How to Dance Salsa and Master Salsa Dancing

April 24, 2017

There’s really no secret to dancing like a pro. Like any other skill, if you want to be an expert at it, you first have to master the basics.

Salsa dancing is no exception.

That said, let’s break down the basic steps to salsa dancing and then we’ll move on to the fancier stuff.

Salsa Dance: Basic Steps

You’ll probably come across terms such as “New York Style” or “Colombian Style” over the course of your salsa dancing lessons. But since we’re focusing on the basics, we’ll just talk about On 1 or LA Style.

Now, when we say On 1, we’re referring to your initial movement. Simply put, this means starting on the first beat. Puerto Rican Style, on the other hand, starts on the second beat and is sometimes called On 2.

Here are the basic moves for On 1:

  1. Whether you’re a leader (L) or a follower (F), start with both of your feet together.
  2. 1st Beat/Count 1: L – With your left foot, step forward. F – With your right foot, step backward.
  3. 2nd Beat/Count 2: L – Rock back on your right foot. F – With your left foot, step forward.
  4. 3rd Beat/Count 3: L- With your left foot, step backward. Make sure to put the weight on the ball of your foot. F – With your right foot, step forward. Similar to L, use the ball of your foot.
  5. 4th Beat/Count 4: L – Let the heel of your foot carry the weight. Hold the beat. F – Do what L did in reverse – hold the beat, let your heel carry the weight.
  6. 5th Beat/Count 5: L – With your right foot, step back. F – With your left foot, step forward.
  7. 6th Beat/Count 6: L – On your left foot, rock forward. F – With your right foot, step backward.
  8. 7th Beat/Count 7: L- With your right foot, step forward. Move the weight on the ball of your foot. F – With your left foot, step backward. Place the weight on the ball of your foot.
  9. 8th Beat/Count 8: L – Without lifting your right foot, keep the weight on it. F – Place the weight on your heel. Hold the beat.

The Fancy Stuff

Once you’ve mastered the basic moves, you can try doing a solo turn. You can do this on the 2nd beat. Instead of rocking back on your right foot, you can do 180-degree turn.

You can also try turning right on the 6th beat or turning left on the 7th beat if you’re a follower. Remember to hold the beat on Count 8.

There’s also the cross body lead, where L allows F to cross in front on Count 5. L will step forward on Count 6. Again, hold the beat on Count 8.

And finally, if you really want to look like a salsa dance pro, you should learn how to do an open break. Keep at it until you’re ready to learn other salsa dance styles.

Want More Tutorials?

If you loved our step-by-step salsa tutorial, don’t forget to check our other posts. We also have easy to follow lessons on tango, the macarena, and more to keep you dancing like a pro.

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