Yes, it’s fast, and it’s not bad. However, it can be intimidating when you’re a beginner and worry you can’t keep up with it. So here is some advice to make dancing Salsa a fantastic experience.

One: On the highway, drive steady.

Think of Salsa as driving on a highway. Is it driving on a highway fast? Sure it is, but it’s still just driving. And so, the most important thing is staying in your lane. Don’t keep switching lanes.

In Salsa terms, as you step forward and back in your basic steps, whether you are a  leader or follower, try not to bring your feet out slightly left. Instead, you should dance as if you’re dancing on a railroad track, staying on your trail. The more straight you drive and don’t weave in and out, the less intimidating the speed is.

When you watch someone on YouTube, you think it’s all about the hip movement and based on that misconception; you adopt a swing like when you are skating and move your hips out, which throws you off your track. Using the highway analogy, think about what would happen if you start to rotate back and forth your steering wheel. Even at five degrees, the consequence is that the car starts wobbling. It starts to lose control. Speed isn’t scary if you’re driving straight. So drive straight.

Two: Sit back as you dance.

Instead of your toes, you want to put most of your weight into your heel as you dance. When dancing fast, you might think you need to lean into your toes. That’s not true. You want to be balanced and comfortable.

Salsa is a marathon, it’s not a race, and you want to be comfortable as you’re going at that fast speed. So, simply bring your feet together and have your bum facing slightly back. So your center weight sits in your heels, and as you go forward and back, it makes the movement much more manageable; you feel less tense because you are not fighting gravity.

Three: Shoelaces tied. 

Imagine you’re wearing sneakers, and I tie your shoelaces. As you dance, the length of the shoelace constrains your Salsa steps. Consequently, you can’t go forward and back too far, and It’s easier to dance fast if you’re not taking big steps.  Exaggerating our steps is a common mistake when we start dancing, but thinking you have your shoelace tied is a little trick that can help you measure your steps and improve your control when dancing Salsa.

So the general rule of thumb is that when you bring your feet together, you don’t want to take a step forward or back further than your toes.

Another way to think about it is to imagine you’re in a nightclub and don’t have much room to dance. So you do your forward and back shuffle and small steps. The more you can take the attention away from your feet and how fast they move by taking smaller steps, the more you can be present and enjoy it.

Going back to our car analogy, imagine the gas and the brake were far apart, and you had to drag your foot to switch between the two. Especially if you’re going fast, it would be scary to press on the wrong pedal or push it too late.

So doing smaller steps and keeping your weight on your heels will give you much more stability and the possibility of dancing fast without losing balance.

Four: Our famous T-Rex position. 

If you become part of our family, you will soon learn that one of the most significant mistakes when learning to dance Salsa or Bachata is keeping your knees locked. So I tell my students at level one up to level six in Bachata or Salsa. You don’t want to dance with your knees locked as you have broken your legs and are wearing two giant casts.

When we walk or get on a bus, our knees are naturally relaxed because they act as shock absorbers, and we need that flexibility to keep balance; otherwise it is just like going fast in a car with no suspension. That’s a rough ride, especially if you hit a speed bump.

So, as a general rule, bring your feet together, and as you pull your weight into your heels, you want to bend your knee, take your pelvis back and point it to your heels. Think of creating a little T-Rex position or a Zed shape that feels like you are sitting on a high stool. This Zed position is the position you want to be in.

Another way to explain it is by describing someone skating, or if you have ever gone skating, you know this sport requires you to keep your center of gravity lower. So by being close to the ground, you are more balanced and can control your moves better even if you are going at high speed.

I love you. There are many more tips I can share with you, but all in all, Salsa is amazing.

Don’t be scared to drive on a highway. Instead, pick a good school, choose a good instructor, go, and have fun.

I can’t wait to welcome you to our big family, have you coming in, week to week, having fun, connecting with new friends, 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].