How to look natural dancing salsa
Salsa Dancing Tips for Women & Men by Dance Dojo
Learning to salsa dance can take years to master so we’d like to help you reduce that time frame as much as possible. Our series of tips for Salsa dancers are designed to help you understand the 80/20 of Salsa: the 20% of technique that will give you an 80% increase in results. That means learning quicker and dancing more efficiently. We’ll help you get your dancing feeling smoother and easier, so you can enjoy social dancing without thinking. Now does that sound good or what?!
We’ve got Salsa tips for beginners to pro’s – they truly are useful regardless of skill level. What’s most important is how fast you can break down your bad habits and pick up the good ones.
Browse the Salsa tip videos below. It’s time to start soaking up some knowledge!
(See full course outline below)
Finding the Beat (FTB) is a free youtube course that has helped thousands of beginner salsa dancers get past the #1 problem they face: how to find the beat in salsa music.
If it helps you, please pass it on to your friends!
Although designed for salsa dancers because salsa music is the most complex, these lessons will help you find the beat in ANY type of music.
I’ve broken down the process into 4 logical steps:
- Counting non-salsa music (easy music)
- Moving to non-salsa music
- Counting salsa music (more complex)
- Moving to salsa music
By the end of this course you’ll be able to…
- Understand the structure of music
- Count music
- Hear the beat in salsa music
- Find the 1 in salsa music
- Stay on time while dancing salsa with much higher success
Here’s the Finding the Beat youtube playlist and you can find the entire course outline below.
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So, you’re a beginner dancing with another beginner or maybe you’re more of an intermediate to advanced level dancing with someone who’s newer than you, less experienced than you, or someone who has relatively little technique and who may or may not have ever taken classes before. How do you make sure you and your partner have fun and you keep your leads clear? Today we’re talking all about how to adjust your lead for beginners.
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The Magical Concept of Cause & Effect
Today we’re gonna help you become a smoother lead by talking about a magical concept called “cause and effect.” Now, why do I say it’s magical? Well, if you use cause and effect you can do less and get better results. It’s going to make your lead smoother and the follow’s job so much easier. It’s going to make you’re you’re dancing look better, feel better and the ladies (the follows) are going to love you for it. They’re going to appreciative it a ton.
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Hey everybody, Patrick here once again from the Dance Dojo.
Today, I’m going to be addressing a question we had from one of our online students and that is…
“What is the fastest way to progress my salsa dancing?”
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We frequently get the question, “When should I start social dancing?” Our answer is always the same. Do it immediately. Read more →
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.
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When dancing Salsa, the rule of thumb is to keep your elbows in front of and outside of your hips at all times.
Regardless of which direction you choose to lead (or are being lead in), maintain that proper elbow-to-hip relationship and it’ll enhance the success of your dances. Why? Read more →
Once upon a time, not so long ago, Patrick was dancing with a male student who was using an excessive form of the “spider man grip.” It felt forced, seemed unnecessary and fuelled this tip. Read more →
Raise your hand if you can’t wait for your next mediocre dance!
*No hands move* – that’s what we thought.
As Salsa dancers we turn hundreds of times per night (some nut jobs probably hit the 4 digits), but despite this staggering amount of repetition, SO many of us are losing our balance and limiting ourselves from experiencing incredible dances. That’s insane!
Simply put, if you’re off balance, you’re missing out big time. It’s time to end this madness and unlock your ability to turn better. Sound good?
This quick tip on salsa turn technique is going to change the way you practice your turns and it’s the perfect test to find out if you’re slacking off! Read more →
If I asked you to complete this sentence: “Practice makes….”
What would you say?
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10 Ways to Practice Salsa Without a Partner and Get Damn Good Doing It!
There is no reason you can’t practice salsa without a partner. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to get better at salsa dancing. Yes, salsa is a partner dance, but you absolutely must be able to hold your own if you want to have fun, free your mind and be in the moment.
