Salsa Tip #67 : Get a full length mirror for body movements

I get asked a lot on how to become good with body movements. Now, I'm not close to the Cobo Body Movement, but I can tell you what I used to train my body isolations and perfecting the look. Its really simple - just a mirror.The key is to practice, practice and practice. (How many times have you heard me say that?). Get a nice full-length mirror from Target or Walmart (I think I paid like $10 for it). Then, what you do is just stand in front of the mirror and do your basic step - and see how it looks. Then once you got that down (and it looks good to you), try adding some footwork - and perfect how it looks. After you have those two things down, now add some body movements. Try a body-roll, try rolling your shoulders backwards, try doing some rib-cage isolations or hand movements. At first, you will feel COMPLETELY awkward. But thats because you're body is not used to doing that type of coordinated movement (yet). You have to keep doing it until it becomes comfortable. As you continue to do it, your body will auto-fix itself so it feels natural - and once you have control of moving the hands, shoulders, and chest fluidly - then you can work on making it look they way you want it to. Its like trying to learn how to paint. The best way, is to first learn about colors. Then, become comfortable at stroking the brush. Then, you can be comfortable at making your figures in the canvas. Now, to tell you how I come up with cool footwork + body movements - its really pretty simple. I put on a song that I really feel and can jam to. Example, right now I'm listening to El Hijo de Obatala (the LIVE version of course, but there are a couple of good ones on iTunes too). I put this song on, and I just dance and start doing crazy stuff. What do I mean by crazy stuff - really, I just cut loose. I'll start goofing around, or do some weird Usher footwork with some bachata, whatever comes out. You should do this without worrying what you look like, because you don't want to restrain yourself (remember, once you become comfortable dancing by looking at yourself, you WILL become a much better dancer because you will be more comfortable dancing with a partner - remember, you are your own worst critic). Anyways, lather, rinse and repeat - and at some point you will end up doing something really cool in the mirror - and you'll be like 'wow, that looked pretty cool, let me see if I can do it again'. And BAM! That is it. You'll end up trying to reproduce (slowly) that you will perfect it (to make it look better) and it will become part of your muscle memory! Have fun!