1) Dance to the music tempo
By definition, dancing is moving your body to the music tempo. When dancing salsa with a partner, you are connecting to the other person through the music. If this connection does not exist, then the beauty of dancing is lost completely. It might take some time to understand Salsa music and to feel it and connect to the steps. This requires a lot of listening and practicing. When learning new steps and spins, you get more “material” to express yourself and respond to the music. However, one common mistake when learning to dance is giving more importance to the number of steps and figures one knows than dancing to the music. Knowing many steps does not mean knowing to dance. So, listen and practice the count with a lot of music music Music!
2) Guys lead, girls follow
When dancing in couples the man leads and the lady follows. This is key for dancing salsa. At the beginning, both guys and girls are learning steps and routines and it is common that the girls do the steps alone, not paying attention to the guys signals. The girls should concentrate and try to understand the guys signals and respond to them. This is also very important for the guys to detect if their leading is ok or if they need to work more on it. Being a good leader and being a good follower will allow you to dance with different people and connect while dancing, having a much more pleasant dancing experience. After all, that is why it is a couple dance. A good exercise for girls is to dance an easy song with very easy spins with the eyes closed and not knowing which spins the guy will make. This will help the guy to be clearer with the signals and the girls more aware of the body communication. Simple physics: action and reaction. Dancing with different people is also key in being a good leader and a good follower.
3) Keep a “correct” hand and arm tension
Even when the guy should be clear with the signals, it still needs to be gentle. Clear in this case is very far away from brutal or aggressive. It requires practice to get the right tension in your hand. Once I heard a good analogy: it is like when holding soap, it will slip away if you grab it too hard or if you grab it too softly. When spinning the ladies, the guys should know when to open, close or change the grab of the hands, avoiding harming the girls fingers or even their arm. The ladies, on the other hand, should never press the guys hand with all the five fingers. In doing so, you will remove his freedom for spinning, changing to different steps and it will break the flow that the dance should have. The hand tension and grab are of crucial importance when the spins get more complicated and the speed of the music increases, so do not underestimate this.
4) Protect the girls
After the spins get more complicated, and the dance floors more crowded, it is very important for the guy to make sure he is not exposing the girl to potential crashes with other couples. The guy should always be aware of the surroundings and make sure that the lady is always safe.
5) Work on your Styling
Once you get more comfortable with the music, you can put some style to your dance. Sometimes it is most enjoyable doing a very simple step with style than a complicated one with no feeling. Doing a lot of free steps, dancing in the mirror, watching videos or just going social dancing will trigger your creativity and inspiration to give your own style while dancing. Keep in mind that styling does not mean exaggerating the moves or using excessive arms, but keeping true control of your body and responding to the music or your partner when it is appropriate.
6) React to the “Descarga”
“Descarga” is the Spanish name when in a song there is an “explosion” of the instruments and you see a clear change in the music. During this time, you usually can let the girl free so you and she can enjoy the music with some free steps. You can then again take your partner and keep dancing in couples.
7) Never leave a person in the middle of a song
If you accept or ask a person to dance a song, you should always finish the song. It is perceived as quite rude if you just leave your partner dancing alone before the song is finished. Please never do this!
8) Be extra careful with hygiene
When we dance we get close to our partner and thus it is important to be extra careful with hygiene. Make sure you have clean clothes, use deodorant and check your breath! Not much more to be said here :), we all would like to dance feeling very comfortable with our partner.
Of course at the beginning it is challenging learning to dance, but very soon you will understand how fun it can be! So, have fun!!!!