The 7 Secrets of Salsa Dancing.001

The 7 Secrets of Salsa Dancing Learned from 8+ years of experience

It’s been over 8 years since I started learning how to dance Salsa. Over the years, I have found that the more context I get around Salsa dancing the better I become as a dancer, and the more well rounded my students get.

Today I’m going to share the 7 secrets of Salsa dancing almost no one ever talks about, and how you can use this information in your daily life.

If you’re taking Salsa dance classes right now, or plan to become a member of the Fawakaa Dance Company, then this article is essential for conceptualizing the opportunities Salsa can bring in to your life.

The First Secret of Salsa Dancing is that people at all levels go to Salsa Clubs.

I’ve seen many instructors and dance schools not recommend that students go out social dancing, and many of my own students have told me that they don’t think they are ready to go out social dancing because only the “good dancers” go to clubs…

The reality is that Salsa is all about socializing and beginners, improvers, intermediate, and advanced dancers all mingle and have fun together.

It’s common to see the really good people dancing with the beginners because they were once beginners and remember the feeling of being on the sidelines watching everyone else have fun.

There are often many more beginners in Salsa clubs because it is a growing community in Boston and we’re a college town.

When I was a real estate agent a couple of years ago I went to my 10 hours of continuing education and the instructor said something that really stuck with me. He mentioned how Boston has it’s own economy because of the universities. People come, and people go, but we can always be sure that new people are on their way to Boston.

Since the majority of people are looking for a new hobby, or something fun to do with their free time it makes sense that the Boston Salsa scene is the perfect community for making a fresh start. There are always new people joining the scene, and this makes for an experience that rarely gets old.

Especially since you never know what to expect when you go out dancing. You could meet a guy from Thailand, a cowgirl from Texas, a Brain surgeon from Chicago, and maybe your next romantic partner… and it could all happen in the same night.

The people who dance Salsa tend to have interested backgrounds, and stories and if you get a chance I recommend you talk to someone new the next time you’re out just to see what happens

The Second Secret of Salsa is That Salsa music…. was started in the United States, right in the Big Apple.

Yup, I never knew until I saw PBS put out the Latin Music USA documentary in 2009. The cradle of Salsa as we know today was New York City during the 1970s in El Barrio also known as Spanish Harlem.

El Barrio is where the Puerto Rican community lived in NYC, and through Afro-Cuban influences they created something new.

A group call the Fania Allstars with Celia Cruz, Willie Collon, Hector Lavoe, and many others trail blazed the Latin sounds we are all familiar with today.

Before Salsa even had its name Celia Cruz was interviewed about what this new sound was, and she just yelled out…

“ES Salsa!!!”

She yelled this out because

“Salsa is Latin Soul. Salsa is Flavor and Spice. Salsa es Ritmo! Rhythm, the basis of Salsa. African slaves brought their rhythms to the Caribbean, mixed with the Indian, European melodies, Spanish lyrics and gave birth to Latin music. The sons and daughters came here, mixed in the high energy of New York, the influence of Jazz, added in some brass, and Salsa was born!”

Salsa’s rhythmic origins were Cuban, but it was the young Puerto
Ricans that developed and kept it alive in New York City

This new sound incorporated a little from almost every culture and was true testament to the power this dance has to bridge cultures and bring people together.

While I was living in Harlem, NYC I never got to dance Salsa, or experience this community. I was too embarrassed to learn how to dance because I was afraid people would make fun of me.

Once I got to college (Boston University), I just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to do whatever I want and not worry about what other people would say. It was one of the better decisions I’ve made in my life, and if you’ve never experienced the Salsa community, I recommend you check it out and see for yourself what all the excitement is about.

Tangent: Now I’m sure you’ve heard this joke, or even made it yourself, but when we talk about Salsa dancing we capitalize the “S”… when we talk about the sauce, we don’t capitalize the “s”

The Third Secret of Salsa is that Salsa is not just for Latinos.

Salsa is danced by all types of people at all ages from 5 year olds to 80 something year olds. It’s a dance that goes across cultural boundaries and brings people together. To dance salsa is to become part of a community that loves to dance and doesn’t discriminate on who you are, what you weigh, how you look or how much money you make. It’s all about the music, the dance, and the connection between you and your partner.

When I took a workshop with Francisco Vasquez at the Orlando Salsa Congress a few years ago he stressed the critical point that the Salsa community is about family. We’re all here to support, nurture, and cheer each other on as life comes at us. It’s a family that transcends race, gender, personal drama, and culture.

