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What to Know Before Dancing Salsa?

What to Know Before Dancing Salsa?

Salsa music and dance have been growing exponentially over the last 15 years all around the globe. But, what its salsa ? What are the origins of salsa music, dance, and what are the different things to know before attending a salsa class and before dancing salsa? In this article, we will go thoroughly through all the different style of salsa music, dance, and give you tips on how to improve your salsa dance skills, as well as giving you practical advice on how to choose the perfect dance shoes for salsa dancing.

Table of Contents

What Is Salsa?

Salsa is generally known  as a Sauce. Literally, Salsa means sauce in Spanish and is generally known as a cooking sauce. However, Salsa is also a musical genre and a style of dance. In term of dance, Salsa is a partner dance coming from Cuba and Puerto Rico, influenced by afro-caribbean dance and musics. Salsa is also a dance that can be danced alone.

Musically, salsa is an energetic genre of music that combines elements of Afro-Cuban rhythms, jazz, and other Latin American musical traditions. It typically features a combination of instruments such as  the conga drums, timbales, piano, bass, la clave and various brass and woodwind instruments. Salsa music and dance are popular everywhere in the world.

all you need o know about salsa. salsa culture, music, dance,orgins and dance styles

What does Salsa means?

salsa is used to describe a sauce in spanish
  • Salsa as a Sauce: In its original culinary sense, “salsa” refers to a spicy or tangy sauce commonly used in Latin American, Mexican, and Caribbean cuisines. Salsas are typically made with a combination of ingredients such as tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and other herbs and spices. Salsa can vary in heat level and flavor profile, ranging from mild and fresh to fiery and complex. It is often used as a condiment or dip for chips, tacos, grilled meats, and other dishes. 
  • To create a delicious salsa sauce, it is necessary to combine a variety of ingredients, much like preparing any other type of sauce. Blending different ingredients and flavour.


  • Salsa as a Dance and Music Genre: In the context of dance and music, “salsa” is derived from the Spanish word for “sauce.” The term was first used in the 1960s and 1970s to describe a spicy and flavorful blend of various musical styles that came together to form a new and exciting genre. Just as salsa sauce combines different ingredients to create a rich flavor, salsa music combines various rhythms, melodies, and cultural influences to create its distinctive sound.
salsa as a dance
  • Salsa as a Verb: In Spanish, the verb “salsa” means “to sauce” or “to season with sauce.” It describes the action of adding salsa or sauce to food to enhance its flavor. So, when someone says they are “salsando” or “salsando la comida,” it means they are adding salsa or seasoning to their food.
  • Nowadays, it is also used to describe the action of going to dance Salsa. So when someone says ” I am going to salsa tonight”, they are referring of going out dancing . Wether to go salsa dancing socially or in a dance class environment.

What is the etymology of salsa?

The word “salsa” has its origins in the Spanish language. “Salsa” literally means “sauce” in Spanish. The term was first used to refer to a spicy sauce commonly used in Latin American cuisine, particularly in Mexico and the Caribbean. And then used everywhere in Spanish speaking countries. 

The etymology of salsa as a music and dance genre, known as “salsa music” or simply “salsa,” is a bit more complex. The music and dance style known as salsa emerged in the mid-20th century in the Caribbean, particularly in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Is salsa a latin dance?

Yes, Salsa is a Latin dance. It originated in the Caribbean, particularly in Cuba and Puerto Rico, and is closely associated with Latin American culture and latin and Spanish language. Salsa has been influenced by other Afro -Caribbean dances and music. Which also makes salsa an Afro-Caribbean dance as well.

salsa is a latin dance

How many different styles of latin dances can you dance?

There is 9 different styles of latin dances in the world. 

What are the different latin dances?

9 latin dance styles

There is 9 different styles of Latin Dances:

  • Salsa
  • Bachata
  • Kizomba
  • Merengue
  • Cha Cha Cha
  • Rumba
  • Samba
  • Mambo
  • Paso Doble

What defines salsa ?

Salsa is a lively and energetic dance style that is closely associated with salsa music. Here are some key characteristics that define salsa:

