Salsa

  • Make sure your partner is having fun.
  • Keep your eyes focused on your partner.
  • Adjust your dance to the level of your partner.
  • Straighten the right leg as you use it to push forwards on the second beat.
  • Straighten the left leg as you use it to push backwards on the sixth beat.
  • Take steps even when not moving, to stay in beat.
  • Beware of making your partner dizzy with too many turns and spins.
  • If the woman and man turn at the same time, the man signals the woman to turn first, then the man turns but must finish before she does so that he can signal the next lead.
  • Directions are from a bird’s eye point of view, so that if a woman turns to her right, she is turning clockwise.
  • Trace your hand along your partner’s midline during turns as guidance.

Closed hold

The man’s frame supports the woman’s frame with her left arm resting on his right arm and his right hand covering her left shoulder blade.

Closed to closed via crossbody

  • From Closed hold, his left leg straightens and pushes his weight backward as he steps with his right foot.
  • He rotates his body counterclockwise to get out of her way and steps left foot, right foot, left foot while his right arm guides her to the other side, leaning to the right as she walks left to make the lead feel more smooth.
  • He rotates his body counterclockwise into Closed hold.

Closed to closed via swim crossbody

  • From Closed hold, he raises his unconnected left hand.
  • His right hand guides her crossbody to his left while he turns to his right into Closed hold.

Closed to closed via man left spin

  • From Closed hold, his right hand guides her crossbody to his left.
  • He spins to his left while keeping her right hand on his waist into Closed hold.

Closed to right cross

  • From Closed hold, he raises his left arm and steps out of her way to lead a crossbody.
  • His right forearm rotates backwards, catches her left forearm and twirls it in a counterclockwise flourish into Right cross hold.

Closed to man left arm cuatro

Closed to wide support via right shoulder toss

  • From Closed hold, his right hand guides her crossbody to his left.
  • He turns to his right and his left hand places her left hand on his right shoulder.
  • His right shoulder bumps up to toss her left hand into his open left hand as his right hand checks her right shoulder into Wide support hold.

Open hold

Partners face each other with his left hand holding her right hand and his right hand holding her left hand.

Open to open via crossbody

  • From Open hold, he pulls both connected hands close to his hips so that she walks toward him.
  • He rotates counterclockwise on his back step into Open hold.

Open to open via right elbow wrap

  • From Open hold, he guides a two-handed clockwise turn and ends with his connected right hand latched over her right elbow.
  • His connected right hand rises until his connected left hand is latched over his right elbow.
  • He walks closer to her and, while keeping his right hand connected, wraps his right elbow over and outside of her left arm into Open hold.

Open to open via inside turn, right turn

  • From Open hold, he steps out of her way and drapes his connected right hand over her head and onto her right shoulder as she walks forward.
  • His connected left hand guides her forward to his left and in a small counterclockwise circle around her head to guide an inside turn.
  • His connected left arm swoops down, right and up in a sweeping circular motion to swivel her hips.
  • His connected left arm rises smoothly up and pushes lightly forward in a tight clockwise circle above her head to signal a woman right turn.

Open to left over right via right turn

Open to knot

  • From Open hold, his connected right hand swings left under his connected left hand.
  • His connected right hand swings back to the right and tosses her left hand up.
  • His right hand swings left under his connected left hand and catches her falling left hand into Knot hold.

Open to right over left via clockwise leg sweep

  • From Open hold, he guides her into a counterclockwise crossbody turn under his connected arms.
  • As he turns to face her, he sweeps his right left clockwise in a wide arc.
  • He faces her in Right over left hold

Open to right cross via crossbody

Open to right cross via outside turn

  • From Open hold, he steps out of her way to signal a crossbody and rotates his connected left hand counterclockwise in a tight circle above her head for an outside turn.
  • His right hand takes her right hand into Right cross hold.

Open to right arm cuatro

  • From Open hold, he steps out of her way to signal a crossbody.
  • He raises his connected right hand and lowers his connected left hand to turn her counterclockwise into Right arm cuatro hold.

