How to dance on2

Salsa Timing: The Difference Between Salsa On 1 and On 2

There are a lot of questions and myths out there around the difference between salsa on 1 and on 2, so we’ve collected the facts here for you.

We hope this article will allow you to have more educated conversations on salsa timing, and help you decide which timing you enjoy more. It’s OK to love both!

Before we dive in, here’s some quick background…

On1 salsa timing is commonly known as LA style salsa, which was developed by the Vazquez brothers focusing on sharp hits in the music, flashy moves and acrobatics.

On2 salsa timing is commonly known as New York style salsa.  There are a few different ways to dance On2. Most notably there is the original mambo timing from the Paladium era 2-3-4, 6-7-8 (known as “contratiempo” in Spanish), as well as dancing to beats 1-2-3, 5-6-7 (known as “a tiempo” in Spanish). Dancing On2 to 1-2-3, 5-6-7 was popularized by Eddie Torres. The common denominator between all ways to dance On2 is that your break steps are on 2 and 6.

Let’s dig in and find out why these timings look and feel different.


The Difference Between On1 and On2 Salsa Timing

Since there are various ways to dance On2 but only one way to dance On1, we need to compare dancing salsa On1 to salsa On2 using the timing they share: a tiempo to beats 1-2-3, 5-6-7.

In salsa, the basic step is done to a quick-quick-slow, quick-quick-slow rhythm on beats 1-2-3, 5-6-7 of an 8 count. On beats 4 and 8, no additional steps are taken. That’s why counts 4 and 8 are considered the “slow” portion of salsa rhythm. This “slow” portion of the basic step is what sets On1 and On2 salsa apart.

Since On1 and On2 are different timings, they require you to step forward and back on different counts. This causes the “slow” count to land at a different place in your salsa basic, making On1 and On2 salsa feel subtly different.

Watch the video below and read on for the detailed differences between these two timings and why dancers prefer one over the other.

Tip: tap the gear icon on the video player to change the quality and speed.

Want to learn how to convert your salsa dancing from On 1 to On 2? Try the full Salsa Course free for a week and dive into the “How to Convert from On 1 to On 2” module.

1) How Your Steps Differ in On1 vs On2 Salsa

When you change directions in your salsa basic, we call those steps your break steps. The break steps are done on specific counts, and that’s how you can tell which timing you’re dancing on.

When dancing salsa On1 timing:

  • Leads break forward on the 1 and back on the 5
  • Follows break backward on the 1 and forward on the 5
  • The slow counts are immediately before your break steps

When dancing salsa On2 timing:

  • Leads break forward on the 6 and back on the 2
  • Follows break backward on the 6 and forward on the 2
  • The slow counts are immediately after your break steps

2) The feel of dancing salsa On1 differs from On2 because of where the “slow” count lies

Put simply, On1 feels faster and more staccato, whereas On2 feels more laid back and smooth.

Why, you ask?

To answer that, you need to understand a few fundamental facts about how salsa is structured:

  • Salsa is structured around the cross body lead movement
  • Within the cross body lead, turns tend to happen on or immediately after the break steps
  • If a slow count occurs while the follow is turning, she has more time to complete her turn

Since we know the slow count falls right after the breaking steps On2 and we just learned that’s when turns most frequently occur, we can conclude that dancing On2 typically gives you more time to turn.

Dancing on 1 feels faster because the slow counts fall immediately before the breaking steps (the end of the cross body lead). At this point most of the turns are usually complete so the follow uses the slow count to slow down and exit her turns, as opposed to having more time to execute them.

This difference in placement of the slow count is what creates the contrast in feeling and visuals between the two salsa timings, On1 and On2.

Now that you know why On1 and On2 salsa timing have a different aesthetic, let’s look at one of the major reasons salsa dancers develop a preference for one or the other.



3) Each salsa timing, connects to different aspects of the music

Salsa timing didn’t just come out of nowhere. There’s a reason for the timing of the break steps, and each timing has it’s pros and cons.

Dancing salsa On1 connects to the phrasing or melody, usually within sets of 8 counts, whereas dancing On2 connects more deeply with the band’s instruments. Now, let’s look at the benefits of those musical connections to see why they appeal to people.

