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Want to dance salsa? We tell you how

“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”
― Martha Graham
This perfectly describes salsa, a sexy and exciting dance.

What is salsa dance?

The salsa origin refers to both the salsa music and the dance which came together simultaneously back in the 1920s in Cuba. Already a hot spot for Latin dance such as flamenco, tango and mambo, when this sensational new sound came along, it was named ‘salsa’.  

The fantastic thing about salsa is that you can adopt the style to suit you; make it fast and frantic or slower and more sensual.  Performers have even been known to add in a bit of slow rhumba or Argentinian tango.

Salsa dance steps – how to dance salsa

So, if you want to know how to salsa, what do you need to do and what are the basic salsa steps?  

  1. Find a partner.  If you don’t have one, most dance studios will pair you up so that there is a lead and a follower.
  2. Follow the beat.  The salsa musical beat is 4/4, but there will normally be three weight changes within each measure. What you do within that ‘extra beat’ is what differentiates the style.
  3. Move that body.  The torso is kept almost immobile while the body changes weight. This way, the motion is directed to the hips, producing a ‘Cuban Motion’ style.
  4. Love the music.  The salsa songs and music are distinctive with moves sometimes derivative of other dances such as the rhumba, mambo and tango.

Types of salsa dance

As salsa spread, different styles cropped up, dependent upon their geographical area.

  • Cuban salsa – here the motions have a strong hint of Afro-Cuban rhumba.  Often referred to as ‘casino’ style, it is very much a part of Latin-American heritage.  The style has now spread across Europe, South America and even Israel. With this style, the dance starts off on the downbeat of one or three (as opposed to two).
  • Cross-body – whereas Cuban is danced in circular motions, Cross-body follows a linear movement. It involves a cross-body lead; the dancers are face-to-face, and the male lead will turn first and the female later, after she has passed the male.
  • Cali-style Salsa – Colombia loves the salsa and Cali in Colombia is often referred to as the capital of salsa. Cali dancers have their own distinctive rhythm.  The style is relaxed with an almost still upper body and clever and complex footwork added. There are no cross-body leads and the break is via a diagonal path.

Make a date to salsa

If you love dance and the idea of salsa has you hooked, there is no better time than now to try out salsa moves for beginners.  Do a little research, find your nearest local dance studio and get signed up. There is no need to be shy. You will find many people at salsa classes have never danced before but are excited at the prospect of giving it a go.  Check out some YouTube salsa dancing to give you some ideas.

Make a call today, find a slot that suits your diary and get started.  Salsa couple dancing is so much fun, you will wish you had tried it long ago. Before you know it, you will be taking part in salsa events, salsa parties and salsa nights!