How to Frame Yourself and Be More Responsive: A Salsa Tip for The Ladies

When learning how to salsa dance, we often worry too much about our partners and not enough about what we’re doing ourselves.

In this tip we’ll explain how, as a follow, worrying less about the lead and focusing on framing yourself can actually improve your ability to respond to his signals.

There’s a lot of confusion out there because everyone thinks they have to frame their partner, but this is only half true.

Leads, your job is to frame the ladies.

Ladies, your job is to frame yourself, not the lead!

What happens if I frame the lead instead of myself?

This happens all the time and it can be quite uncomfortable for the follow depending on the height of the lead. If you’re a follow and have been taught that you need to place your left hand on the lead’s shoulder, regardless of how tall he is, there’s no way you can possibly dance comfortably (see 2:00 in the video). It’s a myth. It’s not helpful. Stop it.

As a follow, always frame yourself

There’s no reason to stretch yourself thin and be off balance.

By holding your shoulder blades down in your back pockets, you stay tall and your hand and arms adjust along the lead’s arm into a more comfortable and dance-able position. If you’re not comfortable, your dance will be uncomfortable. If you’re not comfortable, it’s because your frame is incorrect, and you won’t be able to respond well to signals coming from the lead.

If you try to frame a lead that’s taller than you by allowing your shoulders to rise up, you’re creating tension in your shoulders and lifting your elbows, which makes it much harder to respond quickly to where your hands are supposed to go.

Remember, to have a smooth and responsive connection with your partner…

  1. Have good posture and maintain your frame
  2. Understand the elbow-hip relationship of your frame
  3. Relax your arms and elbows

and to add what we just covered…

Ladies, frame yourselves. Leads, frame the ladies.

Now, go try it out and enjoy your next dance!