From my experience many Latinos don’t even know how to dance Salsa. They’ve grown up thinking they know everything they need to know because they’re Latin, and miss the boat when it comes to taking classes. It’s a shame because most Latinos really know how to add their own flavor to the music.

However, it’s a good time to mention that there are many different styles of salsa dancing so as long as you’re enjoying the music and feeling the rhythms there is no wrong way to dance Salsa.

This brings us to our next Secret

The Fourth Secret of Salsa is There are many styles of Salsa Dancing.

There is Los Angeles Style Salsa Dancing that was started by the Vasquez brothers and promoted by Francisco Vasquez specifically. It is danced on the #1 in the music. This means that the leader breaks forward on beat number “1” with his left foot and the follower breaks back on the “1” with her right foot. For this reason it is also known as dancing “ON 1”

There is also the New York Style “On 2” way of dancing Salsa. Salsa on 2, commonly referred to as “Mambo”, is a style of salsa first introduced by Eddie Torres in New York in the 1960s. Technically speaking, dancing “On 2″ refers to the beat the dancers break forward on. Followers will break forward with the left foot on the 2 and leaders will break forward on the 6.

Smooth, controlled, highly technical movements that are elegant, graceful, flow well and are not rushed distinguish New York style salsa. The style is very linear and many of the turn patterns evolve from cross body lead variations.

Then we have Ruede de Casino, Classic Cubano, Cuban Style Salsa, Puerto Rican Style Salsa, Colombian Style Salsa and Salsa Caleña.

The Fawakaa Dance System incorporates the strengths of every style and is currently being pioneered by Angela and myself. This system and style gets you dancing at the social clubs quickly, and it makes sure you will be able to dance with anyone at any club in the world.

The Fifth Secret of Salsa is It is a great way to build character

When I started dancing I was focused on entrepreneurship and becoming a successful business owner that is well respected in the local community. I realized that I was lacking in the area of leadership and decided that if I want to become a better leader I need to learn and practice leading.

Since dancing offered an opportunity to learn to lead and instantaneously see the results of your leading I decided it was the best way to develop myself.

Since Salsa Dancing is about leading and following, it brings out the characteristics that are admired in the business world; Those of integrity, trust, decisiveness, responsiveness, problem solving abilities, and creativity. For both leaders and followers these qualities are essential if you want to become a better dancer and as fortune would have it these are the same qualities that will make your life more balanced, successful and fulfilling.

The sixth Secret of Salsa is Salsa Heals Relationships

This is one of the most exciting secrets I’ve wanted to share with you. If you’re in a romantic relationship, single, married, or just dating. The dynamic of dancing helps to heal your perception of the opposite sex while teaching you how to respect, appreciate, and be more comfortable around men and women.

If you’re married, Salsa dancing can bring your relationship closer since the man will learn to be strong and decisive while the wife will be able to develop strength and trust in her husband’s abilities. They will both be able to deal with their issues while dancing and share a wonderful experience together that is often lost when couples are together for a long time and begin to fall into a bland routine.

Women will also learn to feel comfortable in their skins, trust in their own abilities, while feeling sexy and in control no matter what is going on. There is much more men and women can get from dancing Salsa, and I’m sure you’ll see for yourself over time as you begin dancing.

The Seventh and final Secret of Salsa dancing is that Salsa clubs are about having fun, meeting people, and enjoying the music.

Salsa clubs are not a high pressure environment where you have to perform and compete to be the best dancer on the dance floor. It is a place to make new friends, and better understand who you are as a person. Salsa clubs are welcoming and friendly to all people so make sure you visit the salsa clubs in your local area.

That concludes the “7 Secrets of Salsa dancing report.” I hope you’ve found all my research into this topic helpful.

Using these 7 Secrets have helped to improve my dancing, meet many new people, improve my relationships and my respect for women. If you’re interested in taking Fawakaa dance classes that are based on a proven system for becoming a smooth and confident dancer then Click Here to sign up for the new session.

The Fawakaa Dance System will get you feeling good and looking good on the dance floor. You’ll be one of the smoothest dancers in Boston before you know it.

Thanks for reading…


PS: Tonight Angela and I will be hosting the “Boston Latin Dancers” meetup group at Havana Club Salsa in Central Square Cambridge. Come dance with us and say “hi.” We’re planning to be there around 9PM EST (October 3, 2014).