  • Salsa Music & Salsa Rhythm: Salsa is danced to a syncopated rhythm, typically in 4/4 time signature. The music is characterized by strong beats and infectious percussion, often featuring instruments like Clave,  congas, timbales, and bongos. Salsa dancers synchronize their movements to the rhythm and accentuate the beats with their steps.
  • Partner Dance: Salsa is primarily a partner dance. It involves two individuals, typically a lead and a follow, dancing together in sync. The lead initiates the movements and patterns, while the follow responds and complements the lead’s actions. The connection between partners is essential, with physical contact maintained through handholds, frame, and body contact.
  • Footwork and Patterns: Salsa incorporates intricate footwork patterns that involve quick steps, turns, and weight shifts. Dancers use a combination of basic steps and more complex patterns, including spins, cross-body leads, shines (solo footwork), and various turns. The footwork is often dynamic and involves rhythmic patterns that match the music. Expand your dance repertoire and learn Cuban salsa dance moves names from our cuban salsa moves list.
Gold Coast salsa shoes
  • Salsa Styling and Salsa Body Movements: Salsa allows for individual styling and expression. Dancers can incorporate body movements such as hip sways, shoulder shimmies, and body isolations to add flair and personal interpretation to their dancing. Styling can vary based on the dancer’s skill level, cultural background, and personal style.
  • Improvisation and Musicality: Salsa encourages improvisation and creativity. Skilled dancers interpret the music and incorporate musical accents and breaks into their movements. They respond to the changes in the music, varying their footwork, styling, and energy level to match the intensity and dynamics of the song.
  • Social Dance: Salsa is not limited to formal performances but is primarily a social dance. It is commonly danced in clubs, social gatherings, and salsa parties, where dancers come together to enjoy the music, connect with partners, and share their passion for salsa.
  • Cultural Dance: Salsa is a Cultural dance that present in many latin Countries such as Cuba, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Peru, Mexico.
  • Form of expression: Salsa is also a form of expression, communication and “forma de ser”, which mean in Spanish “way to be”. It represents individual, a form a being.
  • Salsa Dance wear:  Salsa dancers wear salsa dance shoes (also called salsa heels), usually a skirt, or legging for the female salsa dancer; and a jean and t-shirt for male salsa dancers.
alinta dancing shoes for women salsa

What are the characteristics of salsa music?

7 attributes to salsa music

Here are the 7 characteristics that define salsa music:

  • Salsa Rhythm: Salsa music has a driving rhythm that is typically played in a 4/4 time signature. It is characterized by syncopated patterns, with accents on the off-beats. The percussion section plays a crucial role, featuring instruments such as congas, bongos, timbales, cowbells, and clave. Salsa can be dance on 1 or dance on 2. The clave rhythm holds a crucial position as the foundation of salsa, influencing both the music and dance aspects. It serves as a governing force, guiding the rhythmic structure of salsa compositions. The most prevalent clave rhythm in salsa is the son clave, encompassing eight beats and offering two variations: the 2-3 or 3-2 style.
  • Afro-Cuban musical Influence: Salsa music has strong roots in Afro-Cuban musical traditions. It incorporates elements from genres such as son, mambo, guaracha, and rumba. The use of polyrhythms, call-and-response patterns, and complex percussion arrangements reflects the African and Cuban heritage of salsa.
  • Horn Section: Salsa music often includes a prominent horn section consisting of trumpets, trombones, and saxophones. The horns play melodic lines, riffs, and solos, adding a powerful and dynamic element to the music.
  • Melodies and Harmonies: Salsa melodies are typically catchy, melodic, and spirited. They are often performed by vocalists or played by the horn section. The harmonies in salsa music are often based on traditional Latin American chord progressions, incorporating elements of jazz and Afro-Cuban music.
  • Improvisation: Salsa music provides ample opportunities for improvisation. Musicians, especially those playing the horns or percussion instruments, often take turns improvising solos or adding embellishments to the existing melodies and rhythms. Improvisation allows for creativity and individual expression within the context of the ensemble.
Clave Cubana
  • Danceability: Salsa music is created with the intention of inspiring dance. Its energetic and infectious rhythms, coupled with the lively melodies, create a driving pulse that encourages movement and rhythmic expression. The music is designed to engage the listeners and dancers, inviting them to join in the celebration and joy of the dance floor.
  • Cultural Fusion: Salsa music is a product of cultural fusion and blending. It incorporates influences from various Latin American, African, and Caribbean traditions, as well as elements of jazz, soul, and funk. This fusion of musical styles and cultures gives salsa its distinct and vibrant sound.

What are the characteristics of salsa dance?

Salsa dance is an energetic and rhythmic partner dance that incorporates intricate footwork, spins, and complicated turns and patterns. It allows for both partner and solo dancing, showcasing body movements such as shimmies, body rolls, and expressive hip movements. Salsa dancers focus on timing and musicality, interpreting the music and adding their personal flair within the structured dance form. The dance can be performed “on 1” or “on 2,” referring to the timing of the steps in relation to the music.

What are the different names of salsa?

There is 17 different names that refers to salsa:

  • L.A. Salsa
  • Cuban Salsa
  • Portorican Salsa
  • Linear Salsa 
  • Salsa rueda
  • Salsa on 1
  • Salsa on 2
  • N.Y. Salsa
  • Salsa Linea
  • Rueda De Casino
  • Salsa Casino
  • Casino
  • Colombian salsa
  • Cali Salsa
  • Salsa Suelta
  • Salsa Shines
  • Salsa con rumba

Do you need a partner to dance salsa?

Salsa is mostly a partner dance. You do need a partner to dance. But you don’t have to bring a partner everywhere you go salsa dancing! Every dancer invite other dancers. Salsa is a social dance where you constantly meet new people and dancers of all styles and background. 

You can also dance salsa alone, or salsa solo. This is called Salsa suelta or salsa shines. Dancer dance on salsa music without a partner and do some solo steps timing the music.

How many style of salsa exists?

There is 4 different styles of salsa danced worldwide!

What are the different styles of salsa?

