7 Salsa Moves for Beginners

The Building Blocks for Everything

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So many people want to learn salsa, but they just don’t know where to start. The fact every teacher has a different approach and they don’t explain WHY doesn’t help either.

These seven beginner salsa moves are the building blocks for everything in linear style salsa.⁠

Learn them, practice them and read on to understand why they’re so fundamental.

And after if you’d like to learn them, you can try the online Salsa Course completely free for a week here. 

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⁠1. Basic Steps⁠

We show you the five most common salsa basics. Although there are more, nail these ones first. Get comfortable shifting your weight and learning how to lead and follow the transitions between them.

  • Salsa basic on the spot
  • Salsa basic side to side
  • Salsa back basic
  • Salsa back basic (crossing) – often called cumbia basic
  • Salsa basic front to back

2. Right Turn ⁠

The right turn is the first turn you learn and it sets you up for learning the cross body lead outside turns and multiple spins.

3. Left Turn⁠

The left turn is the second turn you’ll learn, so you can turn both ways. This sets you up for cross body lead inside turns. ⁠Check out 7 Salsa Inside Turn Variations for a perfect example of how everything is built on fundamentals.

4. Cross Body Lead⁠

The cross body lead is the foundation or essence of this linear style of salsa. The lead gets off the follow’s line of dance, giving them a clear path to cross in front and arrive at the other side, to switch places.

5. Hesitation / Block / Check ⁠

All three names are interchangeable. When the leader stops or blocks the follow’s movement and sends them back in the direction they came it’s called a block or check. When you do it during a cross body lead it’s also called a hesitation. You’ll use this concept a ton as you advance, to keep things interesting and surprise the follow.

6. New York Walk⁠

The New York walk is a variation of the cross body lead where the follow pivots to the right, instead of the left, to finish the move. ⁠

7. Change of Place / Enchufa⁠

The change of place or what is often called “Enchufa” in Cuban salsa, is the simplest way for the lead and follow to switch positions.⁠ There’s lots of fun variations you can do using different handholds. It’s a very common move to use in Cuban and Colombian styles of salsa.

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