Open to catch via inside turn

  • From Open hold, he steps out of her way into crossbody stance.
  • His connected left hand leads forward to his left and in a small counterclockwise circle around her head to signal an inside turn.
  • His right hand catches her upper back and supports her rotational momentum with a strong frame as she is finishing her turn into Catch hold.

Open to closed via basket

  • From Open hold, his left foot steps diagonally forward.
  • His connected left hand drapes over her head as his right foot steps behind his left foot until he is behind her.
  • His connected hands pull her hips firmly backward.
  • His left foot steps in front of her and his right foot returns as his connected left hand drapes over her head into Closed hold.

Open to sweetheart

  • From Open hold, his connected left hand rises up and over her head as he walks forward.
  • His connected left hand lowers near her waist into Sweetheart hold.

Left open hold

Left open to closed via standing dip

  • From Left open hold, his left foot steps forward.
  • As his left foot pushes him backward, he tosses his connected left hand to his left and his left hand catches her left hand.
  • He signals an inside turn but his right hand catches her back.
  • His left hand catches her left shoulder and he stands with both legs straight and firmly planted.
  • She dips into his embrace and returns to Closed hold.

Left open to open via ping pong

  • From Left open hold, his connected left hand twists clockwise so that she walks into copa stance as he steps out of her way into crossbody stance.
  • His right hand nudges her right hip to his left.
  • His left hand nudges her left hip to his right.
  • His right hand nudges her right hip to his left.
  • His left hand nudges her left hip to his right.
  • He turns counterclockwise to face her in Open hold.

Left open to left open via clockwise enchufla

  • From Left open hold, he lightly tugs his connected left hand so that she starts walking toward him.
  • He raises his connected left arm so that she walks under it as he encircles her clockwise until they have switched places into Left open hold.

Left open to left open via duck turn

  • From Left open hold, he turns clockwise under his connected left arm.
  • He reverses and turns counterclockwise under his connected left arm into Left open hold.

Left open to left open via double inside turn

  • From Left open hold, he steps out of her way into crossbody stance.
  • His connected left hand leads forward to his left and in two small counterclockwise circles around her head to signal a double inside turn.
  • He turns to face her into Left open hold.

Left open to left open via roundabout double right

  • From Left open hold, he breaks back and catches her into a roundabout clockwise couple turn.
  • Halfway through the turn, his right hand guides her under his raised connected left arm and behind him so that they are both facing the same direction and his connected left hand points to her left.
  • He turns counterclockwise to face her and his connected left hand points to her right.
  • His connected left hand swings down and to the right to prepare her for a double right.
  • His connected left hand powers her into a double right spin into Left open hold.

Left open to right cross via duck turn [4]

  • From Left open hold, he turns clockwise under his connected left arm.
  • He releases his connected left hand over his back.
  • His right hand catches her left hand into Right cross hold.

Left open to right single file

  • From Left open hold, he pulls her forward and his connected left hand tosses her right hand behind her back as they step toward each other.
  • His right hand catches her right hand behind her back as they walk past each other.
  • His connected right hand turns her to face him while he uses his right foot to hook turn clockwise into Right single file hold.

Left open to left over right via swirl walk

  • From Left open hold, his left foot steps diagonally forward left while his right arm rises up and behind her back.
  • He turns ninety degrees to his right with his right arm guiding her clockwise around him.
  • His left foot crosses over his right.
  • His right hand takes her right hand as his left foot steps back into Left over right hold.

Left open to catch via toss double inside turn

  • From Left open hold, he steps out of her way into crossbody stand and his connected left hand tosses her hand to his left.
  • His left hand catches her left wrist and tosses it to his right with enough power to signal a double inside turn into Catch hold.

Right open hold

Right open to wrap right hip

Right cross hold

Right cross to open via double right

  • From Right cross hold, his connected right hand powers her into a double right spin.
  • He stops her and breaks back into Open hold.