Here are the 4 different styles of salsa dance:

  • Salsa on 1 (also called L.A Salsa)
  • Salsa on 2 (also Called N.Y. Salsa)
  • Cuban Salsa (Also called Casino)
  • Colombian Salsa (also called cali Salsa)

What is LA Salsa?

LA salsa, also known as salsa on 1, refers to a style of salsa dance that originated in Los Angeles. It is also called salsa in line. It is characterized by dancing “on 1,” meaning that the steps are aligned with the first beat of the music. In Colombia, this style is often referred to as “salsa linea.” LA salsa incorporates intricate footwork, turns, and partner connections, emphasizing precision and musicality in its movements.

Where is LA salsa from?

LA salsa, also known as salsa on 1, is a style of salsa dance that originated in Los Angeles. While it developed in LA, it draws inspiration and has roots in the music and dance traditions of Puerto Rico. The vibrant Puerto Rican salsa music and dance culture greatly influenced the emergence and evolution of LA salsa.

What are LA salsa moves names?

There is 4 L.A Salsa Basics Steps:

  • Salsa basic on the spot
  • Salsa basic side to side
  • Salsa back basic
  • Salsa back basic (crossing) – often called cumbia basic Salsa basic front to back
4 basics salsa on 1 steps
salsa on 1 moves names

Other LA salsa moves names are:

  • Right turn
  • Left turn
  • Cross Body lead
  • Hesitation (also called Block or Check)
  • New York Walk
  • Change of Place (similar to enchufla in Cuban Salsa)

What is Salsa on 2?

Salsa on 2, also known as NY salsa, is a style of salsa dance where the steps are synchronized with the second beat of the music. This rhythmic approach, favored by mambo dancers, originated in New York. Salsa on 2 carries the influence of mambo dance, resulting in distinct footwork patterns and an emphasis on timing and musicality.

Where is salsa on 2 from?

Salsa on 2 comes from New York City, United States (U.S.A).

What are NY salsa Steps names?

There is a list of 10 fundamentals steps to know for New York Salsa dancers: 

1) Cross Body Lead with an inside turn and a half.  

2) Copa and Copa with a turn and a half.  The turn and a half is the same turn as the cross body lead.

3) Pencil Turn or Check Turn.

4) Half Moon with a turn and a half to basic.  Some salsa dancers call this The Titanic.

5) Reverse Cross Body Lead.

6) Reverse Cross Body Lead with two turns for the intermediate follower, and three turns for the advanced follower.

7) Double Turn in place.

8) Simultaneous Back Spot Turns in place.

9) Leaders Half Chase to Hand Drop.

10) Hand Drapes.

What is cali salsa?

Colombian salsa, also known as Cali salsa or salsa caleña, is a vibrant style of salsa dance that originates from Cali, Colombia. It is characterized by its fast footwork, intricate partnering, and energetic movements. Colombian salsa is known for its intricate footwork patterns, quick spins, and dynamic body isolations. The dance style reflects the lively and exuberant spirit of Cali, and it often incorporates elements of Afro-Colombian rhythms and movements. Colombian salsa showcases the cultural richness and passion of the region, making it a unique and captivating style within the salsa dance community.

Where is cali salsa from?

Cali Salsa originated in Cali, Colombia, South America. 

Is colombian salsa a latin dance?

Colombian salsa is a latin dance extremely present in South America and South American culture. 

What are cali salsa steps names?

There is 7 Cali Salsa bssic steps names to master and video associated:

  • Basic Step – Paso Basico Caleno
  • Punta Talon
  • Talones
  • Patineta
  • Clave con Punta
  • Clave Sencilla
  • Punta Garcia

What is the difference between cali salsa and Colombian salsa?

Cali Salsa and Colombian salsa uses the same principles. However, it is known that Cali salsa dancer footwork is faster and more complicated than the more relax Colombian Style of Salsa. Cali Salsa is often use for Salsa performances due to the impressive speed and explosive steps in dance.

What is Cuban Salsa?

Cuban salsa, also known as Casino, or Cuban-style Salsa  is a lively partner dance originating from Cuba. It embraces circular patterns, energetic footwork, and hip movements. Inspired by Afro-Cuban dance styles, it showcases the joyful spirit of Cuban music and culture. Cuban salsa is a dynamic and interactive Latin dance that fosters a strong connection between partners, making it a popular choice worldwide.

What are the origins of Cuban Salsa?

Cuban Salsa has its origins deeply rooted in the vibrant culture of Cuba. Cuban Salsa  evolved from a fusion of African and European music and dance traditions that were brought to the island during the colonial era.

The dance style took shape in the early 20th century, drawing influences from various Cuban music genres such as son (also called Son cubano or cuban son), rumba, and Afro-Cuban folklore. These music forms provided the rhythmic foundation and inspiration for the development of Cuban salsa.

Cuban salsa also incorporated elements from popular dance styles of the time, including the Cuban danzón and mambo. The social and cultural dynamics in Cuba, along with the influence of diverse communities, contributed to the evolution and unique character of Cuban salsa.

What is son cubano?

