Salsa 101:



- Salsa is Music Made Into Movement -

     One of the most popular dances in the world, salsa owes its appeal to the freeform and improvisational nature of the dance. This lack of restraint allows people of all body shapes and experience levels to have fun. Dancers really just need to know the basic steps and can for the most part, improvise movements to match the music! In fact, some of the most impressive dance moves are not very complicated at all! It isn't usually a matter of what you know, but rather how you do it!

- Connecting With Others -

     Whether you are looking to enhance your connection with a significant other, or perhaps you want to make new friends and expand your social circle, Salsa might just be the dance for you! As a partner dance, Salsa is all about learning connect with and bring a smile to your partner's face. Learning these tools has many long term benefits for couples in addition to serving as a fantastic icebreaker when meeting new people. It is rather difficult to participate at a dance party without feeling happy, and we all know that happy people are just easy to befriend! 

- No partner? No Problem! - 

     It is acceptable to attend a dance class or party without bringing a partner. Most group lessons will allow people to rotate partners throughout the class if they choose. As a social dance, Salsa is one of our favorites because the culture does not require you to stay with the same partner the entire night.  Dancing with everyone in the room is not just accepted, but encouraged! In fact, as dancers, the fastest way to learn and grow is to dance with as many people as possible. Social Dancing is like having a conversation, and the more people you speak with, the more rapidly you gain fluency! Additionally, the sheer variation of different patterns and steps can be 100% lead and follow, meaning that your partner is not necessarily required to know the same steps to have fun.

- For Beginners -

     Like any new skill or hobby, one of the most important things to keep in mind when starting Salsa dance lessons for the first time is learning to let go of insecurities. New dancers tend to feel embarrassed or inadequate in a dance environment. However, having fun with Salsa requires people to overcome their inhibitions and learn to embrace the awkwardness. To be totally honest, dancing does feel awkward and uncomfortable at first. Just remember that everyone was there once. Each great dancer you see was a total newbie at one point in time. Also, beginners usually feel like everyone is watching them and judging their performance, that couldn't be farther from the truth. In reality, most people only watch the best dancers in the room. One of the best ways to get over this fear, is by going out and dancing at a party! That seems like counter intuitive advice, however, most of our students are surprised at how much easier it is to loosen up when the lights are dim and the crowd is large. Dancers get to fall into a sort of anonymity in the typical dance party environment. CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT ABOUT THE PARTIES WE HOST.

Basic Movements:

- Steps -

     Most, if not all styles of Salsa (yes, there are many different basic variations) are built around three changes of weight (typically rock steps or very small steps) spread across 4 beats. Sometimes, dancers tap or flick their foot on the 4th beat without changing weight. If that sounds like a lot, here are a few of those basics demonstrated: COMING SOON.

- Styling -

     A huge part of Salsa dancing is the styling technique people use to make the dance both flirty and fun. For both leaders and followers, body isolations, arm movements, footwork variations, spins, and solo movements (sometimes called shines) make up the majority of concepts used to style this dance. Dancers can take inspiration from many different kinds of dance including Jazz, Hip Hop, Belly dancing, Ballroom, and even Break Dance to name a few. Basically, if you can make the movement fit the music, it is fair game in Salsa. Oftentimes, students find that taking lessons in another kind of dance can greatly improve their Salsa. 

     For the Women, (and men sometimes too, just don't overdo it guys!) common styling puts extra emphasis on movement through the hips. We oftentimes refer to this kind of action as "Cuban Motion." Utilizing the floor, dancers have to learn how to push energy into the ground using their feet and knees to help drive the motion into their hips. This challenging concept is one that can take weeks, months, or even years to get down and takes a lifetime to master. Here are a few of our favorite Cuban Motion Videos: COMING SOON

- Timing / Rhythm / Music -

     Salsa can be danced "on 1" or "on 2" depending on the music and how the dancers have learned this dance. Many common variations use a quick-quick-Slow rhythm. Salsa music is different from other latin dances in its heavy use of the clave. The instrumentation in most Salsa songs typically follow the clave. The tempo of Salsa music can range anywhere between 160BPM for slow songs to about 220BPM for really fast songs. Although, these ranges change if you are counting in halftime to 80 and 110 respectively.  Here are a few of our favorite songs: COMING SOON

- What Next? -

     Now that you are educated on the many different aspects of Salsa, get out there and dance! At Take The Lead, we offer both Lessons, Practice Parties, and even a special Salsa Party at Cantina Laredo!