Salsa tips for ALL

By October 20, 2014 No Comments

by Jeroen Warmenbol

„Remembering to smile and enjoying the dance is much more important than being able to follow/lead a Cross Body Double Turn with hammerlock and triple spin…“

Both MEN and WOMEN

Learn what kind of a dancer you are, throw everything on a pile and develop your own dance style which makes you happy.

Dance like no one is watching. Do not be ashamed.

Don’t be shy, ask others to dance.

Just have fun, enjoy every moment on the dance floor!

Always keep learning, always develop yourself. If you think you are there, think again… you are not! Keep improving. Practice makes perfect!

Let no one tell you that you are a bad dancer. There is no such thing as a bad dancer. Everybody has to learn, Salsa is for everybody and you can interpret it in your own way.

Try not think that you are better than everyone else, looking down on others. Try not to dance with the attitude and belief that you are the greatest dancer on earth.

You are dancing with each other, not with the people around you. So please look at each other (and do not start searching for the next dance partner before you finish your own dance).

Learn to dance Salsa with passion; it’s not just about moves!

Respect all Salsa styles.

Listen to Salsa music at home/work, watch videos online and make the music part of you.

Think about personal hygiene, shower and wear anti-perspirant, keep a towel on you if you sweat heavily and take a change of shirt/dress.

Part of the enjoyment is the learning process. Give yourself time and do not be too hard on yourself.

Practice what you’ve learned in class by dancing socially after the classes.

Dance with someone you think is out of your league. It will really improve your level, even if it’s scary at the time!

It’s a dance that provides a shared experience, so keep focusing on your partner, not just yourself! Think about your partner, it is how your dancing makes your partner feel that is important: how you follow/lead, a smile on your face, the ability to interpret the music.

Keep practicing! Knowing your footwork, timing and rhythm back to front will provide the most enjoyable dance for you and your partner.

Stay inspired, try to always find someone who inspires you.

Show that you are enjoying the dance so don’t forget to smile!

Flow with the music. (Rhythm, Timing, Breaks and Accents in the music)

On a small dance floor or just in a crowded venue, take small steps (to avoid stomping on or being stomped on). This can also be applied when dancing on a fast song. It’s much easier to step faster if you’re not stepping as far!

There is no right or wrong style, find what’s comfortable for you.

If you are not comfortable dancing with a particular person feel free to politely say no if they ask you.

Remember everyone was a beginner once, dance with at least 2 beginners at every social dance you go to. (regardless of your level)

Thank your dance partner after the dance.

Do not try to imitate someone you admire. Instead take those movements and make them yours, give them your own personality.

Beginners: don’t be intimidated after lessons and stay to practice. You learn a lot more when actually try out/practice the moves after the lessons.

(Don’t be afraid to) Ask more experienced dancers for a dance.


Always try to look out for the woman you are dancing with (protect her from less courteous dancers)

Do not leave your dance partner behind on the dance floor (during or at the end of a song).

Learn to lead your dance partner properly, if she is “all over the place” remember you are leading!

If you are dancing with a beginner, try to make her comfortable. It will make her happy when she realizes she is able to follow your lead.

Adapt to the dance level of your dance partner.

Dance together with your partner and turn the experience into a playful game. If you don’t want to give the lady any attention then you can better dance alone at home in front of a mirror.

Don’t worry too much about combinations. Just keep a nice flow going and you are much more likely to have a great dance.

Sometimes less is more. When it comes to signaling a move to your dance partner, being gentle and clear will always be better than hard and ‘sloppy’. When you make a harsh signal to the follower, you will only encounter ‘opposition’. The follower will harden her arm as well and react with a movement that lacks control/precision. Just concentrate on signaling at the right moment, make the movement intuitive and the follower will follow gracefully.

Embrace your mistakes. Learn from them, but play them off when you make them. Act like you meant to do them and half the time, no one else can tell the difference. Heck, sometimes your mistakes will lead to new moves. “It’s not a mistake, it’s a variation.”


Let the men lead you. Do not be stubborn, just relax. The men have to learn how to lead, so please give them a chance.

Do not tell your dancing/Salsa level (i.e. do not tell them you’re a beginner). The leader should adapt himself to you.

Do not anticipate what’s about to happen next/what move the lead will do, just follow.

Let your dancing partner and the Salsa music be your guide.

If the guy is being rough, dangerous or sleazy with you walk off the dance floor, if he asks why, tell him!

Styling is there so you can look good but it is important to use styling to help the flow of the dance, not hinder it. Do not style simply because you can, wait for the right moment.

Keep your head up when you are dancing, don’t look at your feet.

Always have an upright back posture. If you slouch you loose elegance, style and core.

Stop dragging your feet, ladies! Some women tend to step with the whole foot on the floor while dancing, which might provide them with some security, but they lose tons of momentum and agility. Feet must always be “ready-to-go” so that they can move from step to step without any drag or delay. Try to keep your weight and contact with the floor just with the forward region of the foot and you will find yourself much more agile. (Step using the ball of your foot)

Follow before you style. Most guys, if forced to choose between a Salsera who can follow well but doesn’t style and a Salsera who can style her butt off but can’t follow, will choose the former over the latter.

If you want to dance, go and ask the guy.

This document is owned and compiled by Warmenbol Jeroen (and further edited by Stellan Jara).

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