Have you watched salsa dance steps and wished you could dance the salsa and look really good doing it? This exciting, sensuous dance looks so great because of its fluid hip movements, fancy footwork and the excitement of the music.
The salsa dance steps come from several Latin dances, including the Cha Cha Cha, Mambo, Rumba. Salsa dancing is a mix of these Latin dances with European and African influence.
Salsa is mostly danced with a partner, but there are circle, line and solo versions as well. No wonder it has such a wide appeal.
We know salsa dancing is Caribbean in origin, but there is some debate as to whether it came from Puerto Rico, Cuba or the Dominican Republic.
It doesn’t really matter, though, because there are variations in different areas of the US, probably because of the different nationalities that moved to those parts of the country, taking their favorite dance with them.
In salsa dance, partners face each other in a relaxed Latin hold, keeping their weight on the balls of their feet. Sometimes, partners separate to dance apart.
Salsa dance steps are taken with the ball of the feet touching the floor first, and the heel is lowered as the weight is transferred. The hip action is relaxed but fluid; more subtle in men than women.
Arm movements should follow the movement of the body naturally, and shouldn’t look contrived. Your upper body should stay level and hardly move at all, despite the changing weight of the feet and the movement of the hips.
You often improvise steps when you are salsa dancing, but the basic step must be mastered before you can do this.
The basic salsa has 3 steps or weight changes to each 4 beats of the music. The fourth beat can be a pause or a tap or kick. The 3 steps of the basic step are not always the same length; one may be longer and is called a break step.
Salsa music can vary from a slow 100 beats to a minute, to a fast 140 beats to a minute, though the average is somewhere in between.
Once you have mastered the basics of the music, rhythm and basic step, you can then try some variations. The trend is for variety in individual steps and leg work, arm and body movement, spins and shimmies as partners “shine” or dance alone. Elements of jazz, hip hop, flamenco, ballroom and belly dancing all appear as part of salsa dancing these days.
You will be able to find places where you can take lessons to learn salsa dance steps in most towns and cities throughout the United States. Most locations have classes for beginners to advanced, so you can master the basic steps before you take to the dance floor at your favorite nightspot.
There are also lots of salsa dance videos on YouTube and other internet sites that will show you how to salsa with the best of them.
Whether you are in New York and salsa dancing with the Puerto Rican influence of elegance and precision; or in Miami and dancing the Rueda style in a circle; or in Los Angeles, salsa dancing to the Cuban-based rhythms, you will certainly have lots of fun and get a great workout.