On Your Feet!: A Quick and Dirty Guide to Salsa Dancing

By Kendall Buzzelli


On Your Feet! is upon us this week, and what better way to celebrate than through dance! Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s Cuban heritage is accented by vibrant and fun salsa dancing, something I didn’t know much about. Check out these step-by-step instructions – with videos courtesy of Dance Dojo – to become a Wharton Center-certified salsa dancer.


Step 1: Learn the Front, Back, and Side salsa basic steps.

From what I’ve read, the Front, Back, and Side salsa step is your bread and butter. It’s what you’ll fall back on in your time of need, and will keep you keeping on throughout your dance number. Step forward, back and side with a little swing in the hips and you’re on your way to success.


Step 2:  Listen to the rhythm of the boogie and the beat.


A key thing to learn about salsa is its unique rhythm. For a salsa newbie, stick to the basic timing which calls for stepping on counts 1-2-3, 5,6,7. Skipping a step on beats 4 and 8 draws out the movement giving salsa it’s quick-quick-slow special flair.


Step 3: Navigate the dance floor with a cross body lead. 

The Cross Body lead is one of the most important components of pro salsa dancing. It sets you apart from the amateurs, and can take you to another side of the dance floor in no time. You’ll be using this one a lot … so practice, practice, practice!


Step 4: Spin, Spin, Spin!

Now that you have some basic knowledge and have practiced basic steps, throw in a spin or two. The Five Turn Pattern used in the Dance Dojo video above is a quick and easy way to knock out five turns in one learning session.

On Your Feet! will salsa its way to Wharton Center’s stage this week, February 13-18. $29 student tickets to this fun, memorable production are available for purchase. Make sure to follow Wharton Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up to date on all things Wharton. 


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