DANCING 101: Top Salsa Dance Moves for Beginners

Posted on - 24 April 2024

DANCING 101: Top Salsa Dance Moves for Beginners

Have you ever watched a salsa dancer move and thought, "Wow, I wish I could do that!"?

The energetic moves on upbeat music are just the sheer joy of salsa dancing and are enough to make anyone want to join the party. But for beginners, salsa dance moves may feel overwhelming, and they may wonder, "Where do I even begin?"

Don't worry! It's not as hard as it seems. Just focus on taking the first step and know you're not alone.

First things first, salsa isn't about flawless execution or needing liquid courage (though a celebratory drink after mastering some moves is always welcome). It's about rhythm, connection, and fun. This guide will help you become a confident salsa dancer. We'll transform you from a wallflower to a confident person on the dance floor.

We'll break down the top salsa dance moves for beginners, making it easy to pick up. So, put on your dancing shoes, and get ready to add some spice to your life.

Let’s Go....

1.The Basic Step:

The Basic Step is the foundation of salsa. Here's a breakdown to get you started.

How to do it

  • On the first beat, step forward with one foot (left for leaders, right for followers) and shift your weight to that foot.

  • Step back with the other foot on the second beat and center your weight again.

  • On the third beat, close your feet together.

Repeat, keeping your posture tall and core-engaged. This creates a nice, rhythmic "step, step, together" feeling.

2.The Side Step:

It's time to add some sway! The Side Step adds a fun twist to the salsa basics.

How to do it

  • Instead of stepping forward and back, step to the side with one foot on the first beat.

  • Step towards your partner (leader) or away (follower).

  • Close your feet together on the second beat, then step to the other side with the other foot on the third beat.

  • Maintain a slight hip rotation for that salsa flair.

3.The Back Step:

The Back Step in salsa adds a fun little surprise to your dancing! Here's how to do it:

How to do it

  • Follow the same principle as the on-spot step, but on the first beat of the music (where you'd normally step forward), take a step back with one foot instead.

  • Then, continue with the regular salsa step rhythm. Step back, step forward, close your feet.

4.The Right Turn:

The right turn in salsa is a beautiful moment when you and your partner move in perfect symmetry.

How to do it

  • Start with a regular salsa step, starting with your left foot on the first beat of the music.

  • On the second or third beat, raise your right hand slightly towards your partner.

  • As your partner steps forward with their left foot, use your right hand to guide their shoulder or back clockwise.

  • Both you and your partner should turn to your right on that same beat.

5.The Cross Body Lead:

For a fancier salsa dance move, try the cross-body lead. In this move, the lead guides the follower diagonally, creating a more dynamic feel.

How to do it

  • Take a diagonal step with your right hand on the first beat to guide your partner in that direction.

  • Then, feel your partner's lead and follow their diagonal step with your own left foot on the first beat.

6.The Cuban Break:

A short pause or separation between partners adds a touch of playfulness to the dance.

How to do it

  • Watch for a natural pause in the music, often the first beat of a new phrase.

  • On that beat, both partners take a small step back from each other.

  • With the rhythm, step towards reconnecting with your partner.

This playful pause builds anticipation for the next move!

7.The Dip:

It is a classic salsa dance move where the lead dips the follower with a hand signal, creating a dramatic moment.

Tip:Master this with a comfortable partner who can support you safely.

How to do it

  • The lead bends their knees slightly, lowering their body a bit.

  • The lead gently places a hand on the follower's lower back.

  • The follower leans back slightly, keeping their posture nice and tall.

  • Feel the lead's movement and allow yourself to be lowered in a controlled way.


These are just the building blocks!.

With these basic salsa dance moves under your belt, you'll be well on your way to becoming a confident dancer.

Remember, salsa is about celebrating the rhythm, connecting with your partner (or the music!), and most importantly, having fun.

So, put on your dancing shoes, grab a friend (or not!), and get ready to spice up your life with some salsa moves! You might surprise yourself with how quickly you pick it up – and the best part is the joy you'll feel as you move your body to the music.

¡Buena suerte and happy dancing!

Interested? Find a class online.