Why people favour salsa on1

A lot of people favour On1 because it’s easy to connect to as a beginner. Music naturally loops and our bodies are able to hone in on those loops, starting on the 1 and ending on the 8. An 8 count is typically the shortest amount of time it takes to create a complete musical sentence, and one that often repeats itself. This musical sentence is often called phrasing or the melody. All you have to do to dance salsa On1 is be able to identify the melody and jump in when the 1 comes around.

Dancers also love On1 because the melody and the vocals of the song follow this beautiful loop between counts 1 and 8, so it makes you feel very connected to what’s going on. Of course, this depends on what songs are being played. Modern songs don’t tend to have the “big band” sound with all the rich instruments that a lot of older salsa classics have, and that’s why the phrasing or melody stands out more.

Dancing On1 also connects directly to the cowbell which emphasizes 1-3-5-7. Since it’s such a prominent sounding instrument it’s easy to follow.

Why people favour salsa on 2

When it comes to dancing to the music produced by the big bands and orchestras of past decades, a lot of dancers prefer On2 for the many ways you can connect to the instruments.

The instruments that fall nicely in-line with On2 timing include the bajo (bass), conga, and clave. We go into detail of the timing of these instruments and how to dance on them in our salsa program—you can check out the salsa course details here or start a one week free trial here.

The different ways you can dance on 2

There are also different ways of dance salsa on 2, depending on which instruments you want to connect with and the section of the song:

During the intro and verse of the song, when the Bajo and Conga (4th) beat is dominant you can dance contratiempo to counts 2-3-4, 6-7-8. This way of dancing on 2 has a staccato feeling, very similar to dancing On1. This was the popular way of dancing during the Paladium era, and it still makes perfect musical sense today.

During the Montuno section (the second half of the song) when the Campana is accenting the core beats (1-3-5-7), you can dance Modern Mambo a tiempo to counts 1-2-3, 5-6-7. This is the most common style of dancing On2 you will see, and the style developed by Eddie Torres.

If the clave rhythm becomes dominant you can also choose to dance on clave.

Although each way of dancing On2 steps on slightly different counts, the common denominator is that they all break forward and back on counts 2 or 6, which match the slaps of the Conga.

Because of the depth of connection to the music and the variety of ways you can dance On2, it really strikes a chord with salsa geeks and music lovers who want to bring the instruments to life through their dancing.

If you want to learn more about salsa musicality, the different ways of dancing On2 and how to convert from dancing On1 to dancing On2, consider joining our salsa program. We’d love to teach you all about musicality!


In closing, the more educated you become, the more informed your opinion can be toward preferring to dance salsa on 1 or on 2. Some people even love both equally.

It’s important to realize that being able to dance salsa on 1 and on 2 gives you far more options while traveling the world and enjoying various dance partners. As a lead, you can accommodate your partner’s preference, and, as a follow, you’ll be able to adjust to whatever a lead decides to dance.

Remember these key takeaways:

  • When dancing On1, your breaking steps are on the 1 and the 5
  • When dancing On2, your breaking steps are on the 2 and the 6
  • On1 and On2 look and feel different because of where the slow count lies
  • On2 timing feels smoother because you tend to have more time to turn
  • On1 timing connects more to the phrasing, melodies and cow bell
  • On2 timing connects more to the bass, conga, and clave
  • You can dance On2 a few different ways depending on which instruments are prominent
  • The timing you choose to dance on is just a preference, neither is better than the other!

Be open minded, educate yourself and experience the different timings for yourself, then decide which one you enjoy more. An incredible world of music and dance awaits!


On 2 Salsa Beat - How to Dance On 2

March 29, 2007

There is no right or wrong way of dancing salsa. The most important thing is to be able to enjoy dancing Salsa with your dance partner. Listen to the salsa beat, pick a style, and throw down!

But given the fact that some people dance On 1 and other people dance On 2, it’s important to dance well in both styles. In Salsa congresses, I have noticed how certain dancers only dance with a specific few dancers of the same style. Let’s not limit ourselves to dancing on only one style.

