Pass Over the Middle: Improving your Salsa Basic On1 and On2

Perpetual Motion In Your Basic Step

Your forward and back Salsa basic should always be in continuous motion. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the easiest way to learn it, so it’s common for instructors to teach newcomers the Salsa basic using a ‘quick quick stop’ rhythm. The ‘quick quick stop’ rhythm happens when you take the first two steps of your basic and finish your 1, 2, 3 count with your feet together. This ‘quick quick stop’ method isn’t wrong, but it will limit your ability to execute more advanced steps due to the lack of fluidity in your movement.

Kicking the ‘Quick-Quick-Stop’ Habit

To kick that ‘quick quick stop’ habit try this:

Think of the place where your feet come together as an intersection with a Stop sign. Now, it’s time to start dancing like you would drive. When coming to a stop sign at a quiet intersection in the country, you’re probably more likely to roll through it than stop completely. Feel free to do the same with your Basic. On counts 3 and 4, slow down your step and pass over the middle using the full two counts to complete the third step of your basic. Once you get that dialled in, use the same perpetual motion to complete counts 5, 6, 7.

A Quick Tip On Counting Your Basic

One thing that helped me improve my basic step was changing the way I counted the music. Typically newbies are taught to count 1, 2, 3 – 5, 6, 7. But as you might already know, Salsa music is counted in two bars of 4 for a total of 8 counts. That’s how long it takes to complete a full basic step.

Now it’s critical that you don’t forget about counts 4 and 8! These counts are what give you the extra time to really extend your movement when doing your basic step. Next time you’re practicing, count the music in full count timing: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. That way you are less likely to rush and more likely to keep a perpetual movement going. Do your best to never come to a complete stop.

Benefits of Passing Over the Middle During Your Basic

Once you get in the habit of passing over the middle of your basic step and maintaining perpetual motion, you’ll start to notice some good things happening:

  • The staggered stance in your basic will make it easier for you to maintain perpetual motion throughout all your movements
  • Your basic step will take far less energy to complete – no more jerky starting and stopping!
  • You’ll be able to keep up with faster music
  • Your rhythm will improve and you’ll become more in-sync with your partner
  • You’ll be able to social dance with more advanced dancers
  • Your body movement will become more fluid, allowing you to successfully execute more difficult moves

What Do You Think?

That’s a wrap on how to improve your Salsa basic. If you have any tips to add or a story to tell on how you improved your basic, leave us a comment below or post in the Dance Dojo Facebook group!