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....
For all of the guys out there wondering what goes through the minds of salseras (or women in general), I sat down with some fellow lady dancers and discussed behaviors that guys should avoid at the club. In any dance culture, there is a certain unspoken etiquette. For those who are new to salsa dancing, these tips may come in handy so that you don't give the wrong vibe.
1. We don't endorse the use of force.
Ask the lady to dance with you, don't tell her she is going to dance with you. Grabbing her wrist and urging, "Come on. Just one song" does not fly. If she declines, the best reaction is to acknowledge her choice and walk away. No verbal persuasion, cajoling or physical dragging should be utilized - especially when her boyfriend is around. If she gives the bathroom excuse, do not wait for her outside the bathroom- that is just plain creepy.
2. Ask her twice, she'll turn to ice.
You can ask twice in one night, but not one right after the other. When a song has ended, it is best not to ask her to dance right away. Even if you both seemed to have fun, give it some time and leave her wanting more... that is much better than risking her wanting to push you away.
3. Yakkity Yak? We won't come back.
Leave the chatting to Cathy! Keep talking to a minimum- exchanging names and where you are from at the beginning of the song is fine, but what the ladies don't like is when guys sacrifice the dance itself, and end up doing basic step the whole song while chatting. This comes across as hitting on us....
Since we have had several requests lately for instruction on dips, I though I would provide some female perspective. I asked some fellow salseras, and this is what I found.
Our favorite kind of dip is a small one at the end of a song. By small, I mean the guys bring us into dipping position and we lean back slightly, but it looks more like a perpendicular hug, as seen in the picture to the left. This is an elegant ending to a nice dance.
Our least favorite kind of dip ...........