How to Dance to Salsa Music.

When I first started dancing, I did not know how to dance to Salsa music. It seemed complicated, it seemed overwhelming and alien to me. So don’t worry, I’m gonna do my very best to help you feel confident. Here are the top three tips to getting your basic Salsa steps down.

Know Your Counts

Salsa has a total of eight counts. I’m going to be teaching this and explaining this in LA style or Los Angeles style. The leader always steps forward with their left foot on the first count and the follower steps back with their right. To make things simple, I will explain from the leader’s perspective. Followers reverse the steps. Leaders step forward with your left on one, in place with your right on two, bring your feet together on three and pause on four. Then step back with your right on five, in place with your left on six and bring your feet together on seven and pause again on eight. Instructors will often not say the four or the eight count. They will count “one, two, three…five, six, seven…” with pauses after the three and seven.

Quick, Quick, Slow

Do you know the rhythm of the song We Will Rock You by Queen? Those heavy bass hits are the heartbeat of Salsa.  Quick quick, slooow, quick, quick sloooow.  At first, most people are nervous and afraid of falling behind, so they dance quick, quick, quick. But Salsa has moments to breathe. Moments to rest. When learning your basics, if you say quick, quick, slow out loud it will help you to keep on rhythm. You will feel a deeper sense of connection. It will just feel right.

Listen to more Salsa music. 

Just like you can’t learn to swim by sitting on your couch, you need to be familiar with Salsa music if you want to learn to dance to it.  So whenever you have the opportunity, turn on some Salsa music. Driving to work? Listen to Salsa. Cooking? Listen to Salsa. More importantly, listen to Salsa music actively. This means you try to keep the rhythm by tapping with your foot or with your hand on the table. Now obviously don’t do this while driving but any time you can – do it.

Some of this is really hard to explain without visuals or actually hearing Salsa music. But exposing yourself to more Salsa music will make you more familiar. Because I have listened to so much Salsa music over the years, most times, even if I haven’t heard the Salsa song before, I can predict where the accents and drops will be.

If you visit the Toronto Dance Salsa website and click on Salsa music, there is a playlist of songs to help you practice dancing and hearing the beat. It’s great practice and it is just fun. When you listen to Salsa, it’s hard to take a nap. Salsa is energetic and exciting. And I hope, at some point, you get to join our school and we get to dance together.

I can’t wait to welcome you to our big family, have you coming in week to week, having fun, socializing, and letting loose to amazing Latin songs. Click here to check our current schedule.

If you have any questions you would like me to answer here are some ways you can contact me: message me on Instagram (torontodanceSalsa), on Twitter (#torontodanceSalsa), on Facebook (Toronto Dance Salsa) or email me at [email protected].