Son cubano is a captivating and influential music genre that originated in Cuba during the late 19th century. It emerged in the eastern provinces of Oriente and Guantanamo, where the fusion of African and Spanish musical traditions gave birth to this vibrant and rhythmic style.

The heartbeat of Cuban son (also called Son Cubano or Bailar son cubano) lies in its rhythmic complexity and infectious beats. It features lively and syncopated rhythms that invite listeners to move and dance. The percussive elements, such as the clave, maracas, bongos, and congas, provide the driving force behind the music, creating an irresistible groove that fills the air.

The vocals in son cubano are often performed in a call-and-response style, where the lead singer presents a melodic line and is echoed by a chorus or other vocalists. This creates a dynamic interplay and communal spirit, encouraging audience participation and adding depth to the storytelling.

The lyrics of son cubano reflect the everyday life experiences, emotions, and cultural heritage of the Cuban people. Themes of love, longing, social issues, and political commentary are often explored, conveying the depth and richness of the Cuban identity.

Today, son cubano remains an integral part of Cuban cultural heritage. It is cherished and celebrated in traditional music ensembles, as well as in contemporary interpretations by musicians around the globe. The spirit of son cubano continues to thrive, carrying with it the soul and essence of the Cuban people and serving as a testament to the rich musical legacy of the island.

What are the influences of son cubano?

Son cubano draws influences from 6 musical traditions and cultural elements. Its development and distinct characteristics can be attributed to the fusion of African and Spanish influences in Cuba. 

  1. African Rhythms: The rhythmic foundation of son cubano is deeply rooted in African percussion traditions brought to Cuba by enslaved Africans. The complex and syncopated rhythms, polyrhythms, and call-and-response patterns in son cubano reflect the influence of African musical styles, such as Yoruba, Congo, and Abakuá.

  2. Spanish Guitar and Harmonies: Spanish colonization introduced the guitar and European harmonies to Cuba. The melodious strumming patterns, chord progressions, and harmonies played on the Spanish guitar became an integral part of son cubano, blending with the African rhythmic elements to create a unique sound.

  3. Spanish Folk Music: Elements of Spanish folk music, such as melodies, dance forms, and song structures, have also influenced son cubano. The interplay between African and Spanish musical traditions contributed to the development of son cubano’s rhythmic complexity and melodic richness.

  4. Cuban Dance Forms: Son cubano is closely connected to Cuban dance forms like rumba and guaracha. The lively rhythms, percussion patterns, and call-and-response singing found in these traditional dances have influenced the musical style and performance of son cubano.

  5. Haitian and French Influences: The eastern region of Cuba, where son cubano originated, has historical connections with Haiti and French-influenced territories. The cultural exchanges between these regions contributed to the blending of musical elements and influenced the development of son cubano.

  6. Local Traditions and Afro-Cuban Religions: Son cubano reflects the cultural traditions and practices of local communities in Cuba. Elements of Afro-Cuban religions, such as Santería and Palo, have influenced the rhythmic patterns, lyrical themes, and spiritual aspects of son cubano music.

These influences, along with the creativity and contributions of individual musicians, led to the formation of son cubano as a distinctive and influential music genre in Cuba. It is a testament to the cultural diversity and rich heritage of the island.

Differences between Son Cubano vs salsa here.

What is afro-caribbean rumba?

Afro Caribbean Rumba is a dance that involves expressive body movements, intricate footwork, and improvisation. Rumba dancers interact with each other and with the musicians, creating a lively and dynamic atmosphere.

Afro-Caribbean rumba encompasses various sub-styles, including Yambú, Guaguancó, and Columbia, each with its own characteristics and dance movements. These styles evolved from the cultural practices of enslaved Africans and their descendants in Cuba.

Rumba dance involves expressive body movements, intricate footwork, and improvisation. Rumba dancers interact with each other and with the musicians, creating a lively and dynamic atmosphere.

Check our Rumba Shoes Here

What are the Orishas?

The Orishas are deities or spirits in the Afro-Cuban and Afro-Caribbean religious practices of Santería, Candomblé, and other related traditions. They represent different aspects of nature, human characteristics, and spiritual forces. Each Orisha possesses distinct qualities, personalities, and responsibilities.

In the Yoruba religion from West Africa, from which many of these traditions originated, the Orishas are considered intermediaries between humans and the supreme deity, Olodumare. Through rituals, offerings, and devotion, practitioners seek their guidance, blessings, and protection.

orishas definitions in cuban religion

There is 7  prominent Orishas:

  1. Eleguá (Eleggua, Elegbara): The guardian of crossroads and the opener of doors. Eleguá is associated with opportunities, choices, and communication.

  2. Obatalá: The creator and father figure of the Orishas. Obatalá represents wisdom, purity, and justice.

  3. Yemayá (Yemoja): The mother goddess of the seas and oceans. Yemayá symbolizes nurturing, motherhood, and fertility.

  4. Shangó (Changó): The god of thunder, lightning, and fire. Shangó is associated with power, passion, and justice.

  5. Oshún (Ochún): The goddess of love, beauty, and freshwaters. Oshún represents sensuality, femininity, and wealth.

  6. Oya (Yansa): The goddess of winds, storms, and transformation. Oya embodies change, power, and protection.

  7. Ogun: The god of iron, warfare, and technology. Ogun symbolizes strength, courage, and innovation.

Is cuban salsa a cultural dance?

