Salsa Dancing Tip #1: Stay on rhythm. It doesn’t matter if you dance On1, On2, On Clave, Rueda…just stay on the correct timing of whichever style of Salsa you choose to dance. I can be frustrating if your partner doesn’t know the timing of the music and is all over the place, making for a messy dance. By staying with the timing of the music, you are able to synchronize your steps with your partner and the music. This is when the music and the dance become one.
Salsa Dancing Tip #2: No gripping or squeezing. When leading or following a dance partner, if you don’t understand the basic technique of hand connection and pressure, then it’s likely you are gripping or squeezing your partners’ hands. We tend to grip and squeeze because we don’t want to lose hand connection while turning or doing other moves. Not only can this be very painful, but it can even be dangerous. Once upon a time, I almost had my finger broken because my partner was squeezing my hands so fiercely. There is a proper technique to this whole leading and following business. The leader should put pressure on the follower’s fingers with his own fingers. The follower should then match the amount of pressure the leader gives to maintain contact. It takes both leader and follower doing their part to make proper hand connection work.
Salsa Dancing Tip #3: Who are you trying to impress? Get a feel for your partner before you whip out your bag of tricks. Guys, if you don’t know the level of your dance partner, start with something simple and then work your way up to more complicated patterns. Whipping out your triple turns on her in the first ten seconds of the song is only going to get someone hurt. And ladies, if you are a more experienced dancer than your partner is, be patient with him. He’s probably putting enough pressure on himself already and doesn’t need any help. Remember that the learning process can be challenging.
Salsa Dancing Tip #4: Don’t let yourself get too gross. Salsa dancing is one of the few social activities in which excessive sweating isn’t considered taboo. Thank goodness. However, it is still gross if your partner has to wipe off from “your” sweat after the dance. Bring extra shirts, deodorant, towel, gum, mints and whatever else you feel will help you stay fresh and smelling decent.
Salsa Dancing Tip #5: No one is too good for common courtesy. Gentlemen, make sure to act like one. Never leave your partner just standing on the dance floor after a song. Walk her back to where you asked her to dance. And don’t forget to say “Thank You.” That goes for the ladies too.
Salsa Dancing Tip #6: Small steps. Especially when dancing in a crowded club. The only place you want to play bumper cars is at your local amusement park. And besides the potential of a few bruises, large steps make it more difficult and takes up more time to transfer your weight from one foot to another. If you are not comfortable with your timing, this can cause you to fall behind the beats. And if this happens, please refer to Salsa Tip #1.
Final Salsa Dancing Tip: Most important of all…have fun! Remember that this life is short and that there is nothing good that will come from worrying about what you look like on the dance floor. Learn, practice, improve and enjoy the process. Even the growing pains.