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8 Tips for Amazing Salsa Dance Connection

When you see two amazing salsa dancers dance there’s something magical that’s happening – their connection. We love it, we admire it.

But what makes a great connection?

There’s a lot that goes into it, but today I want to talk mostly about the technical side – how to make your dances feel really good, physically.

Here are some gold nuggets of information that will help you create those magical, magnetic connections.


Tip #1: Bring Positive Energy and Smile

By far the most important thing is to smile and bring good energy to your partner. This starts as soon as you approach your partner and ask them to dance and continues while you’re dancing with them.

The intention you bring to the dance—the emotion, vibe, and energy you give your partner with your smile and body language—is everything. People will always remember how you made them feel.

For example, there are often two types of beginners:

  1. Super scared and nervous ones, with their body language showing it, and
  2. Relaxed ones, who don’t care about their mistakes, laugh them off and just enjoy the dance.

I love dancing with that second type of beginner, who brings great energy, much more and so does everybody else. So, bring a great energy to your dances and smile. Mistakes are normal – laugh them off!


Tip #2: Timing

Timing is crucial. You’ll often hear people say, “You just need to feel the music,” but knowing the timing of the music is essential. Musicians count their beats (1-2-3-4), and similarly, dancers need to step on time. If both partners are dancing on the same beat, it makes sense. But if one partner is on a different timing, the connection fails, making it difficult to dance together.

If you need help with timing and finding the 1 in salsa music, check out my series on Finding the Beat in Salsa Music.


Tip #3: Posture

Posture is important not just for looking better and conveying confidence but also for transmitting energy through your body. Good posture helps your partner feel your movements. If your posture is bad, signals can become unclear, and your connection will weaken. Stand up tall, chin up, chest up and maintain good posture for better energy transmission and visual signals.

Watch: Benefits of Proper Posture and Frame


Tip #4: Elbows

Elbows play a key role in maintaining a common center. If your elbows go behind your body, you lose that center, leading to disconnection. Keep your elbows in line with your body to maintain a strong and clear connection with your partner.


Tip #5: Hands

Hands are crucial for transmitting signals. In an open position, keep your wrists low for clear push and pull signals. Use specific grips like the “guns” (thumbs and forefingers) or the “Spider-Man” grip (middle fingers and index fingers) for turns to avoid tangling and maintain a smooth connection.

Watch: How to Hold Hands While Salsa Dancing


Tip #6: Tension

How much tension is needed? It depends. Create just enough tension to achieve your goal. For example, when doing a basic step, minimal tension is needed. More tension might be required for bigger steps or quick movements, but generally, a clear signal is more important than excessive force. Cause and effect: initiate a movement, and your partner will finish it. Never force anything.

Watch: How Much Hand Pressure Should I Use When Salsa Dancing?


Tip #7: Closed Position Connection

In a closed position, place your hand on your partner’s lat muscle under their armpit rather than on their back. This position allows for better push and pull signals. Your partner should rest their arm gently on yours to maintain a strong connection, enhancing movement clarity.


Tip #8: Tracing

Tracing helps maintain connection. For instance, when transitioning from a closed to an open position, slide your hand along your partner’s arm to find their hand again. Tracing keeps the connection intact, even during complex moves like turns or cross-body leads. It’s an excellent way to switch hand positions smoothly and maintain a continuous connection.


Final Thought

These little details can transform your dancing overnight without tons of practice. It’s about understanding the dance and making small adjustments to improve your leading, following, and communication with your partners.

That was just the tip of the iceberg.

If you enjoyed this video, you’ll love our online salsa program. You can even try it totally free for a week here—no credit cards, no payments, none of that.