How to salsa dance with a partner

Why You Should Go Salsa Dancing With Your Significant Other?

Think about the activities you do with your partner. Are you doing anything that teaches you a new skill, is good exercise and allows you to meet new friends? If you answered no, then you haven’t tried to learn Salsa yet as a couple.

Salsa is a vibrant and exciting dance that gets you and your partner moving as you learn some impressive dancing skills.

If you’re unfamiliar with Salsa dancing, our expert salsa dance instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Raleigh, NC are going to share with you about the different techniques so that you can learn more about this vibrant and exciting dance style. Let’s get started and hit the dance floor!

What is Salsa?

Salsa is a Latin dance that combines forms from the Cuban Son and the Rumba. It builds to a crescendo that creates tension and release. This is part of what makes it a great partner dance.

The basic Salsa dance rhythm consists of taking three steps for every four beats of music you hear. This odd number creates the syncopation that is unique to Salsa dancing. It also ensures that it takes eight beats of music to loop back to a new sequence of steps.

As you get to learn salsa, you’ll notice that in many styles, the upper body remains level as the dancers shift their weight by stepping into the middle for 50/50 weight. The movement rotates in a figure eight to cause the hips to move. Arms and shoulders are also getting in there to give the dance a spicy flair. Don’t forget the hip movement known as the “Cuban hip movement” which is found in other Latin dances as well.

Salsa Dance Styles

Not all salsa dancing is created equal. There are different salsa dance styles that are unique with the footwork they include.

Characteristics that identify a particular salsa couple dance style include:

  • Timing
  • Basic Steps
  • Rolls
  • Spins
  • Body movement and turns
  • Attitude

Even though there are a variety of styles, these are three primary Salsa dance styles that you’ll see taught at dance schools:

Colombian Style Salsa

The footwork in Colombian Salsa is what sets it apart from other styles. It has quick rapid steps and skilling motions. The footwork is intricate and precise, which makes it popular for winning world championship competitions.

Cuban “Casino” Style Salsa

The Casino style Salsa dance originated from the Cuban Son dance. It became popular in the late 1950s and is independent of the other Salsa dance styles. This is partly because of the effect of the Cuban Embargo. As opposed to the Cuban Son that follows a delayed measure upbeat, the Casino is danced on the downbeat break of 1 or 3. 

Los Angeles Style Salsa

The Los Angeles style of salsa is easy and very adaptable. It gets its influences from the Mambo, Swing, Argentine Tango, and Latin Ballroom dancing styles. The L.A. style is known to be sensuous, theatrical, aerobic, and musical.

Is Salsa a Couple Dance?

While Salsa is known as a partner dance, it can also be a solo dance, “suelta” and “Rueda de Casino,” where multiple couples exchange partners in a circle. 

How Do You Salsa with Your Partner?

The best way to learn salsa with a partner is to take dance lessons. This is especially important for beginners. Whether you’re doing private dance lessons or group classes, you can learn from the pros who can teach you the right technique and steps.

When you’re a beginner, it’s all about developing timing and awareness of the music in each lesson. You want to be able to dance to the beat so you can communicate with your partner and execute movements on time. As you learn, you’ll find yourself able to start being more expressive in your dancing and more playful. This comes with practice and building confidence in your ability.

As you and your partner learn this beautiful form of Latin dancing, you’ll start to master your steps. This includes doing the basics on time and in all directions as well as being able to switch between each basic step without hesitating. As you master this, you can stylize your basics with taps and touches.

Body movement is a big part of learning how to salsa dance as a couple. It’s what makes the dance so fun to watch. Body movement is a technique. When you move correctly, you’ll feel that whether you’re leading or following, you’re doing it more smoothly.

As you bring together the basic steps, timing, and body movement, you can start layering your skills together. This makes your dancing more complete. Don’t get discouraged because this takes time!

Benefits of Salsa Dancing

Besides being fun and exciting, there are several other benefits of learning how to salsa. These include:

Burning Calories

Who doesn’t want to burn some extra calories these days? Salsa dancing can burn up to 600 calories an hour. It’s much more exciting than walking on a treadmill!

