Salsa Dance Tips for Followers

Awhile back we had some tips for the leaders from world-famous salsa dancer Magna Gopal. Now we have some tips from her for the followers. Feel free to add you own "leading" and "following" tips at the end in the comment section.

  1. Frame - Use the same larger core muscles groups when following so that there's no pulling of the arms out of the sockets in a move but rather the entire body follows the lead.

  3. Tension - Also try to have good tension in the fingers/hands without gripping the leader's hands. This is actually a vicious cycle sometimes - ladies grip the guys hands, the guys start using their thumbs more, the ladies grip harder, and so it continues. I really dislike when guys grab my hands and squeeze in with their thumbs. I wiggle my way out of it. I've learned through experience that it's too dangerous of a position to be in while dancing.


  5. Anticipation - One of the things that follower's are sometimes guilty of, including myself. The best way to guard against this is to dance with as many different people as possible, especially in your first few years. This way, there's so much variety in leads that you don't get too accustomed to any one lead.

  7. Timing - Be aware of your timing especially when dancing with someone who does not keep timing well. If at least one of you has a good foundation here, you can keep the other person in line as well.

  9. Self-awareness & correction - I should have mentioned this for the guys as well but this is an important point for getting better. Before you can fix your mistakes and bad habits, you have to be aware of them. So when you're dancing with different leads and you realize that you anticipated or went off time, try to analyze that moment, avoid repeating it and fix it for the future. This is a trial & error process most of the time so don't worry if it doesn't work the first or even fifth time. But don't lose heart and keep on being active in the learning process.

  11. Attentiveness - Exact same concept as for the guys. Tone down your styling and dance to match your partners. If he's more advanced he should accommodate the follower's level

  13. Etiquette - Most of the time, in the salsa scene men ask women out to dance. If you don't want to dance with someone, be nice about it. And if you want to get better, don't wait for the leader to ask you, just go out and dance with whomever you like.

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