To prove anyone can benefit from some good old fashioned solo practice, I present you with…
10 Things You Should Practice Without a Salsa Partner
- Developing Your Timing & Awareness of Music
- Your Basic Steps
- Body Movement
- Turn Technique
- Layering Your Skills Together
- Film Yourself Regularly
- Practice Partner Shadowing
- Memorize Your Steps
- Watch Great Dancers Do Their Thing
GET THE SALSA COURSE FREE FOR A WEEK
#1 Developing Timing & Awareness of Music
At a basic level, this is your ability to dance on beat so you can communicate with your partner and execute movements on time. As you improve your ability to recognize rhythms, instruments, and song structure you’ll find yourself able to start reflecting that expression in your dancing and be more playful. In essence, timing is a foundational element of being able dance with a partner and musicality is what brings that dance to life. If you struggle with finding the beat and dancing on time, I’ve created a really helpful resource just for you. Check out this mini YouTube video course on “Finding the Beat”. it’s a four-part series and it will radically help you improve your ability to find and dance on beat within 30 days, so go check it out.
#2 Mastering Your Basic Steps
This is like learning to walk. These are the foundational steps to everything in salsa. You can never practice your basics enough. So get crackin’ and make sure you evaluate yourself along the way. make sure you can…
- Do your salsa basics on time
- Do you basics in all directions (front/back, side to side, diagnolly, crossing over to the front and the back)
- Switch between each basic step without hesitation
- Stylize your basics with taps and touches
Shines are the footwork that you use beyond just your basic steps. And practicing footwork will help you refine your timing, stepping, and pivoting techniques. Since there are only so many ways you can move your feet, the same steps you learn solo will often appear in your partner work. That means the more shines you know and get comfortable with, the more you’ll start feeling better both dancing solo and with a partner. Through working on shines, you’ll also learn how to step to different rhythms beyond the basic timing. This helps expand your awareness and understanding of the dance and your skills overall
#4 Body Movement
This is really where the magic happens. Let’s take a look at some basics. (Refering to 2:58 in the above video) So here’s a basic with no body movement. Now here’s a basic with some body movement and now here’s a basic with serious body movement. There’s not much else to say. Body movement is that wow factor, that secret sauce, that flavor that makes dance so amazing to watch. When I started to improve my body movement, I really started having so much more fun. I felt way more connected to the music because I was able to express myself to it. Now, body movement is still one of my greatest weaknesses but it’s definitely my focus right now because I realized it doesn’t only make you look better, it feels so much better. It’s what brings everything to life. It makes you look good, it makes you feel good, and not just to you but to your partner as well. That’s because body movement is actually technique. And when you move correctly, you’re leading and following will feel much more smooth, connected, and impressive.
#5 Turn Technique
Turn technique is what holds most beginner follows back from being able to execute smooth and controlled turns. And it’s what holds most leads back from being able to lead the turns smoothly because they’re leading them on the incorrect timing. Dial your turns in because it’s the fastest way to improve both as a experienced beginner lead and follow. It’s going to make your dances so much more enjoyable too
#6 Layering Your Skills Together
So you’re going to want to practice all the individual concepts I’ve already mentioned on their own before getting into layering. But once you have your timing, your basics, some simple shines, some body movement, and some turn technique, you want to start layering them on top of each other to bring the package together and make your dancing more complete.
To start layering these techniques and skills together, begin with your basics. Once you have your basics down, start trying to add your body movements in. Once you can do that, take some simple shines and then try and add body movement into those shines. Now, the important thing to remember here is that you shouldn’t do complex footwork at this point because it’s going to complicate things too much. As you’re trying to add this layer of body movement on top it’s going to be much harder to even do the simplest of shines.
Next up, once you’re comfortable adding body movement to some simple shines, add a turn or two in there and then see if you can add body movement on top of that. Once your execution improves, you can focus on doing each of these things and connect deeper to music. Try playing a song. As it plays, think about and feel how the energy of the song changes from the intro through the verse and into the next section. How does it make you feel, and how are you going to express those changes in the song with your movement? Now remember: Layering these skills on top of each other is a very step by step progressive process. Some days you might feel like you’re a few steps ahead and otherdays you might feel like you’re taking a few steps back. But if you focus on all these individual elements and then layer them on top of each other one by one being very compassionate with yourself and starting very simple, you’re going to see results over time
GET THE SALSA COURSE FREE FOR A WEEK
Alright, so you’ve mastered a few of the basics and started layering some of these skills on top of each other. What’s the next progression in your journey, you ask?