Right cross to left open via copa

  • From Right cross hold, he breaks back and tugs her forward so that she starts turning counterclockwise but his left hand checks her hip so that she faces sideways.
  • His connected right hand continues turning her counterclockwise until she faces him into Left open hold.

Right cross to left open via double right

  • From Right cross hold, he prepares her by swinging his connected right hand to the left as he pushes back with his left foot and swinging his connected right hand downward and to the right as he steps with his right foot in place.
  • His connected right hand powers her into a double right spin.
  • His left hand faces up and catches her right hand into Left open hold.

Right cross to right single file

  • From Right cross hold, his left foot breaks back as his connected right hand pulls her forward.
  • His connected right hand scoops down, toward her and up to signal a clockwise outside turn as his left foot steps diagonally forward and out of her way so that she can outside turn past him to the other side.
  • Still facing in the same direction, he places his connected right hand on his right shoulder, his left foot steps forward and his right hand catches her falling right hand near his waist for Right single file hold.

Right cross to right over left via double right

  • From Right cross hold, he prepares her by swinging his connected right hand to the left as he pushes back with his left foot and swinging his connected right hand downward and to the right as he steps with his right foot in place.
  • His left palm is in front of her head to signal that she should touch his left palm whenever she spots him during the spin (touch and go).
  • His connected right hand powers her into a double right spin.
  • His connected right hand swings her right hand around, down and under his connected left hand.
  • His right hand catches her right hand into Right over left hold.

Right cross to narrow support

  • From Right cross hold, he steps out of her way and leads his connected right hand to his right to begin an inside turn, but keeps his connected right arm at her shoulder height.
  • His connected right arm catches her shoulders into Narrow support hold.

Right cross to left open via swing step

  • From Right cross hold, he raises his connected right arm and steps forward to his left.
  • His left hand catches her left shoulder as he walks around her clockwise until she is in front.
  • His left hand guides her left shoulder forward and his connected right hand guides her right shoulder backward to prepare her for a double left turn.
  • His connected right hand propels her into a double left turn, then he turns counterclockwise to face her.
  • His right hand catches her back as she finishes her turn, swings her 180 degrees forward and 180 degrees again into Left open hold.

Right single file hold

Right single file to closed via toss inside turn

  • From Right single file hold, his connected right hand tosses her right hand to her right.
  • His left palm faces her at eye level to signal an inside turn as he steps backs to get out of her way into Closed hold.

Right single file to closed via whip inside turn

  • From Right single file hold, his connected right hand tosses her right hand to her right.
  • His right hand catches her left forearm as he steps backwards to get out of her way.
  • His connected right hand guides her forward and flings her left arm to her left for a whip inside turn.
  • He catches her in Closed hold.

Right over left hold

Right over left to right over left via walk in place

  • From Right over left hold, his left foot steps forward and his connected hands push forward to his right to find her resistance, which signals that she is ready.
  • He moves out of her way as she steps forward while his connected left hand and his connected right hand hold her in a strong frame.
  • He immediately guides her to cross her left foot over her right by rotating his torso slightly but firmly to his right.
  • He immediately guides her to cross her right foot over her left by rotating his torso slightly but firmly to his left.
  • His connected left arm swings over her head to end the walk in place into Right over left hold.

Right over left to left over right via right turn

Right over left to left over right via enchufla

Right over left to wrap right shoulder via double right

  • From Right over left hold, he prepares her for a double right touch and go, in which his right hand powers her right arm but his left hand releases and catches her left hand as she spins.
  • Before she finishes her spin, he brings his connected right hand down to her left hip and wraps his connected left hand over her head to rest on her right shoulder into Wrap right shoulder hold.

Right over left to man right arm cuatro

Left over right hold

Left over right to open via drop catch

  • From Left over right hold, he lifts his connected right arm so that his connected left hand rests in the crook of his right arm.
  • As his right arm continues to rise, his left hand releases her right hand and catches it under his right arm into Open hold.

Left over right to open via shoulder drop

  • From Left over right hold, he raises his connected left hand over his head and turns counterclockwise to face to his left.
  • His connected left hand releases her left hand on his right shoulder into Open hold.

