salsa dance lessonsMini SALSA Dance Lesson

Here's a mini lesson to help prepare you to be a great salsa dancer. Even if you are experienced salsero, you can learn something because I go into some detail about "cuban hip motion" -- something even experienced dancers can always work on to improve their style and look sexier.

A common mistake that beginners make is that they fail to change weight when dancing.

NOTE: in America, leaders usually step forward first with their left foot in salsa. Followers step back with their right foot.


The basic step for leader is:

Forward left foot.
Replace weight back to right foot.
Bring left foot to right foot (and pause)

Back right foot.
Replace weight to left foot.
Bring right foot to left foot (and pause)


The follower does the natural opposite and starts by stepping back with the right foot.

As a beginner, when stepping forward, it is a good idea to think of stepping first onto the ball of your foot. Then smoothly allow your heel to come down onto the floor. Weight should be transferred onto the front foot;you shouldn't just touch your front foot to the floor. 

Cuban Hip Motion

When you first step forward with your left foot, your front leg should be bent and the weight should still be on your back right leg. But as you allow your heel to come down onto the floor your front leg straightens and weight is transferred to you front foot.

This change of weight and the straightening of your left leg is what causes your hips to move in what is called "Cuban Hip Motion."  When done right it is smooth and sexy. When done wrong is looks really bad. Don't worry if you don't quite get what I am talking about here with regard to Cuba hip motion. This will take practice.

Using Instructional Dance Videos

A little know secret is that instructional videos can be a big help in learning to dance.  Often dance teachers don't want you to know about instructional videos because if you watch them you may learn too much and ask questions that they are not ready to deal with. But a good instructional video can give you a jump start on learning to dance and help you feel more comfortable when taking either a private or group dance lesson. When I was first learning to dance, I felt very nervous when taking group classes, mainly because I didn't want to look stupid or clumsy in front of others. But when I studied a instructional video before going to class I was amazed at how relaxed I felt.  It seemed like I already knew most of what the instructor was teaching and that it was just a review for me. 

Here are some tips about learning from a dance instruction video:

Take notes.
On a card, write a short catchy name of a step taught in the video
Bring the card with you when you go dancing.
If you are a leader, lead the step a few times..
If you are a follower, learn the leader's part, too!
Practice dancings with other followers and lead them in the step.
You will be amazed at how much better a follower you will become!

One issue, though, is that there are so many instructional videos out there now, that it is hard to know which ones to get.  I've done some research on this and I can highly recommend the ones referenced below.

For some good salsa instructional videos and even an online Latin dance school, check out the following link:

instructional salsa videos and online Latin dance school:

Enjoy dancing!  It will change your life!

Warmest regards,

Phil Seyer
Bay Area and Sacramento Singles Dance Parties and Mixers
Music and Dance Education
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