So how do you dance On 2?

Short Answer:

In musical terms, assuming an 8 beat measure (or 2 repeating 4-beat measures), the simple answer is trivial: On 1 you break on the first salsa beat, On 2 you break on the second salsa beat. This is the I-don’t-feel-like-explaining-it or I-really-don’t-know-the-answer answer. But the real answer has various layers in depth.

Succinct and Complete Answer:

If we expand a bit more, the answer can be contained in the following diagrams.

One measure of salsa is danced on 8 beats.

| 1 2 3 4 | 5 6 7 8 |

This 8-beat rhythmic pattern repeats throughout any given song.

| 1 2 3 4 | 5 6 7 8 | 1 2 3 4 | 5 6 7 8 | 1 2 3 4 | 5 6 7 8 | 1 2 3 4 | 5 6 7 8 …

You actually only step on the 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7th salsa beats. The 4th and 8th are pauses in the step.

| 1 2 3 pause | 5 6 7 pause | 1 2 3 pause | 5 6 7 pause |

You can break down any song in this manner. The ability to listen to the salsa beat and being able to count the salsa beats is very important. I will make another post regarding this. In the meanwhile, let us assume that we have this ability. So let’s move on to the dance steps.

Men’s and Women’s Basic Salsa Step

Update (May 30th, 2008):

I have posted a new video of Jai Catalano explaining How to Dance On2. The video is an excerpt of the ESPN 2007 World Salsa Championships. Men’s and women’s basic step.

Excerpt: from
ON 2 Basic Step – In our basic step, the man’s left foot goes back and the woman’s right foot goes forward on the 1st beat of this so-called 8 beat measure or bar. We step with our feet on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th, 6th, and 7th beats of the measure . We do not step on the 4th and 8th beats. We actually “break” our movement, in other words we change body direction, on the 2nd and 6th beats of the measure. We call it “breaking on 2”, or “dancing on 2”, or “bailando en dos”. This is mambo, danced forward and back, in a line or slot, not side to side or in a circle or square. You can see this step precisely demonstrated and broken down into its separate elements in the Eddie Torres Teaches Salsa videos.

Our basic step is as follows:

1st beat of the measure – The man steps back with his left foot. The woman steps forward with her right foot.

2nd beat of the measure – The man steps farther back with his right foot, then changes direction, starting to lean forward with his body = “breaks forward on 2”. The woman steps farther forward with her left foot, then changes direction, starting to lean back with her body = “breaking back on 2”.

3rd beat of the measure – The man steps in place with his left foot, while his body is moving forward. The woman steps in place with her right foot, while her body is moving backward.

4th beat of the measure – No steps.

5th beat of the measure – The man steps forward with his right foot, in front of his left foot. The woman steps backward with her left foot, behind her right foot.

6th beat of the measure – The man steps farther forward with his left foot, then changes direction, starting to lean backward with his body = “breaks back on 6”. The woman steps farther back with her right foot, then changes direction, starting to lean forward = “breaks forward on 6”.

7th beat of the measure – The man steps in place with his right foot, while his body is moving backward. The woman steps in place with her left foot, while her body is moving forward.

8th beat of the measure – No steps.

Technically, it is proper to start the dance in the following way: You walk onto the dance floor with your partner, set up the standard partner position frame, and then begin on the 6th beat of the measure, with the man stepping forward with his left foot and the woman stepping back with her right. On the 7th beat, the couple changes direction, with the man rocking back onto his right foot and the woman rocking forward onto her left foot. They then go right into the basic step pattern which is maintained through the rest of the song: the man’s left foot goes back and the woman’s right foot goes forward on the 1st beat of the measure, and the pattern continues as described above in detail. Although this is technically the proper way to start, most New York dancers simply begin on the 1st beat of the measure as described above, sometimes not even setting up the partner position first.

Update (May 30th, 2008):
I have posted a new video that explains How to Dance On2, men’s and women’s basic step.


