I first saw this graph from when I used to read articles from Eddie The Salsa Freak (salsaweb.com). I think this graph is an accurate representation of what leads (men) and ladies (follows) tend to generally follow in terms of learning salsa dancing for the first time.
This usually explains the disconnect when a couple starts learning how to dance - and why some girlfriends get frustrated with their boyfriends because they are not learning 'fast enough' compared to other men. I've had experience in those situations, which of course, is when I step in and give my speech on how we all start the same way. We all go through what I like to call 'Salsa Hell' - which in this graph is labeled 'Beginner's Hell'. (You might want to check out why leading is harder than following article about your brain and salsa.
Think back and wonder if there was a point in your learning when all of a sudden everything becomes clear, and you (amazingly) start learning patterns faster and begin to listen/feel the music in a totally different fashion. I think the yellow marker for beginners is usually the point when they can hear the beat in the music like a perfect played note in a quiet room. Once they pass that obstacle, their feet movements are removed from their mind and can focus on patterns (which are mainly hand positions).
I wonder how many of you might agree (or disagree) that you have followed this graph when you were learning salsa? I look forward to your comments.