Our guide to salsa
Kristina K

Our guide to salsa

First published date November 26 2013 Amended date November 26 2013

There is a variety of different types of salsa dance and, depending on your interests, in choosing one to learn, you’ll be spoilt for choice. They include New York, LA, Cuban, Miami and Colombian and, while similar in style, there are marked differences. For instance the New York style incorporates lots of spins, turns and styling with intricate footwork while LA style is bigger and bolder than the former, with an emphasis on sexiness and theatricality. There are bigger steps and lifts, just like the ones you see of Johny Vazquez, the Prince of Salsa. On the other hand, some dances have become popular due to the internet such as Cuban Salsa. If you’re keen on heating up your weekly salsa club’s dance floor, then the Colombian style works well in crowded nightclubs, showcasing precise, intricate footwork with quick rapid steps and skipping motions.   


Bring out the sexy in you!

It’s saucy, sexy, yummy, dirty, cheeky, naughty, fast – and all of that in just one dance! It’s an expressive and elaborate dance and a salsa class is bound to bring out your sassy side. If you think you haven’t got any sex appeal or feel shy, salsa will help you deal with your insecurities. With the right teachers and the perfect rhythm playing in the background, you’ll find it easier to let yourself free and go with the flow. 


Not all just boring steps

If you think that you’ll end up forgetting complicated steps, that’s one thing that you needn’t worry. Classes are there to teach you the basic steps and the rest is up to you to improvise! All you have to do is to close your eyes, let the vibe run in your blood, feel the beats and let yourself loose! There are no strict rules in salsa, so if you’re nervous about doing a wrong step, you could always mask it with a string of turns.


Duck, hand, comb, sombrero...

Familiar with these terms? Then you clearly know a little bit more about your salsa (and probably take it quite seriously too!). For the ladies, master the lady’s technique and styling for salsa and mambo. This will include learning how to add proper Cuban motion and upper body action, use of arms, head accents, and the five elegant shine patterns in the Cuban and New York style. On the more advanced classes, you’ll learn fast routines, styling rhythms and dynamic choreography from experienced dancers.


Dance with Me aka Vanessa Williams style

Remember the Cuban Club, the dance studio and the competition scenes in the movie? Those competitive styles, sequinned swishy dresses and that upbeat music will tempt any salsa dancing lover. If you’re a regular to your Friday salsa club nights or love to take part in your local Salsa competitions, make sure you don’t blend into the crowd. Salsa’s all about being loud and expressive with lots of fun so make sure you learn some tricks from the professionals on our courses. Learn to pull those sexy pouty expressions and create so many spins that will leave others breathless.


More than just hip-shaking

Salsa classes are a great way for you to make friends and get to know new people. It’s such a sociable activity that groups of people end up organising trips to other parts of the country to attend other salsa gatherings. So if you’re new in the country, feeling a bit lonely or all your kids have left home, salsa is a great way to while your time away. On top of that, you’ll see a difference in your fitness, flexibility and suppleness.


Salsa inspired courses

Salsacise is a fun and rhythmic style of low impact aerobic exercise, combining easy to follow salsa, mambo and cha-cha dance moves. You’ll exercise to fast Latin music with stretching and cardiovascular exercises incorporated in the routine. Or, explore other similar dances like Latin, flamenco and Samba.


Salsa’s intriguing history

Deemed to be originally from Cuba, salsa is not solely a Cuban dance. It’s believed that it represents a combination of African and Caribbean dances. It appeared in the 1920s and according to some early data, it started gaining success in the US in the early 1930s. Salsa is in fact a combination of various influences from different corners of the world and that is probably the reason why it attracts so many people.


Salsa tips

Here are some tips on learning to lead:

·         It’s only when you’re dancing and your partner doesn’t know what comes next, that you can learn to lead a move.

·         Take her by surprise. This is the single most important thing you can do to learn how to lead. In classes, your follower would have already learned the same sequence as you, and is ready to launch into the dance. Don’t let her. Surprise her by changing the pattern, vary the number of repetitions, eliminate and add moves.

·         Imagine a pattern; two basics, two inside turns, one basic and one outside turn. These three moves can be done in any combination and any number of repetitions. By varying the pattern slightly, for example, doing one or three inside turns when she expects two, you will begin to learn to lead.

·         Work with good followers. As you become a better leader, the ladies will remember and want to dance or practise with you.


For salsa dresses and tips, check out our Pinterest

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