April 29 - Dance Day. What dances were like for our compatriots in the 19th-20th centuries

For the third year, "Motherland" has been collaborating with the amazing site "Prozhito" (PROZHITO.ORG), which contains more than 2300 diaries of Russians of the 19th-20th centuries. The next issue of "Live with the Motherland" is dedicated to the International Dance Day, which is celebrated on April 29.

The style and spelling of the authors have been preserved.

1807 YEAR

Stepan Zhikharev, writer, playwright, translator, senator, theater-goer and memoirist

January 26/February 7. [...] On the 3rd of February, a big ball was appointed at Count Orlov's, which is called a feast for the whole world. There are many dancers in mind, but there are almost no dancers at all. Some well-known ladies who knew each other briefly in the count's house were commissioned by the young countess to recruit good gentlemen. I do not know why Katerina Alexandrovna Muromtseva considers me among the good gentlemen and offered to take me along with her eldest son. "But I can't really dance," I said, "I'm shy and clumsy." - "Et pourtant vous avez danse chez les Werevkines et vous dansez souvent chez les Lobkoff, comme si je ne le savais pas" .). - "It's true, but the Verevkins had a ball easily, and at the Lobkovs I dance pour rire (for laughter - fr.) in my mug, and I don’t dance, but jump like a goat." - "And at the Orlovs you will jump like a ram - that's the whole difference! Talk to yourself incessantly with your lady - and they won't notice how you dance."

I refused, but Katerina Aleksandrovna resolutely announced to me: "Vous irez, mon cher; je le veux absolument: a votre age on ne refuse pas un bal comme celui du comte Orloff, ni une femme qui vous a vu naitre.Сest ridicule "(You will go, my dear; I definitely want this. At your age, they don’t refuse either such a ball as Count Orlov’s, or such a woman who saw you in diapers. This is wild! - fr.).

There is nothing to do, I will equip my ball costume: a puce tailcoat and a white waistcoat with a Turkish shawl vest. I'll undress with my grip!

1808 YEAR

Adelaide Eleanor Sophia Hauswolf, Swedish prisoner during the Russo-Swedish War of 1808-1809.

October 30/November 11. In the morning dad decided to go to a masquerade. [...] The hall was large, but poorly lit. Music was Semevsky. Only a few of the townspeople were in fancy dress, but their costumes were so bad that they could be mistaken for commoners. Luckily, they weren't dancing, just running back and forth curiously. The governor opened the ball with a Polonaise with me. I was wearing a uniform dress with a wide ribbon, which caused a lot of questions.

It was said that there were not many people today, but there were 130 people. The ladies were dressed in beautiful fabrics and adorned with jewels, but without elegance or taste. They danced so badly that even our maids danced much better than them, and of all the men there was only one who could somehow lead his lady. From a good life and constant sitting, the women here are so extraordinarily full that during the polonaise and round dance they drag their feet; from a waltz or a quadrille they are lost for the whole evening. [...] I danced a lot and had a lot of fun, but dad was bored. At 12 o'clock we left.

1812 YEAR

Pavel Svinin, writer, historian, diplomat, editor and publisher of Otechestvennye Zapiski

11th [February]. [...] It is strange to believe that here (in New York - Rev. ) at the best balls only two violins squeak and a drum beats - and the American Cottillions somehow jump over them both in moderation and not in moderation - just to dance. Apart from the cotillion, nothing else is danced here. Fathers and mothers are against the waltz - considering it indecent for a girl.

Natasha Rostova's first ball. Frame from the film "War and Peace".


Daria Fikelmon, granddaughter of M.I. Kutuzova, the mistress of the literary salon, where A.

S. Pushkin

August 12/24. Saturday. A big reception at the Chief of Ceremonies Stanislav Pototsky. The ball was given in honor of Khozrev-Mirza. All Persians miraculously kept themselves in high society, so alien to their way of life and habits. It seems to me that they could easily be forgiven for looking at us with surprise and, probably, even with slight contempt, because the mazurka and waltz, it would seem, should shock people who are used to the fact that their women live as recluses and wear a veil. . But, on the contrary, they seem to like everything here, and they are friendly to everything.

