7 Salsa Inside Turn Variations You Should Know

(Dancing on 1 with @johaceta 💃🏽 – not sure what dancing on 1 means? click here)

Ever feel like you’re seeing hundreds of different salsa turns and you have no idea how to make sense of them all?

Well, you can relax.

There are only a small handful of truly unique turns and the rest are variations.

Similar to our recent post 7 Salsa Moves for Beginners (The Building Blocks for Everything), this video and post will show you how the majority of moves in salsa are just variations of a few fundamentals.

Let’s take a look at the salsa inside turn as an example so you can see the move in it’s basic form and then a bunch of it’s variations.

By the end of the video you’re going to have 7 different inside turn variations you can add to your social dancing.

The Goal

The key lesson here is you need to be able to understand and SEE dance. When you’re able to break things down into pieces and you have a name for each move, it’s so much easier to understand what you see. Once you can do this you’ll be able to remember and learn everything faster, including complex patterns.

Let’s get to know the inside turn deeply, first in it’s normal form and then 7 variations…


The Inside Turn (it’s basic form)

You can do it in the closed hold or open hold. Start a cross body lead and then turn the follow to the left 1.5 turns.


1. Shoulder Turn

The same as the regular inside turn, but this time the lead initiates the 1.5 turns to the left from the follow’s shoulder.


2. Hip Turn

Just like the shoulder turn, but it’s initiated from the hip.


3. Free Spin

Similar to both the shoulder and hips turns except this one is initiated from the follow’s hand. It’s super common.


4. Wrap With a Check or Complete Turn

When you do the wrap with a check the lead stops the follow after completing just 1 turn to the left, and then brings the follow back so they’re facing each other. A “check” simply means stopping the follow and sending them back the way they came.

When you do the wrap with a complete turn the lead allows the follow to complete the usual 1.5 turns to the left and then the lead decides how to exit the position they’re in.


5. Butterfly With a Check or Complete Turn

Similar to the wrap with a check, the leader uses a different handhold (two hands, crossing left hand on top) allowing for a large open of the arms, the butterfly. The lead then stops the follow and brings the follow back so they’re facing each other.

For the complete turn the lead simply allows the follow to complete the 1.5 turns to the left and then decides how they’d like to exit the position


6. Barrel Roll

This is one of my favorites. As the lead starts the 1.5 turns to the left for the follow the lead does a hook turn to create a back to back variation which is fun and different.


7. Sliding Doors (or Windows) From the Hip, Shoulder or Free Spin

This variation uses ideas from earlier variations. The lead sends the follow into the inside turn using a choice of entries (hip, shoulder or free spin) and then as the follow is finishing, the lead guides the follow to begin another cross body lead and then signals the follow for another inside turn, often from the hip.



As you can see all moves have a foundation and it’s that foundation that gets remixed to create new variations.

Once you understand the foundations your understanding and progress in salsa are going to sky rocket!

If you enjoyed this video and would like some guidance, give our online courses a try…