specialize on club-style NYon2 Salsa.To
dance on2 means that we break on
2nd and 6th beat of the
music we dance to is counted in 2 four-beat measures (4/4 time) where
we dance 3 beats to each measure. Or dance 6 beats to
8-counts (123, 567 - quick quick slow, quick quick slow).
Your basic steps are important building blocks
where each step and each turn pattern build upon itself to a solid
foundation. In general, there're 5 variations of basic steps:
1. Back Rock Basic
2. Closed Basic
3. Side Breaks
4. Progressive Basic
5. Box Basic
When dancing the NYon2 basics with a
partner, it's common to start with Progressive Basic with
Forward and Back breaks. A
“break step” is the rock step that we change the direction of our momentum.
Generally, the follower or woman always mirrors
the leader's or man's steps, so while the leader performs a back break basic movement,
the follower performs a forward break basic movement and visa versa.
The numbers below represents the beat of the music.
Your weight should be on the foot mentioned by the beat in the music. Always
start with both feet together.
Leader's/Men's Timing 1 2 3 hold 5 6 7 hold
L R L hold R L R hold
Leaders start with BACK BASIC:
1. Step in place with your LEFT Foot
2. Break BACK (rock step) with your RIGHT Foot
3. Replace weight on LEFT Foot
4. Hold this beat
Then complete with FORWARD BASIC:
5. RIGHT Foot step forward to meet left foot
6. Break FORWARD (rock step) with LEFT Foot
7. Replace weight on RIGHT Foot
8. Hold this beat
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Follower's/Women's Timing 1 2 3 hold 5 6 7 hold
R L R hold L R L hold
Followers start with FORWARD BASIC:
1. Step in place with RIGHT Foot
2. Break FORWARD (rock step) with LEFT Foot
3. Replace weight on RIGHT Foot
4. Hold this beat
Then complete with BACK BASIC:
5. LEFT Foot step back to meet right foot
6. Break BACK (rock step) with RIGHT Foot
7. Replace weight on LEFT Foot
8. Hold this beat
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Learning dance
steps is like learning to ride a bike. Aside from getting the rhythm and
timing into your system, it's all about muscle memories. And practice makes
perfect! All it takes is 15 to 30 minutes each day to review the basics, turns and
shines that was taught in previous class, then invite a fellow student/partner
to practice together. And of course there's always private lessons to perfect
the skills and speed up your learning curve.
PARTNERING SKILLS * DANCE
TECHNIQUE & ETIQUETTE
LEADING AND FOLLOWING
Even though the man leads the whole dance, the idea is that the man is trying to
seduce the lady, he is pushing forward and she is pushing him away. So maintain
a slight forward pressure with your body and keep 50/50 tension in arms.
If you are in closed dance position – Leader’s right hand should be just below
the follower's shoulder blade, and his left hand gently takes hers in his. Follower should
place her thumb on the intersection of the muscles just below his shoulder (he
should have a little slot where it fits naturally). The rule is hold
each other comfortably. Under no circumstances should you stretch to reach your
partner, or hold so tight that there're no room to breathe.
There’s only one
leader in the dance, so let the leader lead. After all it is his job! If he is
having trouble, be considerate and have patience. He will come around and when
he does, he will remember who was nice to him when he struggled.
LATIN DANCE TECHNIQUE
When you step, whether forward, backward or side, step onto the inside ball of
your foot (big toe), roll your foot onto the small ball (little toe), then place
the foot flatly onto the floor, straightening the leg - that's ball flat
footwork. If you have done this
correctly, your body weight is now on the foot you have lowered and you should
be able to stand on one leg without falling over.
The hip sway motion is a natural consequence of changing weight from one foot to
the other, with slight knee bend action. There is no intentional hip movement in any of the Latin dances, so
don’t overdo it!
And always take small steps. If the music is really fast, move with just a half
foot length, so you don't feel like you're chasing the music.
KNEE BENDS & WEIGHT SHIFT
You shouldn't need to consciously bend your knee. Relax! As you change weight
onto one leg the other leg should naturally bend at the knee and the heel of the
foot raise. In the Latin dances whenever one leg is straight (bearing weight),
the other should be bent. If this hasn't happened then your weight is probably
centered. Simply shift your weight onto the appropriate leg. It may take a bit
of practice to co-ordinate your movements.
ARMS AND ELBOWS
Try not to thrash your arms and elbows aimlessly. Proper arm styling can enhance
your dance if only used effectively. Leader should use his arms to tell the
follower when to come forward or go back. Both need to keep some tension
(pressure) in the arms, so that leaders can lead. Even if you are a beginner,
you can dance effectively if you stand erect and keep a firm pressure on your
Ladies should let the leaders lead them. Try to control your movements within
timing and style appropriately. A leader would not be able to lead effectively
if followers bounce around, do not stay on timing or do not sustain hand/arm
pressure when dancing.
Salsa dance should be done with a hint of sexuality but remember, children maybe
watching, so keep it clean! Leaders need to keep their upper body tall and be
gently aggressive (assertive). When you dance, pay attention and look at your partner. Enjoy
yourselves and have a good time!
DANCE TRICKS AND TIPS
If you lose the beat and find yourself out of step with the music, don't try to
catch up. It will make things worse and confuse your partner. Instead just close
your feet to return to the start position (do nothing or mark timing with weight
shift or body movement). Wait for the next bar of music and start again.
Please be considerate of your partner. If you want to perform some fancy move
but your follower is on the wrong foot, or someone is in the way making it hard
or even dangerous for her to do the move - abort mission! Be aware of what’s
around you and always lead your follower into an open space before you do a
Dance is about partnership and team work. Co-operate with each other is the key.
Be your partners’ eyes if they are stepping backwards where something will
obstruct their steps, it’s both of your responsibility to prevent accidents from