More Ways to Progress Your Solo Salsa Practice
#7 Film Yourself Regularly
When practicing alone, the camera is your best friend and you are your biggest critic. Before getting started, try and have at least one video clip of yourself dancing with a partner so you can analyze what you need to work on.
How to approach critiquing your dancing:
- Watch the video all the way through without thinking. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.
- Watch the video a second time and identify the parts of the dance that don’t quite look right. Maybe you fumbled your steps, your partner didn’t respond well to your lead, or you had an otherwise awkward moment. Figure out what caused that awkwardness and write it down.
- Keep a list of your “mess ups” and find out what your biggest weakness is. Some examples could be stumbling in your footwork, unclear lead/follow technique, poor timing etc.
- Choose one of the skills from your list of ‘mess ups’ and focus on it during your upcoming practice sessions. Every now and then, re-film yourself and see how you’re improving on your skill of choice.
- Repeat the process of weakness identification, analysis and practice until you are happy with the progress you’ve made.
- Celebrate when you see improvement!
#8 Practice Partner Shadowing
Shadowing is basically running through a move or pattern from start to finish while pretending to dance with a partner. It might feel a little lonely, but it’s a great way to drill your technique without the distraction of a partner. Quite often, when you’re learning something new, you’ll pay too much attention to what your partner is doing and forget what you should be concentrating on. When shadowing, you can make sure your posture, movement, lead/follow technique, and footwork are all dialed in before moving on to a partner.
Shadowing is more of an intermediate technique and will get easier and easier the more Salsa experience you have. If you’re a beginner, feel free to give it a try, but don’t get discouraged if you can’t quite visualize the hand holds and (your ghost partner’s) body positioning while starting out.
#9 Memorize Your Steps
Dancing is a language. You have to learn your vocabulary before writing a sentence and perfect your sentence writing before crafting a letter.
In the same way, you have to master Salsa steps before combining them into a pattern and master patterns before social dancing. Everything in dance is modular. Without the vocabulary, you have no building blocks to build your masterpiece.
So what can you do to make this masterpiece more masterful? Memorize your moves! Increase your potential by having as many building blocks as you can. If you forget your moves, your social dance will crumble.
If you’re really keen to try this, create a list of all the steps you know (perhaps categorizing them by skill level or technique will help you remember them). Every once in a while, re-visit the list and see how many of the moves you can perform from memory. If you find yourself forgetting some, then that’s a good time to start jogging your memory.
The moves you have locked in your memory are your home base – your safe place. From there, you can slowly add steps to your arsenal and expand your vocabulary.
#10 Watch Great Dancers Do Their Thing
Watching others dance is a great strategy to tie into your camera critique. You already know what skill you want to improve on, so now you need to find someone who’s great at it and study them.
Go out for a night of social dancing and take a break in between dances. Glue your eyes to the dance floor and identify someone who looks like they really know what they’re doing. How does their movement compare to yours? Try to ignore their personal style and focus on the technical movement. Pay close attention to how they connect with their partner, move their body, flow between steps and respond to the music. While watching, focus on the movement that’s related to the skill you are trying to improve. Watching everything they do is fine, but ‘everything’ can be overwhelming to think about. Having a focus will help you find the key takeaways to fast track your improvement.
After your secret spy session, remember one or two takeaways that you can try next time you practice. Rinse and repeat this process for each skill you want to improve. Remember to use your camera to keep tabs on your progress.
GET THE SALSA COURSE FREE FOR A WEEK
Salsa through the eyes of a woman - Cubanoboom. Salsa
Salsa is so romantic, passionate and attractive... It is this delightful dance that will help any girl to show her individuality, it allows each of us
to be different from everyone else. Salsa - become special!
When you attend women's style classes, you will notice that graceful posture, the ability to keep the rhythm and, of course, dance, do not come to us from birth. Even if we don’t dance in ballet, we don’t imitate anyone, we light up on dance floors and discos, trying to keep ourselves “on top”, though not too hoping for success. But more often than not, we realize that our dance is far from perfect, no matter how much we would like it to be. After all, as soon as we look at a professional dancer moving through the hall, or admire her graceful movements in various television shows, we see the shortcomings of our own dance. I want to pay attention to the girls who dance Salsa: their clothes, demeanor, gestures, charm and charisma speak for themselves. Everything that they achieve is given to them with gigantic work - only a great desire and long training, measured by a single day, month or year, are the right path to magnificence. Their every gesture, movement in the dance leads to a real sensation! No artist can depict all the fireworks of emotions they convey.
