Perhaps the most difficult part of learning to dance for ladies is achieving steady balance. Like most skills, balance takes time and practice to achieve, but here are some ways to speed up the process.
Touch up your timing
Once you have a solid understanding of salsa timing, and begin to memorize which foot corresponds with which beat, you will become much more steady on the dance floor. If we have a poor understanding of timing, then we compensate as we follow by pausing or shuffling steps, which brings us off balance.
Focus on footwork
You can improve timing and balance by practicing footwork on your own (plus it's a great work out). With a nice slow song, concentrate on marking your footwork with the beats in the music. Footwork also forces us to maintain our own balance, without a lead for support.
Perfect your posture
Back straight (slightly arched), shoulders back, core (abs) engaged. By keeping your upper half stable, it won't throw of your center of balance. To help with multiple spins in particular, do lots of sit-ups! Aim for doing 50 sit-ups right before going out dancing. It works wonders!
Don't lock your legs
By keeping your knees slightly bent, your center of gravity is brought closer to the ground. This allows your muscles to work more effectively to prevent losing balance (for example, in an unexpected move from the lead). Bent legs can absorb much more impact, helping you recover from a move that would potentially throw you off balance.
Hold off the heels
Staying on the balls of your feet allows you to center your weight over a more specific spot, plus it keeps your muscles engaged in the "ready for the next move" position. Another benefit of bending knees and staying on the ball of your foot is a greater range of movement, so hips in particular will be much more fluid and noticeable.
Don't lean on the lead
We never want to rely on the lead for balance, for three reasons. 1) It prevents us from establishing our own balance long term, 2) all leads are different in the amount of strength/support they will give you, and 3) leads don't like it when we hang or depend too much on them (it throws off their balance too). Your goal should be to support yourself even if the lead lets go for whatever reason (this is especially true in dips!!!).
Practice with Pilates
Practicing Pilates or Yoga will teach you better balance while strengthening your core so that your body can support itself in different positions. Plus, it's great exercise and makes you feel healthy and fit!
Balance takes time to achieve for several reasons-- as you become more advanced, you are better able to predict the combinations, your muscle memory improves, and you develop stabilizer muscles. Practice whenever you can on your own, and everything will fall into place. For further discussion, use the Community feature to share stories and get advice from others.