Yes,Cuban Salsa is a Cultural Dance. It is a way for Cubans to express their identity, celebrate their heritage, and preserve their cultural legacy. It holds a significant place in Cuban society, with dance clubs, social gatherings, and festivals dedicated to showcasing and promoting this cultural dance form.

What are the common names of Cuban Salsa Dance?

The dance style commonly known to designate Cuban Salsa encompasses various names that reflect its Cuban origins and cultural significance. Here are some of the common names used to refer to Cuban Salsa:

  1. Casino: Casino is the most widely used term to describe Cuban Salsa. It refers to the dance style that originated in Cuba and is characterized by its lively and playful movements.

  2. Cuban Salsa: Cuban Salsa is a direct translation of “Salsa Cubana” in English. It emphasizes the Cuban origins of the dance and its association with the broader salsa music and dance genre.

  3. Salsa Cubaine: Salsa Cubaine is the French term for Cuban Salsa. It recognizes the Cuban influence on salsa music and dance, highlighting its specific style and cultural roots.

  4. Salsa Cubana: Salsa Cubana is the Spanish term for Cuban Salsa. It is widely used in Spanish-speaking regions to refer to the dance style and distinguish it from other salsa variations.

  5. Bailando Casino: Bailando Casino means “dancing casino” in Spanish. The term “casino” is often used interchangeably with Cuban Salsa, emphasizing the lively and social nature of the dance.

  6. Casino Cubano: Casino Cubano refers specifically to the Cuban style of dancing casino, highlighting its Cuban identity and distinguishing it from other regional interpretations of salsa.

  7. Baile Cubano: Baile Cubano translates to “Cuban dance” in Spanish. It is a broad term that encompasses various Cuban dance styles, including Cuban Salsa, and reflects the cultural richness of Cuban dance traditions.

How do you call cuban salsa dancers?

Cuban Salsa dancers are called Casineros for the males, and Casineras for the females in Cuba. We also called them salsa dancers without referring to which style of dance they dance. In spanish we would say salseros (for the males) and salseras (for the females).

Is salsa a ballroom Dance?

No, salsa is not traditionally considered a ballroom dance, but insttead as a street dance. Ballroom dance refers to a set of partner dances that are typically performed in a formal setting, adhering to specific techniques and standardized figures. Salsa, on the other hand, originated as a social dance in Latin American and Caribbean communities, characterized by its energetic and improvisational nature.

Now, it is important to note that there is some in some ballroom dance schools, teachers teach L.A salsa and use that as a more ballroom approach due to the general frame of the dancers required in LA salsa.

How do you move in cuban salsa?

Using your full body. The leaders lead his partner around the dance floor using his arms and chest to give the directions and create some figures and dance patterns. Shoulders and body movements are often used while dancing by both leaders and followers to express themselves and enjoy the music.  

Can I watch an example of Cuban salsa dancing?

What are the basics moves in Cuba Salsa ?

Here are 18 most common Cuban salsa steps names:

  • Paso Basico
  • Dame
  • Dile Que no
  • Dile Que si
  • Sententa
  • Enchufla
  • Dame Con uno
  • Dame Con dos
  • Dame Dos
  • Setenta complicada
  • Dame con la hermana
  • La prima
  • La familia
  • Caminala
  • Al centro
  • un fly
  • Al medio
  • Enchufla Centro 

How many moves are there in Cuban Salsa?

There is more than 300 different moves names for Cuban Salsa dance. In fact, each dancers tend too name their own steps and creation in their own way. However, we estimate that there is at least 300 basics cuban salsa steps that are recognised worldwide. Each steps have at least one variation (such as Enchufla, enchufla doble, enchufla con rumba etc), making the count of cuban salsa moves very high!

Can you provide a full cuban salsa moves list?

Check here for our full list of Cuban Salsa moves names and the video associated to practice and dance salsa !

Why is there salsa moves names?

Salsa moves have names to provide a common language and reference point for dancers. These names help instructors and dancers communicate and teach specific patterns, sequences, and techniques effectively. They facilitate learning, choreography, and the sharing of dance knowledge within the salsa community.

Who invented this cuban salsa moves list name?

The specific individuals or group of individuals who initially invented and popularized the names for Cuban Salsa moves are not attributed to a single source. The development and naming of moves in Cuban Salsa have evolved over time through the collective contributions of dancers, instructors, and choreographers within the salsa community. As the dance form spread and gained popularity, dancers began to identify and label specific patterns and sequences, gradually establishing a common vocabulary of names for different moves. This process of naming moves has been a collaborative effort shaped by the creativity and innovation of countless dancers and instructors throughout the history of Cuban Salsa.

How do you move in salsa on 1?

In Salsa on 1 you want to dance in line. Dancers have straight legs helping them spins better and faster. Dancers also keep their frame and tensions, helping leader to lead and follower to feel the lead. 