N. Rusheva. N.N. Pushkin at the ball. 1967 Photo: RIA Novosti


Alexander Nikitenko, journalist, literary historian, censor, official of the Ministry of Public Education

January 6/18. Attended a ball with General Herman, class inspector at the Catherine Institute in the Smolny Monastery. All of our ballroom meetings are the same. The difference is only in the decoration of the rooms and in the greater or lesser luxury of the treats. Three kinds of people are usually present at balls: dancers, Bostonists and spectators, who in turn are divided into spectators of the game and dances. The latter include obsolete ladies - the mothers of the heroines of the French quadrille and cotillion - or men invited to count. Dancing has always captivated me. I love to watch the play of faces of dancing couples.

Women especially provide grateful material for this; as for men's faces, they are very rarely expressive. At this ball I found no more than three or four; to them, undoubtedly, belongs the physiognomy of my friend, Ivan Karlovich Gebhardt. Two distinctive features of his character are surprisingly clearly imprinted on his face: light, graceful-sly subtlety of mind and nobility. His face boils with the play of life, blooming, beautiful. It is light, open, noble. But be afraid to meet his smile: subtle Attic irony will appear in it, like a thorn near a rose.


Daria Fikelmon

February 14/26. The masquerade at Volkonsky's is the most beautiful of the festivities that one can only see. The Quadrille of the Empress from the opera "The Miraculous Lamp" was excellent and exceptionally rich. She herself looked charmingly beautiful in her costume. Having bypassed all the halls with a cortege, the Empress sat down on the throne, and the participants in her quadrille performed dances very gracefully, but still they could have been better arranged. Then our quadrille began and had a great effect. We danced the minuet and gavotte just fine, and everything, admittedly, turned out lovely.

1840 YEAR

Wilhelm Küchelbecker, poet and public figure, friend of Pushkin and Baratynsky, Pushkin's classmate at the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum, collegiate assessor, Decembrist

October 7/19, . After a very, very unpleasant yesterday, I had fun today like a child. Istomin started for us un petit bal de famille et imaginez vous (a small family ball, and imagine - fr. ) I, an old bastard, danced quadrilles, mazurkas, waltzes without rest, and God knows what else, of course, confused the figures as well as possible ; but, really, we had more fun than at other prim city real balls.


Varvara Morozova, daughter of industrialist and collector A.I. Khludova, philanthropist

July 21/August 2. [...] I was impatiently looking forward to yesterday, confident that I would see V. I was expecting his arrival with emotional excitement. Finally, I saw him, and he bowed to me for the first time. I was in awe and eagerly awaiting the dance. I told Lydia that I would hate him, unless he invited me to the first quadrille, with trepidation I expected his arrival, he was not there, finally, he came up and engaged me. I was overjoyed and even went so far as to kiss Lydia's hand. How cute she is! Now, I thought, I have confidence in you.

Finally, the quadrille began. God, what attentiveness, courtesy, he seems to want to charm her. From the first minute we began to talk, and then all my suspicions were justified, and I am glad that I can boast of foresight. He said a lot of pleasant things to me, and so the whole evening flew by.

Peter Kropotkin, scientist, anarchist

2 September. Steamboat "Konstantin". [...] On the "Konstantin" the wardroom is 27 feet long (the width of the ship) and 16 feet wide. Here they arranged dances; found 2 violinists, concocted a triangle - that's the orchestra. Of course, there were hunters, and even more so hunters for dancing: priests, the daughter of an ordinary officer, steamship ladies, one ardent food official, the printer Andreev, Kononovich, myself, even Babst. One cannot be satisfied with quadrilles - the tremblant polka, the unchanged mazurka polka, the roll (waltz. - Ed.). But the roll did not go smoothly: the musicians did not know any other way than in three steps, convenient for dancing with a pipe in their hands or, perhaps, with a mug of beer - you can be sure that with such slow movements it would not have spilled.


Tatyana Sukhotina-Tolstaya, eldest daughter of L.N. Tolstoy, memoirist

May 29/June 10. [...] This evening my father was talking about what kind of person he would like to marry me to. He says, certainly for a person outstanding in something, but not a secular one. “Like, he says, if a mazurka dances well, it means that he is no good.” In my opinion, too. Are we being judged like this? And I tried so hard to learn how to dance the mazurka best of all, and when Misha Sukhotin told me that he was ashamed to dance with me, because I dance so well, and he is so disgusting, how proud I was!