Left over right to open via hand play

  • From Left over right hold, he raises his connected left hand over his head and turns counterclockwise to face to his left.
  • His connected left hand releases her left hand on his right shoulder.
  • His connected right hand transfers her right hand to his left hand.
  • His right hand catches her falling left hand as he continues turning counterclockwise.
  • He raises his connected right hand over his head and onto his left shoulder.
  • He raises his connected left hand over his head, onto his right shoulder and into his right hand.
  • He finishes turning counterclockwise into Open hold.

Left over right to man right arm cuatro

Left over right to narrow support

  • From Left over right hold, his connected right hand brings her forward as he walks into reverse crossbody stance.
  • His connected left hand opens her counterclockwise until his left hand is next to her left shoulder and her right hand is next to her right shoulder in a tight frame.
  • His left foot steps back and his right foot steps back.
  • His frame snaps counterclockwise and his left foot flares into Narrow support hold.

Left over right to knot [6]

  • From Left over right hold, his connected right hand tosses her right hand clockwise under his connected left hand and up.
  • His right hand quickly takes her left hand while his left hand catches her falling right hand.
  • His right hand tosses her left hand clockwise under his connected left hand into Knot hold.

Left over right to open via guided copa, double right, double left

  • From Left over right hold, he raises his connected left arm and he catches her right hip with his right hand.
  • His right hand pushes her right hip forward into guided copa while his raised left hand transfers her left hand to his right hand.
  • His connected right hand prepares her for a double right.
  • His left hand catches her right hand and prepares her for a double left.
  • His right hand catches her back and swings her into Open hold.

Left cross hold

Left cross to wrap left shoulder

  • From Left cross hold, he steps out of her way to signal a crossbody.
  • His connected left hand windmills an inside turn and tosses her left hand up.
  • He turns to his right and his right hand catches her falling left hand.
  • He steps out of her way and his connected right hand brings her across into Wrap left shoulder hold.

Wrap left shoulder hold

Wrap left shoulder to closed

  • From Wrap left shoulder hold, his connected right hand unwraps her until she faces him.
  • His connected right hand prepares her to his left.
  • He steps out of her way to his left and flings her to his right for a whip inside turn into Closed hold.

Wrap left shoulder to closed via whip and dip

  • From Wrap left shoulder hold, his connected right hand unwraps her until she faces him.
  • His connected right hand prepares her to his left.
  • He steps out of her way to his right and flings her to his right for a whip inside turn.
  • Before she finishes turning, his right hand catches her back and brings her close for a dip as his left hand supports her head.
  • He returns to Closed hold.

Wrap right shoulder hold

Wrap right shoulder to narrow support

  • From Wrap right shoulder hold, he unravels her counterclockwise while keeping his hands connected.
  • He rests his connected right hand on her right shoulder and his connected left hand on her left shoulder in Narrow support hold.

Wrap right hip hold

Wrap right hip to wrap right hip

  • From Wrap right hip hold, his connected right hand pulls her back toward him as he walks counterclockwise around her.
  • He steps under his connected right arm and guides her into an inside turn into Wrap right hip hold.

Narrow support hold

Narrow support to left open

  • From Narrow support hold, his left foot steps forward and his connected right hand scoops downward to unravel the woman in a clockwise turn.
  • His right foot steps forward and he turns counterclockwise under his connected right arm as it scoops upward to face her in Left open hold.

Narrow support to left over right

Narrow support to right over left

Wide support hold

His connected left arm is outstretched to his left and his right hand is on her right shoulder.

Wide support to right open

  • From Wide support hold, his right hand guides her right shoulder forward into an inside turn.
  • His connected left hand tosses up her left hand as he turns counterclockwise to face her.
  • His right hand catches her falling left hand into Right open hold.