How do you move in salsa on 2?

You move the same way as for salsa on 1. The only difference is the beat you are starting dancing (in salsa on 2, you want to start on the beat 2 out of 8).

How long does it take to learn salsa?

It takes approximately 2 years to learn salsa. That includes learning salsa in a salsa dance school (or latin dance school) twice a week, 1 hour each salsa class  and attending a social dance event once every month. That involves around 5 hours of salsa dance practices per week for 2 years or a total of 260 hours a year. When reaching two years, you will be able to dance salsa very well. You can also take private salsa dance lessons to accelerate your salsa learning journey.

How long does a salsa lesson last?

Most dance school would have a salsa class that last for 1 hour or 60 minutes. Each class is usually structured as follow:

  • 5 minutes for the Introduction
  • 5 minutes warm up
  • 35 minutes learning a step
  • 15 minutes Salsa dance practice (social dancing to practice the salsa step you just learned)

Sometimes, school limit the class to a 45 minutes.

Do i need Salsa lessons?

Salsa lessons are highly recommended for learning salsa dancing effectively. Instructors provide guidance, feedback, and structured progression, helping you build a strong foundation and develop essential skills. Lessons also offer opportunities for partner practice and socialization within the salsa community. While not mandatory, lessons greatly enhance your learning experience and overall progress in salsa.

Is Salsa a popular dance?

Yes, salsa is a highly popular dance worldwide.It is enjoyed by billions of people in various countries around the globe and present 17 health dance benefits.

There is more than 350 salsa festivals, social dance events, and competitions every year in Europe only!

How do you dance salsa with music?

To dance salsa with music:

  1. Listen to the beat and feel the rhythm.
  2. Sync your steps and movements with the music’s timing.
  3. Connect with the instruments and let their sounds influence your dance.
  4. Match the energy of the music with your movements.
  5. Express yourself and interpret the music through your body and styling.
  6. Maintain a strong partner connection and dance together with the music.

How to dance salsa with music

What is timba music?

Timba is a genre of music that originated in Cuba in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It is a fusion of various Afro-Cuban and Caribbean rhythms, including salsa, son montuno, rumba, funk, and jazz. Timba is known for its energetic and complex rhythms, rich harmonies, and vibrant arrangements. It features a strong emphasis on percussion, horns, piano, and vocal improvisation. Timba music is highly danceable and often accompanies Cuban social dances such as casino and rueda de casino

Where can i learn salsa?

There are 5 places where you can learn salsa depending on your location and personal preferences. Here are some common options:

  1. Dance Schools/Dance Studios: Look for local dance schools or studios that offer salsa classes. These establishments often have experienced instructors who teach salsa at various skill levels, from beginner to advanced. They may offer group classes or private lessons.

  2. Community Centers: Many community centers, recreational facilities, or adult education programs offer salsa classes as part of their dance curriculum. These classes are often affordable and cater to beginners or those looking for a casual learning experience.

  3. Salsa Festivals and Workshops: Salsa festivals and workshops are events where you can learn from renowned instructors and dancers from around the world. These events usually span several days and offer a variety of workshops, performances, and social dancing opportunities.

  4. Online Resources: If you prefer self-paced learning or have limited access to local classes, there are online platforms and video tutorials that provide salsa lessons. You can find instructional videos, online courses, or even virtual classes taught by professional dancers.

  5. Social Dance Events: Attending social dance events, such as salsa nights or parties, can provide opportunities to learn from experienced dancers in a more informal setting. You can observe and learn from others, participate in mini-lessons or workshops offered at the event, and practice your skills on the dance floor.

How do you dance salsa alone?

Dancing salsa alone, also known as solo salsa or shines, is a great way to practice and develop your individual dancing skills. Here are some tips on how to dance salsa alone:

  1. Footwork and Styling: Focus on your footwork and styling. Practice basic salsa steps, variations, and combinations on your own. Experiment with different patterns, turns, and body movements to add flair to your dance.

  2. Body Movement and Isolations: Work on your body movement and isolations to add dynamics and expressiveness to your dancing. Practice hip movements, shoulder shimmies, chest pops, and arm styling. Pay attention to your posture and fluidity of movement.

  3. Musicality and Timing: Dance with attention to the music. Feel the rhythm, accents, and breaks in the salsa music. Use the music as a guide for your movements and adapt your steps and styling to match the musicality.

  4. Choreography or Routines: Learn and practice solo salsa choreographies or routines. You can find instructional videos or join online classes specifically designed for solo salsa dancing. These routines can help you develop coordination, technique, and performance skills.

  5. Mirror Practice: Use a mirror to observe and correct your technique, posture, and styling. It allows you to see your movements from different angles and make adjustments as needed.

  6. Improvisation: Practice improvisation by freestyling to salsa music. Let your body respond to the music and explore different movements spontaneously. This helps you develop creativity, musicality, and adaptability on the dance floor.

  7. Attend Solo Salsa Classes or Workshops: Look for solo salsa classes or workshops in your area or online. These specialized classes focus on solo footwork, styling, and shines, providing structured guidance and choreography to improve your solo dancing skills.