September 29 (September 17). I just came from the staff room, where my mother is celebrating her name day. They bought harmony and treats, and they dance there. Their dance enthralled me. Arina the cowgirl dances wonderfully: she will pass so smoothly, then she will stop, she will move her shoulders and turn around quickly and start dancing again. I really wanted to go too, but it would be awkward, and they would feel it. No matter how beautiful the waltz and the mazurka are, it is incomparably and less and more beautiful, and goes straight from the heart, and most importantly, more original: everyone shows his character in his dance, and it’s good that this cannot be taught, everyone has his own special manner.

1892 YEAR

Maximilian Voloshin, poet, translator, landscape painter, art and literary critic

December 17/29. The whole evening passed remarkably cheerfully. After a while, almost everyone had already gathered, and the dancing began. Olga V dragged me to dance the polka. "Yes, I don't know how, I never danced!" - "Well, make up your mind, try it!" I made up my mind, and it turned out that I can dance the polka. "Well, now try the waltz!" - "Well, it's me, really, I can't do it at all. After all, I still learned to dance the polka, but never the waltz." - "Well, nonsense, let's go and learn this. After all, you didn't want to dance the polka either." I made up my mind, and it turned out that I could also dance a waltz. So in the end he went out and danced all the time and with all the ladies. I still can't believe that I could dance the polka and the waltz. Now, then, you can say that I'm dancing.

1896 YEAR

Vladimir Lamzdorf, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire

February 3/15. Gears tells me about yesterday's costume ball at Grand Duke Vladimir's. [...] Sovereign yesterday, pacing around the living rooms, entering into conversations; it seems to me that his majesty goes too far in his modesty. Girs invited Princess Yusupova to a French quadrille at the moment when the sovereign was approaching her with the same purpose. "Ah, you have already been invited, so let's dance the next quadrille," the sovereign seemed to say. Despite all the efforts of the princess and Girs to prove that no previous agreement could compare with the honor of the royal invitation, the sovereign confirmed his decision and gave Girs the first round of a quadrille with Princess Yusupova.

At a ballroom dance class at the Smolny Institute for Noble Maidens. Photo: Karl Bulla


Vera Khludova, 11 years old

January 11/23. I'm starting to write a diary! [...] Today we went to a dance lesson with the Naydenovs (cousin), where we now dance: polka, waltz, minion, pas de quatre - we dance all this! I love to dance, but only to watch when they dance dances that we did not learn, new ones - then it's very boring! Look around, yawn!

Eugene Lansere, artist, member of the "World of Art" association

January 22-23/February 3-4. Saturday - Sunday. 3 am. I have just returned alone (that is, with Mile) from the very first ball at the Meisners. Mom, Cat, Manya and Kolya still remained. I only want (and only because I haven't written for a long time) to draw a small parallel with the ball at Uncle Lyulya's.

Some facts: then I wanted to be terribly, I was afraid and worried. Then there was some kind of fun dancing (polka, square dance), stayed until 5 in the morning and after that was quite pleased with the evening. Somehow I grew cold and lost my taste for balls (before that, I longed painfully to learn how to dance). Today, until the evening, I hardly thought, I went indifferently and almost confidently. And just as he felt embarrassed, proudly tormented by his boredom, and finally left.

And now it's just the opposite - again I painfully want to learn how to dance, again dances and balls seem to me something magical, a goal that I want to achieve, and I'm already thinking about the academic ball with thirst and I want to learn how to dance, well, at least a waltz!

1902 YEAR

Sergey Zimin, theatrical figure, philanthropist, founder of a private theater

January 18/31. U N.L. Zimin's blessing was a lot of fun. I even danced. To do this, they began to study with the ballet dancer Domashev, a wonderful dancer of the Bolshoi Theater. Small in stature, but surprisingly elegant, he fascinated us all, and we enjoyed studying with him.