Unfortunately, it is very rare to find professional dancers in salsa clubs. The vast majority of them begin to perform, at the same time they take pride of place in prestigious competitions and, of course, become master class instructors, teaching in special studios. But as soon as they get into any "party", they instantly begin to feel like queens, stars of the dance floor. Still, we also need to learn how to emphasize our sexuality so that our way of dancing becomes even more interesting.
In salsa, women can express themselves, show their graceful body, excellent state of mind, ardent look and bewitching smile. This is a dance that combines passion and love, it is a flow of energy that sweeps away everything in its path, awakening an inexplicable desire to show hidden emotions.
For a dancer, the right choice of outfit is an essential attribute, by the way, it is with the help of clothes that you can show your attractiveness and sexuality. According to the numerous stories of girls, it is easy to say with confidence that when dancing salsa in clubs, they are trying to look perfect, they cannot be disarmed and taken by surprise. It's just wonderful that the art of dance and music, like nothing else, can simply transform us. Women always strive to be at their best, to emphasize their individuality, and this is done mainly not only for others, but also for themselves, however, only a true man can appreciate all the magnificence. There is no doubt that all salseras strive to look perfect during the dance. And here we can face a huge problem. Even in the event that you effectively appear in the club, flaunting luxury, glitter attire and all your sexuality, all this will disappear under the flickering spotlights, you just have to go to the dance floor. And why so much effort, because the same result could be achieved by wearing a paper bag ... But when we look at a real Latin dancer or a native Latin American on the same dance floor, we will notice that the most ordinary paper bag suddenly turns into an exclusive outfit of the latest collection Gucci .
Before making any objections to this article, I would like to add that we cannot claim that Latin lessons are the only way to become seductive and sexy. The point is that, without owning this same sex appeal from birth, it is quite possible to find it by doing salsa - this direction is a unique expression of sensuality.
Looking at the beautiful salsa dancers who, improvising, completely surrender to the dance, you feel that their every movement is special. The secret is that they can do whatever they want, all the elements they have are organic and relaxed. The movements are so comfortable for the body - nothing artificial, there is always a distance, remoteness, magnificence! Partners have learned to perfectly control their bodies, they do not need words, they do not need looks. They have a special sexuality, it is natural for them.
Salsa allows them to be themselves, the music controls the movements and allows them to move freely. While dancing salsa, they can do almost any sexual element. The melody captures, for some time the partners become one whole, one mind.
Our problem is global: alas, women have long begun to imitate male manners. We even try to lead our partners in the dance! Let's say stop, start a revolution, and bring back all the sexuality of women's bodies, which is now in the past. Many women want to express their emancipation, forgetting their main advantage, that they are actually superior to men.
Today's task is to show our individuality on the dance floor, overcoming all complexes and fears regarding our sexual attractiveness. As soon as all doubts disappear, our body begins to rebuild and immediately leaves the state of isolation.
Demonstrating salsa, we expose our feelings. Every movement of the dance is breathtaking. It is impossible to imagine anything more sensual. Just imagine: the girl gently runs her hands over her thighs, as if caressing, and then in an instant, holding her breath, shakes her shoulders and, smiling, makes a daring snap of her fingers. A confident step, a turn of the hips, a movement of the head, a passionate look into the eyes of a partner and a charming smile of each of them - there is no more bewitching sight.
Summarizing the words of our Latin teachers, you should not learn all this in fits and starts, there are no special techniques that you can easily and quickly master. To become truly sexy, you need a lot of practice, it takes a lot of time. Start breathing deeply, and it's safe to say that you won't be able to stop. The main thing is to surrender to the dance with every cell of your body, not by 80%, but by all 200%, and only in this case you will become extraordinarily beautiful, charming and attractive. Then you will be called not an ordinary girl, but one that is worthy of contemplation. You are unique and deserve it. Bravo!
Latin American dancing is like a first breath. The first step is a breath, the next step is the liberation of one's actions and thoughts. One has only to master the original technique, and you will become an individual. Achieve and strive for it!!!
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