Improve Balance, Coordination, and Posture 

When you learn Salsa dancing, you are helping your balance and coordination skills. You’re also forced to have good posture as you look up and focus straight ahead.

Meet New Friends

If you take group classes, you’ll meet new friends as you learn a new skill. From the teachers to the other dancers, Salsa takes on a life of its own and introduces you to so many new things!

Are You Ready to Take Salsa Classes in Raleigh?

If you’re ready for a fun Salsa dance program that offers the best Salsa classes, our expert Salsa instructors at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Raleigh would love to get you moving on the dance floor!

Contact our studio today at (919) 872-0111 to learn more about our Salsa dance classes. You can also reach out to us online to get started! Discover a new passion and skill at our dance studio!

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No Partner Necessary

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

  1. Developing Your Timing & Awareness of Music
  2. Your Basic Steps
  3. Shines
  4. Body Movement
  5. Turn Technique
  6. Layering Your Skills Together
  7. Film Yourself Regularly
  8. Practice Partner Shadowing
  9. Memorize Your Steps
  10. Watch Great Dancers Do Their Thing




#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


#3 Shines

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





What’s Next?

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:

  1. Watch the video all the way through without thinking. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Repeat the process of weakness identification, analysis and practice until you are happy with the progress you’ve made.
  6. 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.



Interaction of partners in salsa about the direction of dance Wedding Salsa Salsa

Article - Interaction of partners in salsa about the direction of dance Wedding Salsa Salsa
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Since salsa is a pair dance, there must be rules that allow you to move harmoniously with a partner. Leading and following means not only that the guy says what to do and the girl does what he wants, leading and following is communication and teamwork. The ability to lead and follow requires great sensitivity. You must be ready to talk and listen to your partner (partner), instead of just doing your steps and styling. You can think of leading and following as communicating in dance language. You must adhere to the rules of grammar and have a certain vocabulary in order to communicate with your partner.

Palm interaction
In salsa, we mostly dance in an open position, so the main interaction is through our palms and fingers. This is the point through which we communicate. We must maintain a special form of palms that facilitates interaction, which is often called "hooks". We join our hands together by bending the top knuckles of the fingers. When we interact with the fingertips, there is a desire to grab the fingers and they can slip off. By bending them at the top joints, we will make the interaction stronger, as there will be more surface for contact. Don't bend your wrists! With the partner holding the wrists straight, the partner should put her hands on top and gently push them down with gravity, making sure there is interaction as the partner presses on your fingers. Don't let your wrists go up like rabbit feet! This not only looks silly, but also makes good interaction impossible.

Lead and follow from your center
When the partner leads, he does not want the lady's hands to move, he wants the whole body to move from point A to point B. We need a certain tone in the hands to create the so-called "frame". But that doesn't mean you have to make them tough and hard. Think of it like connecting your solar plexus through your fingertips and creating stability with your back muscles. Wherever your center moves, your hands follow and vice versa. This is a rule that can be broken when it comes to clean dribbling and styling, but the awareness of connecting to your center should always be there. Your arms and elbows should always be in front of your body, never let them go back out of your body. Make sure your elbows are not too bent or fully extended; hands should remain at an equivalent distance from both partners.

3 parts of leading and following. 1) The partner gives the signal, whether it be pushing, pulling or changing direction. 2) The partner “responds” to the signal, implying that she will do the same as the partner: if he pushes, she pushes towards, if he pulls, she also pulls. It may seem paradoxical, but only at the beginning. 3) Actual movement, both moving in the right direction. The second part is the most difficult for the partner. She basically tells the guy, “Yes, I got your signal!” and then moves with it. For the guy, this will create a point of interaction through which he can feel where the partner is and whether he can lead her to the desired movement. In terms of "talking to each other", this is the part where the guy listens and the girl "gives confirmation".

Partner advice. Lead away from your center if possible. A clear signal does not mean driving hard. Understand the partner's point of view, or rather her manner of moving. Don't lead too abruptly: build interaction gradually. If your partner does not react as you expected, do not force her to do this movement.

Tips for a partner. Accept the idea that you will be driven by a partner instead of moving on your own. Never bring your elbows out of your body. Always remember part 2 of the lead (see above). Don't bend your wrists; your duty is to support your own weight and keep your balance.