Where can i find salsa dance classes in Australia?

There is 4 main Salsa dance school in Australia:

  • Sydney: Latin Dance Australia
  • Melbourne: The salsa fundation
  • Gold Coast: Dance Classes Gold Coast
  • Brisbane: Paradox Dance Studio

What do you bring to your first salsa dance lesson?

For your first salsa lesson, here are 5 essential items to bring:

  1. Comfortable Clothing: Wear comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely. Opt for breathable fabrics that won’t restrict your movement.

  2. Appropriate Salsa Footwear: Choose dance shoes that are suitable for dancing. Ideally, wear salsa or Latin dance shoes with smooth soles that allow for pivoting and sliding. If you don’t have dance shoes, wear comfortable shoes with non-grippy soles that won’t stick to the floor.

  3. Water Bottle: Stay hydrated during your lesson by bringing a water bottle to quench your thirst and keep you energized.

  4. Towel or Extra Shirt: Dancing can make you work up a sweat, so it’s a good idea to bring a towel or an extra shirt to freshen up during breaks.

  5. Positive Attitude: Come with an open mind, a positive attitude, and a willingness to learn and have fun. Embrace the joy of dancing and be ready to meet new people and enjoy the experience.

What to prepare for your first salsa dance lesson?

What are the best salsa dance shoes for beginners?

For beginners salsa dancers, the best style of shoes are 7cm flared heels salsa shoes or a 5cm cuban heel salsa dance shoes.

Read more about the best salsa dance shoes for beginners guide, what is the Best Heels for dancers [Guide], as well as the different types of womens heels shoes (ankle strap Heel, Tbar heel and more)


What Shoes to wear while practicing my salsa dancing moves?

When practicing your salsa dance moves, it is important to wear salsa shoes that provide comfort, support, and allow for ease of movement. Here are some options to consider:

  • Salsa Dance Shoes: Investing in a pair of salsa dance shoes can greatly enhance your practice sessions. Salsa shoes are specifically designed for Latin dance styles, with flexible soles that allow for smooth turns and pivots. This Latin Dance Shoes  often have a small heel for better posture and balance. Look for shoes that fit well and provide adequate arch and ankle support.
  • Dance Sneakers: Dance sneakers are another popular choice for salsa practice. These shoes offer a combination of comfort and flexibility, with cushioning and support similar to athletic sneakers. Salsa Dance sneakers typically have split soles or spin spots on the outsole, making it easier to glide and turn on the dance floor.

What to consider when buying salsa footwear?

There is 8 points to consider when buying salsa footwear:

1- Style of Dance (ballroom, latin, heels classes).Ballroom dance usually requires lower heels for stability. While Heels classes requires high heels to look sexy on the dance floor.

2- Your dance level. If you are a beginner, stick to a lower heel height and a cuban heel or flared heel shape. Avoid Stiletto heels if you are just starting, it will make your learning journey harder!

3- Comfort: Salsa dancing involves a lot of footwork and movement, so prioritize comfort. Look for shoes with cushioned insoles, adequate arch support, and breathable materials to keep your feet comfortable throughout the dance.

4- Fit: Proper fit is crucial for salsa footwear. Your shoes should provide a snug yet comfortable fit, with enough room for your toes to move freely. Avoid shoes that are too tight or too loose, as they can hinder your movements and cause discomfort.

5- Style and Design: Salsa is a vibrant and energetic dance, so consider shoes that match the style and spirit of salsa. Look for stylish designs that complement your dance attire and make you feel confident on the dance floor.

6- Sole Type: Salsa shoes typically have smooth leather or suede soles that allow for easy pivoting and gliding on the dance floor. Choose a sole type that suits your dance style and the type of floor you’ll be dancing on. Suede sole can only be worn indoor. While rubber sole can be worn indoor and outdoor! Can Dance Shoes Be Worn Outside?

7- Heel Height: Salsa shoes often come with different heel heights, ranging from flat to high heels. The ideal heel height depends on your comfort level and dancing experience. Beginners may prefer lower heels for stability, while more advanced dancers may opt for higher heels to enhance their footwork and styling. 7cm flared heels is the best heels height and shape for beginners that are confident walking in heels for everyday tasks.

8- Quality and Durability: Invest in well-made salsa shoes that are built to withstand the demands of dancing. Look for durable materials and sturdy construction to ensure your shoes last through many dance sessions.

What are the most comfortable salsa dance shoes?

Our 7cm Flared Heels Belinda are the best salsa dance dance shoes for beginners to advanced dancers. Wether you practice salsa occasionally 2 hours a week or dance more than 5 hours a week, this dance shoes will bring you support, comfort and wellness!

Click here to understand how to stretch dance shoes.

What recommendation do you have when buying Salsa shoes for beginners?