1915 YEAR

Sergey Vavilov, physicist

April 30/May 13. Vysniki. I went out into the garden in front of the house. A charming bright May night, the old house is lit in some places and acts as an elegiac bright spot among the ancient chestnut trees. Fun in the yard, tambourines, harmonica. The polka and mazurka are famously beaten off, couples are spinning. It is somehow inexpressibly sad to look at this fun. 2-3 days will pass, there will be Schmidts, Mullers and all sorts of Haudegen. Something like "Feast in the Time of Plague".

Celebration at the collegiate registrar's house. Early 1900s.

1920 YEAR

Nikolai Golovin, professor of geodesy at the Moscow Land Survey and a number of other institutes

January 13/26. Yesterday was St. Tatyana, Alma Mater Day, Moscow University. The day before, the students of the Moscow Polytechnic [Institute and students of the Land Survey Institute] staged a concert-ball on Novaya Basmannaya in the house of the former Prince Kurakin. They invited me, they sent honorary tickets. But neither I nor Marusya could go there. Yesterday the students, and today the listeners reported that the evening was a success, there were teachers and professors with their wives. Many young people stayed until morning. Sofya Ivanovna Bocharnikova, our permanent clerk, stayed until 9hours of the morning. And after her departure, the hidden young people still danced until 11 o'clock in the morning. The artists were pleasantly surprised by the composition of the audience, it was "clean". They say that now it is the greatest rarity.

Nikita Okunev, employee of the shipping company

July 12/25. Oswald Spengler (German) wrote the book "Death of the West", which has an incredible success. It vividly proves that all civilized humanity is now in a period of collapse, an unprecedented catastrophe and on the eve of death. The mass seeks support in crude mysticism and ... in the foxtrot. It means "fox step", the so-called fashionable dance that came from America. This is the legacy of tango. In the tango, he says, there was the refinement of vice, and in the foxtrot there was only the rudeness of depravity.

Yu. Pimenov. NEP. At the restaurant. 1927

1921 YEAR

Nikolai Mendelson, philologist, teacher

5/I. Yesterday in the gymnasium there was a meeting of those who graduated from all the issues. 50-60 people gathered. E.I. Yermolova (Yermilova?) showed off her ballet studio. Ballet is now fashionable, as is poetry. As in the old days, very old, embroidering purses, the pianoforte and the French language were a necessary accessory for the upbringing of a girl, so now "poetry" - theoretical and practical - and ballet have become the same necessity. Girls and girls from the studio in most external data do not have: bad figures and ugly legs. Two or three, however, nothing. Dancing, in general, is very mediocre.

Ksenia Solovova, chemist

March 14th. I danced in the gymnasium with Kirill Focht, he is so sleepy, he does everything wrong. I didn’t even have much pleasure in dancing! Whether it's Styopa's business, it's nice to be with him, he's so dexterous. He is now quite firmly settled in my heart.

1927 YEAR

Irina Knorring, poet, memoirist, emigrant

February 2nd. For the first, and maybe the last time I saw dancing in Paris. There were many French women, and they gave the evening a peculiar Parisian flavor. Small figurines, cropped hair, raised shoulders, short dresses, lined eyes and bright lips - dolls, porcelain figurines. God ordered them to dance the foxtrot, it is stylish and even beautiful in its own way. And when our Russian aunt with breasts in three girths begins to bend, to stagnate, then this is ridiculous and ugly.

Feature of the new dances: they are not cheerful (not my idea). The French women dance seriously, they perform sacred rites. No flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes. There is no fun and no beauty, but dancing does not always serve fun and aesthetics, and such a touch of two bodies, so close that you feel every curve of the body, reaches its own. Sometimes it is enough to take the hand above the hand to feel the trembling "of the whole body along." Yes, Marina!


Olga Radivilina, schoolgirl

January 3rd. After dinner, everyone began to dance the foxtrot, what a nasty dance it is: people press against each other with their whole bodies up to the head and then move in this position on the floor, making barely noticeable figures that in an ordinary position would be taken for indecent.

People dance the foxtrot to hug each other, why can't they hug without music if they want to? Why is it considered indecent? Why is it not indecent to make voluptuous movements to the music? I don't understand why there are such conventions. If you want to hug, then hug without music.