Reading about dancing is interesting, but it's better to try it. You can find the schedule, addresses of lessons and other detailed information about this direction at the link Salsa

Bachata - romance and passion! Types of bachata dance How DANCE was born Dancing is a small life! Oh that Cuban salsa!

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90,000 12 life hacks, to quickly learn how to dance from Mamita Dance


Author: Pavel Gather
Psychologist, teacher of Salsa and Tango

Author: Pavel Pavel Pavel Pavel Psychologist, Lecturer Salsa

on At the start, you always want to get a quick result. When it doesn't happen, the hypothesis arises that everything takes time. After a conditionally acceptable time, humility comes to mastering pair dances, which, perhaps, is not given, and I will just do what I learned somehow.

This is the most common story of those who believe that attending a pair dance class is enough to learn how to dance.
Absolutely not. If you want to really dance well, you have to make an effort outside of the dance class. A good teacher will definitely be needed, but the initiative should be on your side.

1. Listen to music

The most common and accessible advice that is given already in the first lessons. And it definitely works. Music creates a certain atmosphere of the dance and intuitively you want to move to it. It doesn't matter where you listen to music - in the car, on headphones while walking or doing household chores.

An addition that will help you dance better is your active participation in the music. Sing along, dance or simply beat musical accents with any free parts of the body. In the subway, for example, it is enough to tap out bright moments with your fingers, in the car to sing along with sounds, and at home you can jump for pleasure.

2. Watch videos of good dancers

It's complicated, but also obvious. It’s more difficult, because without recommendations from more experienced dancers, unfortunately, it’s not so easy to find a good quality video on the net (I mean not the resolution quality, but the content itself).

Meaningful viewing of the video is to form an understanding of HOW the dancers make this or that impression on the partner or the viewer. Technology is at the heart of everything. Understanding how the pros do it is a big step forward.

It is important to distinguish between a show and a disco dance, a choreographed performance from an improvisation, a stylized dance from an authentic one, etc. Ask for recommendations, and dance instructors will always upload a couple of videos of worthy landmarks.

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3. Dance in salsatecas/milongas/discotheques

A very delicate moment when you should come to the first party. From a technical point of view, most students in 1-3 months have a sufficient set of figures and techniques to come and dance calmly. Psychologically, the same moment can be stretched out for an indefinite time. After all, it is imperative to “not lose face”, “learn more figures” and be sure what to do in case “there is an unfamiliar movement”.

In fact, the partygoers don't really care (except for a small layer of unprofessional teachers who want to help inexperienced dancers by treating them as customers in the future). It is important to come and try dancing after a month of classes. You can only with friends or guys from your group. This will be enough to feel the adrenaline and inspiration from the dance.

4. Dance with partners or partners not of your level

The conventional wisdom that you need to practice in groups of your level does not withstand the test of experience. Perhaps now your eyes widened in surprise, and you want to meaningfully read the phrase again. Yes, you saw everything correctly: when you dance with a partner of your level, you don’t grow anywhere.

It's important to understand that not only does it work one way and you have to dance with cooler dancers, but it works even more effectively the other way. It is no coincidence that teaching pair dances dramatically raises the level of the teacher himself. You have an endless stream of very beginner dancers.

How it works. A more experienced partner needs to be "stretched". It's easy and obvious. With beginners, you need to take more initiative on yourself, see the general pattern of the dance more widely, turn on and insure more, try to be an example and be more careful. The quality of interaction begins to grow significantly. And wonderful partners too.

Dancing with partners of your level doesn't make you grow. Dance with beginners and more advanced dancers

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In Russia, partners are highly valued. Why? The answer is simple. In Argentina and Turkey, it is not questionable for men to ask another man to lead in one piece or another and give feedback on the quality of the lead. For them, it will be a great shame to hear moralizing from a partner, or even more so to be known in the community as an insecure partner.

In Russia, due to the constant, often far-fetched, opinion that there are more women in pair dances, partners calmly get up and study their partner's part. Such partners then grow into very cool dancers and teachers. In no case do this at parties, only in class. Here we are talking only about the learning strategy. At parties, be yourself.

