Ok time for part 4 of the salsa etiquette article…

• Timing vs. Moves
Gentlemen, you have the very difficult task of balancing the rhythm/timing of the music with the types of moves you execute. Some men will compromise proper timing to execute more complicated moves. From a female perspective, most women would rather dance with someone who understands timing and can stay on time and who only executes simples moves as opposed to someone who is constantly skipping from one beat to another while executing complicated moves.

In terms of what timing to keep, the truth is it does not actually matter what beat you begin dancing every set on – depending on what part of the world you are in, who you have learned from and how you interpret the music, a male can lead on any beat (hence the terms “dancing on 1”, “dancing on 2”, etc). The key is to keep that same beat for the entire song. So if you begin the dance “on 1” which is the first beat of the set of 8 salsa beats, you should start every set on 1.

• How to make a graceful exit

There will be those times when a dance becomes unsafe or uncomfortable. In these situations it is best to end the dance as soon as possible, even if that means stopping the dance half way through. There are two ways to approach the situation. If you feel the need to let the person know that they are rough in their lead or follow, please do so kindly. Many dancers are just getting started and strong criticism could affect them. Gently let them know that you are having a bit of difficulty following or leading them. Many will be open to advice or feedback but don’t give it to them unless they ask for it. If you are not comfortable with this approach, it is always best to let them know you are getting tired/hot/thirsty and need to take a break. Always thank them for the dance and be gracious.

The last and most important piece of this article will come up next on the blog!