Salsa Dance Moves for Beginners

It is hard to believe, but once you know the basic steps of Salsa there are just a few Salsa Dance Moves for Beginners that create the foundation for almost all other Salsa moves. The complex, beautiful and intricate moves you see professional Salsa dancers use are built on this foundation. Here are the top moves that all leaders and followers must know in order to feel comfortable dancing at any nightclub or social.

Right Turns 

Everyone – leaders and followers – has to know how to do a right turn. Leaders don’t want to get the reputation of someone who is constantly spinning their follower around the dance floor but never does any turns themselves. Believe me, no one will want to dance with you.

This is the basic breakdown of a leaders turn in In LA style Salsa (dancing on the one): Step forward with your left foot on one, do a twist (half turn) to the right on two, continue twisting to your right and bring your feet together on three. You should be facing the same way as when you started the turn.

For followers you would step forward on five. Do a twist, half turn to the right on six, continue twisting to your right and bring your feet together on seven.

Eventually, you can build on this basic right turn to go to doubles and triples. But your single turns have to be solid first, so keep practicing

Reverse Turns (also known as Left Turns)

The reverse turn (at some other schools it is called a left turn) is the first turn we teach at Toronto Dance Salsa that requires a bit more coordination. But you can’t only make right turns, you have to know how to do a reverse turn as well.

On leaders’ timing it is step forward with your left foot on one, step in place with right on two, look over your left shoulder and step behind you with your left foot on three so you are facing the opposite direction, Keep turning to your left and place your right foot behind on five (you should now be facing the same way as when you started), step in place on six with your right and bring your feet together on seven. You can think of it like you are leaving your house but then realize you have forgotten your keys on the table so you go back in and swing around to get them. It sounds complicated but come take a class with us and it all makes sense.  For followers it is exactly the same except you start the move on five, six, seven and finish on one, two, three.

We also use the left turn in higher levels to be able to stack, advanced moves, like in level two, for example, the palm check into shoulder check, which as you’re reading it might sound like jargon, but if you take a dance class with us you will see how incredible it is.

Cross Body Lead and Cross Body Lead Turn

Now you can’t just spin around in one place on the dance floor. You need to know how to move and flow across the dance floor as well. This is where the cross body lead and cross body lead turn come in. It also allows you to change position on the dance floor so you start facing one direction adn then end up facing the opposite way.

A cross-body lead is where a leader steps forward with the left on one, steps to the side to open a path for the follower with the right on two, brings ytheir feet together on three and then helps the follower step across the dance floor on five, six and seven. On six, the follower does a half turn so the leader and follower have changed positions.

A cross-body lead turn is the same except now a follower does three half turns. Both moves are a must.

Other essential moves we teach in Salsa Nightclub Level 1 include the catwalk and combinations and how to do combs. However, if you go to a nightclub knowing how to lead and follow a right turn, how to do a reverse turn or left turn and how to carry your partner across the dance floor in a crossbody lead and add a crossbody lead turn, you will be able to dance a couple of songs and not feel overwhelmed. I know a lot of this sounds like jargon and seems really confusing, but join some classes and I promise it will get easier.

“Whatever level you are, it’s the consistency and willingness to learn and grow that counts”  – Shelley Quan

Click here to learn more about some Basics of Salsa.

I can’t wait to welcome you to our big family, have you coming in from week to week, have fun, socialize, and let 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].