Mystery Revealed – Why It’s Called Salsa “On 2”

If you've made a trip to your local Latin dance club recently,
you've probably realized how popular the On2 style of Salsa has become.

In fact, we have many On1 dancers attend our classes
trying to take what they already know and convert it to the On2 style of dancing.

Now the On2 style is not BETTER or WORSE than the On1 style or vice versa.
However, it is like a wildfire spreading over the Salsa scene
so you should probably know it.

My personal opinion is that you should be able to dance both styles.
But if you are just starting out and want to focus your energies,
then I recommend starting with the On2 style.

So what exactly does dancing On2 mean?

First thing to know is that dancers use 8 counts of music
to execute one complete basic step.
We fit those 8 counts of music into what we call a bar or phrase.
So every 8 beats of music = 1 bar.
You with me??


The next piece of terminology you need to know is the "break step."
The break step is the step used to change direction when dancing the basic step.
For example, in the On2 style, the man takes his first step backward on count one with his left foot,
he takes a second step backward on count two with his right foot,
and he takes a third step forward (changing direction) on count three with his left foot.

So which step do we consider to be the "break step?"
The step that is taken on count two, right before he change directions.
The name "Salsa On2" is derived from the break step that happens on count two.
Make sense?

I hope so.

The same idea applies when dancing Salsa On1.
The man's footwork pattern is slightly different,
so his left foot starts forward on count one,
and his right foot backward on count two (changing direction).
The break step in this case is on the count one,
hence the name Salsa On1.

If I haven't completely confused the befuddle out of you by now,
then quiz yourself to see if you can tell who is dancing On1
and who is dancing On2 from the videos below.
Post your answers below in the comment box.
(Hint: you have to be able to hear the timing to do this!)

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