Left arm cuatro hold

Left arm cuatro to sweetheart

  • From Left arm cuatro hold, his right foot crosses over his left.
  • His left foot steps forward with his hips facing hers as he pushes her right hip back with his connected right hand.
  • His right foot rock steps back.
  • He unravels her forward and counterclockwise into Sweetheart hold.

Right arm cuatro hold

His left hand holds her right hand, which is behind her back and near her left hip, while his right hand holds her left hand at shoulder height.

Man left arm cuatro hold

Man left arm cuatro to open via basket

  • From Man left arm cuatro hold, his left foot steps diagonally forward.
  • His right arm lifts her right arm out of the way as his right foot steps behind his left foot until he is behind her.
  • His connected hands pull her hips firmly backward.
  • His right foot steps in front of his left foot.
  • His left foot steps in front of her and his right foot returns to Open hold.

Man right arm cuatro hold

Man right arm cuatro to right cross

  • From Man right arm cuatro hold, his connected left hand drapes up and over her head for comb and release.
  • His left arm stylistically circles down, back and up like a matador taunting a bull.
  • As he breaks back, his connected right hand tugs lightly to signal that she should walk forward and he steps diagonally to his right to get out of the way and unravels himself to face her.
  • His connected right hand continues guiding her forward and turns her clockwise to face him into Right cross hold.

Man right arm cuatro to wrap left shoulder

Sweetheart hold

Sweetheart to sweetheart via body roll

  • From Sweetheart hold, his upper body starts a body roll downward into sitting stance.
  • His lower body starts a body roll upward into Sweetheart hold.

Sweetheart to knot

  • From Sweetheart hold, his right foot steps forward while he keeps his right forearm down and pulls her backward so that she must duck under his right arm into Knot hold.

Knot hold

His connected left hand rests in the crook of her left elbow while his connected right hand faces her raised left hand.

Knot to closed

  • From Knot hold, his connected left hand goes over and behind her head and his connected right hand goes over and behind his head until the partners are back to back.
  • He pulls his connected right forward and releases it so that she turns clockwise into Closed hold.

Knot to open via man comb

  • From Knot hold, his connected left hand goes over and behind his head and releases her hand on his right shoulder.
  • His left hand catches her right hand into Open hold.

Knot to open via double right

  • From Knot hold, his connected right hand powers her into a double right.
  • He turns to his left under his connected hands as she finishes her spin into Open hold.

Catch hold

The Catch hold happens when he catches her during a clockwise spin, such as after an inside turn. Transitions from the Catch hold can make use of her rotational momentum.

Catch to swing via 360

  • From Catch hold, he immediately places his right foot as close as possible to her left foot and squares his chest with her chest in a strong frame.
  • He pushes off his left foot so that they rotate 180 degrees clockwise together.
  • His right hand supports her like a strong rubber band into Swing hold.

Swing hold

The Swing hold happens when he supports her like a rubber band while she is stepping backward. Transitions from the Swing hold can make use of her forward momentum.

Swing to open

  • From Swing hold, his upper body and strong frame help her reverse momentum forward into a crossbody as he steps out of her way.
  • She steps to the other side into Open hold.
[1]Thanks to Hector Reyes and Natsu Yan of MamboNova Dance Company in Mountain View.
[2]Thanks to Joe Burgos, Jonathan Rodriguez, Jose Negron of Piel Canela in New York.
[3]Thanks to Gina Noel D’Ambrosio, Jason Nino, Junes B. Zahdi, Kate Danielowski, Mike Brown of Salsa International in New York.
[4]Thanks to Erica, Ciomara, Daniel of Salsa Rosa in Xela.
[5]Thanks to Eddie and Maria Torres of Eddie Torres Latin Dance Studio in New York.
[6]Thanks to Victoria Ruskovoloshina of Mambo Romero in San Francisco.
[7]Thanks to Sandy Chao of Mambo Groovin in Redwood City.
[8]Thanks to Kevin Benamar of Baila Society in New York.
[9]Thanks to Frankie Martinez of You Should Be Dancing in New York.
[10]Thanks to Philip Haymon of Dardo Galletto Studios in New York.