The number one concern students express in class is
"How can I look natural when I dance? I don't want to dance like a white guy (or girl)."
That's not to say that all white people look stiff and uncoordinated (heck, I'm white). But yes, I have seen many more Latin American and African people with rhythm than I have white people. Of course, I am generalizing big time.
To look fluid and natural while dancing requires two main ingredients...
Practice and Body Movement.
You have to practice...a lot. Or at least until a movement begins to feel easy to you. There's no short cuts here. By focusing and having an intention behind your practice sessions, you can speed up your improvement.
And you have to learn to move your body. This goes beyond just knowing the steps. This means you must be able to isolate different muscle groups at different times, tempos and ranges of motion. And then incorporate those movements into your steps.
Body movement in Salsa dancing is what separates the 'white' dancers from the natural looking dancers. Yes, you can just do the steps you learned in class and get through a song, but will you look good? Probably not that good.
In Salsa, we use A LOT of body movement - isolating the shoulders, rib cage, chest and hips. Today, let's start by learning how to isolate one body part, the shoulders. Here's a video to get you started.
REMEMBER: Body movement takes more training and practice than just learning simple forward and back steps. So you'll be far ahead of most if you take the time to drill your isolations and muscle movements. Prepare to feel awkward at first. Don't quit though. You'll soon get through the uncoordinated phase and move into smooth, fluid movements that will make you stand out on the dance floor.
Don't give up!