These are the moves you have to learn in order to be able to go to a nightclub and dance Salsa. One of the things I love about Toronto Dance Salsa is that we teach the nightclub version of Salsa. This means that you can go to a Latin nightclub anywhere in the world – New York City, Los Angeles, Singapore, St. Petersburg – and they will be doing these same moves. So if you can’t join Toronto Dance Salsa, make sure that the studio you join is teaching these moves.
- Basic steps. It’s a given – you need to know the basic forward and back steps. Starting with your left foot and alternating your feet, you step forward on one, in place on two and feet together on three, pause on four, back on five, step in place on six and bring your feet together on seven and pause on eight. One quick tip is take small steps. You might see people on YouTube taking exaggerated and large steps. It is not worth it because when you do massive steps it becomes a workout. So take small steps.
- Basic Right Turn. This is a staple for every Salsa dancer. It is an absolute must for both leaders and followers before you are ready to go to a nightclub. You step forward with your left foot and twist your body to the right so you have done half a turn and then you bring your feet together. You finish by stepping back into your basics. As a side note, I am explaining all of this in the LA style of Salsa which means we are dancing on the one.
- Crossbody Lead. If you are stuck in one place on the dance floor, it is super boring for both the leader and the follower. Lleaders have to be able to move their partners across the dance floor. If you are a leader you can think of yourself as Aladdin and your partner as Jasmine and you want to take your partner to a whole new world. The crossbody lead is where the leader steps forward and opens up their body through the 1,2, 3 count and carries their partner across the dance floor. The crossbody lead is a standard move of every beginner class and something you gotta ace. One quick tip is whenever you are helping your partner cross, look to where your partner is going. This way you don’t crash your partner into another couple. This was something for which I was infamous for a short time when I was learning to dance.
- Left Turn (also called a Reverse Turn). It is just as important as the right turn. It is a bit more technical and something we cover in depth and spend a whole hour on at Toronto Dance Salsa. The left turn is especially important for followers. Leaders don’t do them as often until intermediate and advanced classes. One quick tip for the reverse turn is to keep your feet apart the whole time. Unlike a right turn where you turn and twist on one foot, the left turn is a walking turn.
- Basic Combinations. You want to be able to do at least a basic combination of a leader turning the follower, the leader turning and then turning the follower again. These basic chains are super important to keep both you and your partner entertained. You don’t want to be the type of dancer who does a single right turn and then 30 basics. For followers a general rule of thumb in order to be able to keep up with combinations is to stay present and mindful – like meditation. Don’t worry about past mistakes or what is coming – stay present in the moment and follow your hand.
- Crossbody Lead Turn. This one has lots of other names – crossbody lead inside turn or a crossbody lead left turn. This is a must. It is something you see all the time from beginner dancers all the way up to professional dancers. A follower is moved across the dance floor using a crossbody lead and is spun inside in beautiful and exciting ways. A quick tip for followers is to remember to take small steps and a tip for leaders is to keep the circle for the turn small.
Here’s the cool thing, there are so many exciting moves to learn but if you know these six things you can at least dance a couple of songs at a Latin Nightclub anywhere in the world. At Toronto Dance Salsa we cover all of these moves and more in Salsa NightClub Level One.
I cannot wait to welcome you with a high five, a big hug and have you join Toronto Dance Salsa. Click here to check our current schedule.
There are so many other tips I can give and I would love to hear from you. If there is a post you want me to write about, please get in touch with me through Instagram (torontodancesalsa), Twitter (#torontodancesalsa), Facebook (Toronto Dance Salsa) or email [email protected].
I can’t wait to see you where you #belong – on the dance floor.