I really liked Rudzutak's behavior, emphasizing my thoughts. One young woman (one of the people I like in this company) invited him to dance the foxtrot (he doesn't dance at all). He took her, put his arms around her, pressed her to him. She struggled, but he was strong, holding her a little so he released her and said that it was better than a foxtrot. In fact, it's better than the foxtrot. But not everyone is allowed to do this, and not everyone dares to hug a woman, and not every woman will allow herself to be hugged without music.


Boris Sushchenko, resident of Barnaul

December 17th. Left home at 8 yesterday, arrived at 1 1 / 2 at night; played with Oleg Vit. 3 hours in chess, (won), and from 11 am to 1 am - ... "and!" tango and foxtrot! Here are miracles in a sieve, I'm dancing... tango. For the time being, successes on the "bang", the sequence and "formulation" of movements do not fit in the head - the legs fail; summary, or what, start?

K. Korovin. Village dances. 1936 year.

1936 YEAR

Nina Kosterina, Komsomol member, daughter of the repressed writer and journalist A. Kosterin

I would like to start the diary from a date that for some reason stuck in my memory. It was April 8th. I was fifteen years old and celebrating my birthday. At the party I had Alik, Boris, Volodya, Volya, Lusya, Tonya and Vitya. I was worried before the evening and was afraid that it would be boring. However, the evening went well - not a single birthday of my life was so fun. And that evening, for the first time, I "risked" dancing with the boys - with Alik and Vitya. When Alik hugged me around the waist, and I put my hand on his shoulder, I involuntarily shuddered - it was such an exciting and joyful feeling. I have been dancing for a long time and love to dance, but never with such pleasure. Jokingly, Alik lifted me into the air: my heart sank, my breath caught and my cheeks burned with heat ...

In a holiday home. 1938


Dmitry Mikhailov, high school student

November 23rd. For a long time I wondered: "Why don't our guys dance?" After all, the guys 2-3 years older than us already danced in the 8th-9th grades. They don't dance because they are embarrassed to learn. (And why don't I dance? Yes, that's why, too, perhaps).

This evening there were several guys and girls in the class for the rehearsal of the play. Well, they messed around, of course. I started talking about dancing. Galya Fursova told me: "Dimka, let's learn to dance!" And instead of the usual refusal, I said: "Come on." She looked a little embarrassed, but that's okay. For a few minutes she taught me to dance the foxtrot. Artemov V. (Pistik) immediately wanted to study. She taught him further and almost learned it.

And now I'm sure that all the "leading" guys in our class will start learning to dance. May 3 I celebrated the First of May in a way I couldn't even dream of. We went to the factory yard, where they had a dance. I didn't dance because my shoes fell apart in the winter. I was in my grandmother's leather slippers and therefore huddled on the sidelines. But it didn't spoil my holiday. And in the yard, the bosses, a little tipsy, were dancing so much that it was a pleasure to watch. The accordionist played everything that was asked: a Russian, a gypsy girl, a lady and even a quadrille.

At rest. 1943

1944 YEAR

Vladimir Tarasov, participant in the battles for the liberation of the Baltic States

Yesterday we were given warm footcloths and mittens. Suddenly the radio started playing tango. Kostya and I could not stand it and let's dance. How I would like to arrange a small evening, dance, have fun. But, alas, oh!

Grigory Kasyan, political instructor

December 19th. Hospital N 3336. Toropets. The other day I learned to dance to the button accordion and have already danced the Boston waltz, tango and foxtrot. All this can bring me closer to any circle of people. I attach special importance to dancing. These days of mine are quite interesting, but you will quickly forget about them.

Ion Degen, tank commander, poet

You won't go crazy at the front,

Without learning to forget right away.

We raked out of destroyed tanks

Everything that can be buried in the grave.

The brigade commander rested his chin on his tunic.

I hid my tears. Enough. Stop doing that.

And in the evening the driver taught me,

How to properly dance padespan.

Six o'clock in the evening after the war Photo: from the collection of Vladimir Sergeev

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