There are so many beautiful Salsa moves. But the best part is that they are all variations on the foundations that every beginner learns. So here are breakdowns of three basic moves that will help you in all levels of Salsa.
The Right Turn
After the basic steps, the move you will use the most is the right turn. For leaders, tap forward with your left foot on count one. About 90% of your weight should remain on the right foot. Twist your torso as far to the right as possible on count two. Both feet should still be on the ground. On count three, suck your ankles together and face your partner again. Continue with your basics by stepping back with your right foot on count five. A follower’s right turn is the same except for the count. Followers tap forward on five, twist on six, suck your ankles together on seven and step back into your basics with your right foot on count one. Think of it as a long twist instead of a turn. If someone calls your name from behind, you twist your torso to face them. That’s what a Salsa right turn should be – a twist. If you want to learn more about this fundamental Salsa move, check out my YouTube video for more tips.
The Left (or Reverse) Turn
You need to be able to turn in the other direction. So left turns or reverse turns are crucial. For leaders, step forward with your left foot on count one. Step in place with your right foot on count two. Take a step back with your left foot and twist to your left to do a half-turn to face the opposite direction (away from your partner) on count three. Still turning to the left, take another step back with your right foot on count five. You will be facing your partner again. From here it is back to basics. Step in place with your left on count six and bring your feet together by stepping with your right on count seven. For followers, the steps are the same but the count is different. Step forward with your left foot on five, step in place on count six, turn to your left a half turn (away from your partner) and step back with your left on count seven. Step back again with your right on count one while still turning to your left to face your partner, step in place on two with your left and bring your feet together by stepping with your right on count three. This Salsa move seems complicated, but remember to keep your feet apart and step away from your partner twice (once to face away and once to face them again) and it will get easier.
Open breaks look beautiful and professional on the dance floor. You and your partner open yourselves up to the dance floor as if to say “Look at me!” and it looks incredible. Leaders need to prep their partner on count seven by letting go of your left hand and tossing your partner’s hand behind them. Leaders step with your left foot by placing it behind your right foot and twisting away from your partner on count one. Step in place with your right foot on count two and face your partner again by stepping with your left foot on count three. The only tricky part is that as you step on count three, you have to change hands. Let go of your right hand and hold on with your left. Now do the same thing on the other side. While opening your torso to the rest of the dance floor, step back with your right foot behind your left foot on five. Step in place with your left foot on six and face your partner again by stepping with your right foot on six. Rinse and repeat. To get back into your basics, push back on your follower’s palm on count seven and step forward on count one. Followers, you are the mirror image of the leaders so you start with your right foot because the move starts on count one. Open breaks look gorgeous and allow you to gain confidence because you are moving in sync with your partner.
Knowing your basics, right and left turns, and open breaks will be an incredible foundation. These Salsa moves are the basis for almost every other fancy trick you see on the dance floor or in YouTube videos.
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