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Adding New Moves into Your Salsa Social Dancing

In a recent video I talked about How to Break Down Complex Salsa Patterns into the individual moves that make them, so you can understand what you see.

Being able to name all the moves you see is the key. It allows you to learn things faster, remember patterns easier and take inspiration from your favorite dancers.

Today I want to go one step further and show you how to take all those cool moves you see and add them into your social dancing.

For inspiration we’re going to use the same two salsa combinations we looked at in the previous video (Bouncy Hands and Triple Trouble) and I’m going to show you which two moves I want to add into my social dancing.

How to Add Moves Into Your Social Dancing


Criteria For Choosing Moves

  1. Keep it simple: most salsa dancers are only at a beginner to intermediate level. If you choose something simple you can dance it with a much wider variety of partners.
  2. Choose a small piece of the combo, don’t bite off more than you can chew – just one or two moves. Again, the simpler the better. Small pieces are easier to remember. Up the difficulty later.


Alright, let’s take a look at the first combination “Bouncy Hands”

  1. Identify the part of the salsa pattern you like (see video for my example).
  2. Know the start position you need to be in. Think of it like the trigger that allows you to begin the mini combination

In this case my start position or trigger is a parallel handhold.

Patrick starts by giving Scarlet an inside turn, which puts his arms in the correct position so he can turn right do the bouncy hands and a right turn for her.

Using this information I’m going to try it with my friend Johana.

The Game Plan

  • Start position is a parallel hold + left turn
  • There’s a few ways I could start:
    • from a basic left turn
    • from an inside turn (also to the left)
    • reverse cross body lead and give her a left pivot at the end

There’s other ways to get into this but these are the three that I’m gonna try.

Watch the video starting at 2:17

Now let’s look at the Triple Trouble combo

The part I want to use is at the very end

Triple Trouble combo starts at 3:35 in the video

The part I want to use is just after 3:53: starting from a hammerlock (left to left hold), do change of place with two checks and then exit under her arm.

  • Start position: hammerlock with a left to left handhold
  • A few ways I could start:
    • Face partner, do a simple hand toss
    • Cross body lead with a hand toss (one layer of difficulty added at a time)
    • Right turn to hammerlock
    • Outside turn to hammerlock

Once you know the start position there’s a TON of different ways you can start something.


Now that I’ve tried each entry individually I’ll try putting them together in a social dance

Go to 5:56 in the video!



I hope this video has shown you the benefits of learning things in little pieces or mini combos as opposed to memorizing long patterns.

Ultimately everything is modular and fits together like a puzzle. That’s the magic of social dancing, you never know what’s going to happen so you have to be adaptable.

If you want to go deeper with your social dancing check out our online salsa and bachata courses. You can try them totally free for a week at the link below.