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5 Concepts for Creative Salsa Shines


Today I’m addressing a common misconception: more moves alone won’t make you a better dancer.

Instead, it’s about diving deep into the moves you already know and exploring them fully.

Here are five concepts to help you make your dancing and shines more playful, unique, and dynamic. Plus, there’s a fun challenge for you at the end!

1. Intention

Intention is about the energy and flavor you bring to each step. Consider how you perform a basic Suzie Q:

  • Classic Suzie Q: Hip-centric twisting motion.
  • Casual Suzie Q: Square and forward, less emphasis on the hips.
  • Up-and-Down Suzie Q: Adding a slight bounce for a different feel.

It’s up to you to bring the flavour you want into the step you’re doing.

Your mood and the music influence this energy. Are you feeling happy, sad, energetic, or calm? Is the music sharp or smooth? Adjust your intention accordingly to change the vibe of your steps.

2. Levels

Playing with levels can make your moves more dynamic:

  • Basic step with a drop: drop lower on the last step.
  • Suzie Q with a rise: rise on your last step.

In a recent class, we practiced a sequence involving a left turn, a hop, and then moving from low to high. These level changes add a new dimension to your dance.

3. Angles and Direction Changes

Changing your orientation can significantly alter the dynamics of your dance:

  • Basic step with a pivot: Add a simple pivot at the end.
  • Suzie Q at angles: perform the step at different angles (e.g., 45 degrees or 180 degrees).
  • Suzie Q with rotations: extend the suzie q and rotate in a circle.

These are just a few examples. You can use these concepts with any step.

Rotations and direction changes are just one more way to make your dance more visually engaging.


4. Traveling

Move in a specific direction while dancing:

  • Basic Step traveling: progress in one direction.
  • Suzie Q traveling: propel yourself forward or backward with intentional steps.

Stay in one place, move around, or move and then stop. Every change you make has a visual effect.

5. Focus

Where you look affects the focus of your dance and how it appears visually:

  • Basic Step: your focus is typically straight ahead at your partner or audience.
  • Suzie Q changing focus: look in the direction you’re moving or in the opposite direction. Each has a different effect.
  • Look at something to emphasize it: when flaring your foot out look down at it for dramatic effect. Look away from your partner, then quickly look towards them as you match it with your step.

Changing your focus adds a playful element and can highlight different aspects of your dance.


Now that you understand these five concepts, start by applying them to your basic step and the Suzie Q. Once you’re comfortable, pick two other steps you know well and explore these concepts with them. This will help you discover your own style and preferences, making you a more mature and developed dancer.

By focusing on these concepts—intention, levels, angles and direction changes, traveling, and focus—you can truly bring your dancing to life.

Explore these ideas deeply, and remember, the best way to improve is through deep exploration, not just copying your teacher.

For more in-depth lessons, check out our online salsa programtry it free for a week right here.