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Salsa 1.0 - Just Make A Start with Club Dance Holidays


When you enter a salsa class for the very first time it can feel, to say the least, daunting. Apart from the unfamiliar Latin beats (which, as salsa gets you hooked, quickly replace your Adele and Robbie Williams in the car), the apparent expertise of everyone in the class except you might send you running for the door; believe me, we’ve been there.

But actually, the basics of salsa are simple. And once you learn the basics you’re half way there; all you need to do is add your own flair and work on building up your repertoire of moves.
Dancing begins with walking: a sequence of steps, each step being taken by an alternate leg. A single step can be broken down further into the placing of a foot on the floor (called a “foot placement”) and the movement of weight over that foot (called a “weight transfer”). A foot placement followed by the full transfer of weight (a definite step) will ensure that you use the other foot next. This concept holds the key to dancing effectively because in salsa the legs are also used in alternation. In other words, if you can walk you can dance.
Once you’ve mastered the art of walking you can start to be a little clever with how you place your steps. A tap is a foot placement without a transfer of weight over that foot. Try standing with your weight on one leg, and tapping the floor with the other. A replace, related to a tap, is moving your weight back to the spot where it was a moment ago.
Of course these steps need to be married with music and this is where is gets a bit more technical. However, if you master two concepts then you’re dancing: a “null beat” and a “highlight”. A null beat is a beat in the rhythm that’s not used. For example, in salsa there are four beats per bar of music: three dance beats and one null beat. Steps are taken during each dance beat, and no steps are taken during null beats. This results in the step–step–step–wait pattern of the basic salsa.
Some dancers get bored during the null beat so they decorate it with a highlight. It can take the form of a tap, a flick of the foot, and so on. The options are endless. The salsa pattern would then change to e.g. step–step–step–tap, or step–step–step–flick.
Sounds exhausting but, like learning to walk, as soon as you grasp it there will literally be no stopping you.