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Salsa: Basic Steps


Salsa: Basic Steps
Concepts & Definitions
About The Video Clips
Using The Video Clips
Side–To–Side
Back Basic
Turning Basic
Latin Basic
Cross Basic
Cucaracha
Single Right Turn (SRT)
Better Salsa FAQs
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More Practices
Learning Tracks:
Salsa
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That's Only The Beginning

Solo Practices

  1. Gender Convention:
    In Britain those leading begin with weight on the right leg stepping onto the left; and those following begin with weight on the left leg stepping onto the right. Practice starting each basic obeying your gender convention. Stop and start repeatedly.
     
  2. Step Transitions:
    Leads usually change from one basic to another when they are about to step with their left leg; Followers usually change from one basic to another when they are about to step with their right leg. Select two basics e.g. side–to–side and latin basic; and obeying gender convention, dance an even number of one basic then change to the other for an even number. Start with eight repetitions, then six, then four, and lastly two repetitions. Practice until you are completely fluent in changing between all the basics.
     
  3. Changing Orientation:
    Dancing the steps facing only in one direction isn't healthy; it makes you a little wooden and does not reflect what's required under real dance conditions. Try performing each basic gradually changing the way you're facing by rotating to your right. Aim to have completed a full revolution after sixteen times, then eight, then four. After that, practise it turning to your left.
     
  4. Splitting Basics:
    Dancing one half of one basic, followed by one half of another e.g. the forward part of the Latin basic and right half of the cucaracha (verbal cue: forward–and–close,–side–and–close). This changes the way you perceive each basic, into smaller and more flexible sections.
     
  5. Reverse Gender Convention:
    Sticking only to your natural convention can make you a lop-sided dancer. You may be required to change on your "other" foot; due to a unusually constructed turn combination, or if the music is played in phrases of an odd number of bars. Practise this by dancing an odd number of repetitions of two or more basics.
     
  6. Beat Discipline:
    Make sure that every basic (or string of basics) that you dance is on time i.e. that you always start on beat one and pause on beat four. When you can do that then try dancing your basics starting on beat three, pausing on two; beat two pausing on one; beat four pausing on three. Fluency with this exercise ensures you can keep an even beat, also dancing on other beats sometimes suits particular songs.
     

Partnered Practices

  1. Gender Convention, Partnered:
    Practice starting each basic with each partner obeying their respective gender convention: leads begin with weight on right leg stepping onto left; followers begin with weight on left leg stepping onto right. Stop and start repeatedly.
     
  2. Step Transitions, Partnered:
    As with the step transition practice described in the solo section, but partnered. Practice until you are completely fluent in changing between all the basics.
     
  3. Changing Orientation, Partnered:
    Perform each basic gradually changing the way the partnership is facing by rotating to the right. Aim to have completed a full revolution after sixteen times, then eight. After that, practise it turning to the left.
     
  4. Split Basics, Partnered:
    Unlike the solo practice, this one involves the lead partner performing one basic while leading the following partner to perform a different basic. The most versatile combination is the lead executing the cucaracha while the follower executes the turning basic. Experiment to see which other combinations are possible and usable.
 

 
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