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6 Tips for Better Salsa Basic Steps


This is for all you beginners who are struggling to get your salsa basics nice and smooth.

I’ve been watching a lot of videos lately about salsa basics and it’s worrisome because many teachers are teaching things that, in my opinion, could start giving you bad habits.

Instead of focusing on what’s right and wrong, I’ll share my suggestions and explain why they work.

The Importance of Understanding Why

As a student, it’s crucial to understand the reason behind something. As a teacher, if we can’t explain the why, don’t blindly accept our information. Challenge us and ask questions. That’s our job as teachers.

Six Tips to Improve Your Basics

Let’s get into the six tips on how to improve your basics, making them easier to do and smoother.

Tip #1: Turn Out Your Feet

Why turn out our feet? Because it gives us more stability and balance. Sure, you can do a Salsa basic with your feet pointing directly forward, but when it comes to turns, you’re much more stable with your feet turned out. Every half turn, you achieve a stable T-stance. Whether you’re a leader or a follow, turning your feet out enhances balance and allows your hips to move more freely. This opens the door for more fluid body movement.

Tip #2: Walk on Two Lines

What do I mean by walking on two lines? We have two feet, so we walk on two lines. Some instructors teach stepping directly in front or behind the previous foot, essentially walking on a tightrope. While this isn’t wrong, it’s not efficient for beginners. Walking on two lines is more natural and effective. In fast-paced Salsa, walking on a single line is difficult. So, walk on two lines to maintain efficiency and balance.

Tip #3: Use the Balls of Your Feet

Most of you probably know this, but it’s essential to emphasize. We naturally walk heel-toe, but that’s not ideal for fast-paced Salsa. Using the balls of your feet makes you more responsive and agile. In your front brake, start with your toe, and in your back brake, push off the ball of your foot. This technique keeps you light and quick on your feet, essential for Salsa’s fast tempo.

Tip #4: Pass Through the Middle on Your Basic

This tip, featured in our most popular YouTube video, is about making your basic smoother by passing through the middle. Instead of collecting your feet at the home position, let them pass through each other. This creates a smooth, continuous motion, aligning with Salsa’s quick, quick, slow rhythm. It prevents a staccato, robotic feel and enhances fluidity.

Tip #5: Chill on the Body Movement

Beginners often get excited and focus too much on body movement. Ladies might overemphasize their hips, and guys their arms. This can create bad habits. For leads, excessive arm movement can confuse your partner. Keep your arms relaxed and focus on clear, distinct signals. For follows, focus on timing and technique first. Body movement will come later. Avoid creating bad habits early on.

Tip #6: Check Your Posture

Posture is powerful and often overlooked. Good posture transmits confidence and technical information effectively. It enhances your appearance and responsiveness. A student of ours transformed his dancing by improving his posture, making his movements look smooth and graceful. Standing tall and maintaining good posture shows confidence and makes you more attractive as a dance partner. It helps you respond better to your partner’s signals and improves your overall dance experience.

Final Thought

Understanding the why behind each tip is a big part of our philosophy at Dance Dojo. We want to provide detailed explanations so you can become a better-educated dancer and make informed decisions about your dancing.

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love our online programs. You can even try them free for seven days here.

They’re progressive, detailed and always explain the why behind everything. Our goal is to help you understand salsa, excel, succeed, and have more fun with your dance partners.