6. Don't memorize links

Always try to look deeper and understand the through principle and idea of ​​movement. Understanding what and how is done will make it possible to independently generate any sequences and chips.

Human memory is limited and there will always be a moment when something will slip away and your repertoire will be limited by the size of RAM.

In Argentine tango, for example, there are seven levels of movement formation that, when mastered, will allow you to make millions of combinations. And how many dance sequences can you really remember? In rueda, more than 150 figures dance in a rare circle. It's hard to keep more in mind.

7. Develop your body

Many years of experience in teaching pair dance shows that as soon as everyone pairs up in a class, any progress in individual style ends. But it is the individual style that distinguishes everyone at the disco: partners change, and style is always with you.

The body as the main instrument of dance must be very plastic, responsive and emotional. Surprisingly, not all pair dance schools have a general physical warm-up. It is vital to tune the body and understand how it works.

You can always train extra and concentrate more on the basic steps, as their true value is as body work. The sequence of steps is, in fact, the simplest thing that can be in pair dancing. The quality of individual performance determines the craftsmanship.

8. Try on the images of inspiring dancers

A psychological life hack for those who have already mastered the steps, but still feel that there is not enough brightness and drive. Most are terribly afraid of being someone else's "clone". Here the action is the same as under the influence of hypnosis - the more you resist, the more you plunge into an altered state of consciousness.

With a high degree of probability, you are already dancing like someone else's "clone". A meaningful fitting of someone else's image is that you mentally take the image of the one who inspires you (inspiration is critical in this case) and "put on" yourself. Then you start dancing and trying to feel in general how it is to be able, for example, to be the best partner or the sexiest partner in a disco. This is much more difficult than it seems. But it works extremely efficiently.

9. Dance to offbeat music

Habitual rhythms keep you tight. Tango salon or speedy timba leave little room for experimentation and fantasy. Pattern dancing is always noticeable and is reserved for beginners.

The truly new is born outside of the usual. Look for places to experiment. If there is no place, organize self-training. The main thing is not to get carried away, because music determines the style. We bring something new to pair dances, rather than trying to change them.

Search, improvise, don't be afraid to go beyond, develop in different directions, be inspired by music atypical for the style

10. Try your hand at basic dance directions

dances exist according to their own non-choreographic laws.

This is the deepest delusion, which has turned into a ceiling for the qualitative development of partner dances. After all, all professional dancers, for example, in salsa or bachata, build their ideas on the basic choreographic principles.

Do not think that choreography is applicable only on stage. Any meaningful movement of the body can be choreographic. In general, try classical or modern choreography. Basically, hip-hop can work too.

11. Look for battle sensations

Pair dances return us to an active position of manifestation of our body. As in the days of our ancient ancestors, we impress the members of the opposite sex by how dexterous, hardy, sexy, etc. we are. Modern laws of the jungle in the entourage of large cities.

If you look around the dance floor, it becomes clear that the majority are clearly herbivores (not in the sense of vegetarians, but in relation to those around them). I am sure that predators are always more interesting in terms of the attractiveness of the image - try to find a counterbalance among herbivores, for example, a cat woman or a lion man.

The conversation is about an internal position, not about aggressiveness. Lability and lack of control are inherent in adolescents, and not in adult self-sufficient people.

Accordingly, even a training or friendly battle gives, on the one hand, practical skills - to make a bright sequence of movements, bring an idea to a climax, show a spectacular feature, on the other hand, develops the psychological basis of the dance - self-confidence, resistance to extraneous attention, self-control and self-control in complex elements.

12. Communicate with professionals

The environment shapes the internal position. Basically, real passionaries of the dance community are ready to openly talk, discuss and support the development of dance in every possible way. Universal principles and the ideas they articulate have a much longer and more practical perspective than meets the eye.

Accept that, for example, behind the words "listen to your partner" lies not only a beautiful metaphor, but also a practical skill to literally listen to your partner. At the same time, always treat every thought, even the most respected teacher, as a private opinion.

Your skill will lie in finding the scope of the idea even in conflicting opinions. Most often, the contradiction is speculative and the truth lies in the angle of perception or situationality.

Your dancing growth will stop sooner or later. This can happen at the level of three basic steps or years of experience in teaching and show performances.

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