  • Always choose the most friendly and reactive customer service brand for your dance shoes.
  • Look at the feedbacks and reviews online about the dancing shoes, brand and also serrvice.Always measure your foot. Each dance shoes shop and suppliers have their own standard and sizing system. Check our sizing guide here and Help to find the perfect Latin Dance Shoes Size Guide

Where can I buy salsa dance boots?

lace up heels

Latin dance Shoes Australia deliver salsa dance shoes and salsa dance boots everywhere in the world. Order online your salsa dancing boots and receive it in 2 weeks ! All our salsa boots and salsa shoes can be customised at no extra costs!

Check our dance boots selection.

What are the popular dance styles in Cuba?

There is currently 11 most popular dances in Cuba: 

  1. Salsa – Casino – Cuban Salsa – Salsa Cubana

  2. Son – Cuban Son – Son Cubano – Son Montuno, Son Tradicional – Son Cubain

  3. Rumba – Rumba Cubana – Cuban Rumba – Aro Caribbean Rumba – Rumba Guaguanco

  4. Cha-cha-cha –  Chachacha – Cha-cha – Cha Cha Cha

  5. Danzón

  6. Reggaeton 
  7. Merengue
  8. Afro-Cuban dances. These include dances like Yoruba Orisha dances, Palo, Abakuá, and Arará. 

  9. Rueda de Casino  – Salsa Rueda – Rueda de Salsa
  10. Kizomba 
  11. Bachata

What is regueaton

Reggaeton is a popular music genre that originated in Puerto Rico in the late 1990s. It blends elements of reggae, hip hop, and Latin American music styles such as salsa, merengue, and bachata. Reggaeton is characterized by its catchy beats, repetitive rhythms, and lyrics often focused on partying, love, and urban lifestyles. It has gained significant popularity worldwide, becoming a prominent genre in Latin music and influencing the global music scene.

What is merengue?

Merengue is a lively and rhythmic dance and music genre that originated in the Dominican Republic. It is characterized by its fast-paced tempo, upbeat melodies, and prominent use of the güira (a metal scraper) and accordion. Merengue is known for its energetic and infectious rhythm that encourages dancers to move their hips and feet in a syncopated fashion. The dance involves a combination of quick footwork, hip movements, and partner interaction, often incorporating turns and spins. Merengue has become popular not only in the Dominican Republic but also throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, as well as in various international dance communities. Prepare yourself with our Latin Shoes

Does merengue dance use salsa steps?

Merengue use a lot of salsa figuras / Figures and pattern that are coming from Salsa dance. However, the footwork between salsa steps and merengue is differrent. Merengue steps are one beat one step. While Salsa uses a 4/4 pattern.

What is Bachata?

Bachata is a captivating latin dance and music style that emerged in the Dominican Republic. With its roots in the rural areas, bachata has evolved into a widely celebrated and internationally recognized genre. The music is characterized by its heartfelt lyrics, soulful vocals, and melodic guitar rhythms. It often explores themes of love, heartbreak, and romance, creating a deeply emotional atmosphere.

When it comes to bachata dance, it is renowned for its sensuality and intimate connection between partners. Dancers engage in smooth footwork, incorporating side-to-side movements, taps, and syncopated rhythms using comfortable Bachata dance shoes. The dance embraces close proximity, allowing partners to express their emotions through subtle body movements, sensual hip motions, and intricate partner work. Bachata invites dancers to connect on an emotional and physical level, creating a captivating and passionate experience on the dance floor.

Bachata’s popularity has spread globally, with communities of dancers and enthusiasts embracing the style in social gatherings, dance clubs, and competitions. It continues to evolve, fusing elements from other Latin dances and incorporating new styles and techniques. Whether you’re captivated by the heartfelt music or mesmerized by the sensual dance, bachata offers an enchanting experience that celebrates the beauty of connection and expression.

What is Kizomba?

Kizomba is a popular partner dance and music style that originated in Angola and gained international recognition in all latin dance festivals, including salsa dance festivals. It combines elements of traditional Angolan semba music with zouk, a Caribbean dance style. Kizomba is known for its smooth and sensual movements, characterized by a close connection between partners. The dance involves subtle hip movements, intricate footwork, and fluid body isolations. The music features melodic beats, soulful vocals, and lyrics often expressing themes of love and longing. Kizomba has captivated dance enthusiasts worldwide, with dedicated communities, festivals, and workshops showcasing the beauty and passion of this enchanting dance form and dancers usually purchase colourful african dance shoes and Kizomba Dancing Shoes.

What is Cha Cha Cha

Cha-cha-cha is a lively and rhythmic dance and music style that originated in Cuba and that influenced salsa dance and music. It combines elements of mambo, danzón, and other Cuban dance styles. The dance is characterized by its syncopated footwork, playful hip movements, and energetic music. Cha-cha-cha dancers perform quick triple steps, chasses, and swaying motions, often incorporating Cuban motion and hip isolations. The music features catchy melodies, infectious rhythms, and the distinctive sound of the cowbell. Cha-cha-cha is a popular social dance and competition style, enjoyed by dancers worldwide for its fun, lively, and flirtatious nature, making it a favorite on dance floors everywhere. To avoid injuries and improve their dance skills, cha cha dancers buy and wear the best Cha Cha Dance Shoes.

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