Salsa Cuban Hip Motion

Why Learn Salsa?

It's great exercise.
It's fun and once you hear the beat, you can enjoy moving to salsa music.
It's a great way to make new friends.
It's a thrill to become one with a partner, a creature with 4 legs.

Basic Step in Salsa

There are a few variations of the basic step in salsa:

* Forward and Back Salsa
* Side basic.
* Back basic
* 5th Position Breaks (Some call this Cuban style basic)

The video at the end of this shows the first 3 forms of the basic step. In California, most beginning salsa dancers are taught forward and back salsa. So that's what I'll describe here (since a California dude)

Here's a break down of the leader's steps in the forward and back basic. The follower does the natural opposite.

* Forward with left foot.
* Replace weight to right foot
* Bring feet to Together (pause)
* Back with right foot
* Replace with to left foot * Bring feet Together (pause)

Now let's look at this in more detail. Most club salsa teachers count musical pulses, rather than beats when teaching salsa.. A musical pulse, as I describe it here, is not really a beat, but a subdivision of a beat -- it's a light pulsation, but not something you would clap your hands to or tap your foot to (except maybe in Japan, because the Japanese like to clap really fast!)

A beat, on the other hand is a strong musical accent that you would tend to snap your fingers with, clap to, or tap your foot to. A musical pulse, though, is generally too fast for that. You'd soon get tired trying to tap your foot to a musical pulse. For accuracy and teaching purposes, salsa instructors have fallen into the habit of accounting musical pulses in groups of 8. They don't count like that for very long, though, because it's too tiring to count each pulse!

Here's what happens from a leader's perspective on each count.:

1. Step forward with left foot (changing weight to left foot)
2. Replace weight back to right foot.
3. Bring left together with right foot, initially with a bent left leg) 
4. Pause and press left foot into the floor straightening left leg.
5. Step back with right foot (changing weight to right foot).
6. Replace weight back to left foot.
7. Bring right foot together with left foot, initially with a bent right leg.
8. Pause and press right foot into the floor, straightening right left.

Cuban Hip Motion. Cuban hip motion is a sexy hip motion caused by properly shifting weight and bending and straightening of legs while dancing. it takes a while to learn, but once you get it, you look great on the dance floor.

Here's a tip to get you started: When you first bring your left foot together with your right foot (count 3), your right hip will initially be out to the right. As you press your left foot into the floor and straighten your left leg (count 4), your left hip will move smoothly out to the left.

Learn More. There is a very good lesson on Cuban Hip motion at a Latin dance school online. You can try out the school and see if like it. If you don't like it you can get a refund. Click the following click to learn more about this salsa online dance school.

Salsa Online Dance School.

Technical Note:: the video referenced at the bottom of this article shows the basic steps in salsa using a count of quick quick slow. The first quick quick slow is equivalent to 1-2-3 (4), if you break on count 1 (as is often done in California salsa). I put the "4" in parentheses, here, to show that there is no step on count 4. From the leader's perspective, breaking on 1 means to step forward on count 1. Some salseros -- especially those in New York --prefer to "break on 2." They count: (1) 2,3,4 (5) 6, 7 8. Breaking on 2 gives salsa a very exciting, syncopated feel.

To learn more about syncopation, see my article at:

Cuban Hip Motion
Salsa: Salsa Basic Step

Below is salsa video that will introduce you to the ballroom quick, quick, slow terminology. (Salsa is quite popular in ballrooms as well as in nightclubs.) I like this video because it is very clear and easy to follow. A weakness of the video is that it doesn't show the count to salsa music. Those that are used to the nightclub salsa pulse count of 1-2-3 - 5-6-7 - don't like this video, perhaps because it's not how they learned.

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About the author Phil Seyer has been teaching salsa since 1995 and currently teaches salsa privately and at his Professionals Guild dance parties for singles in the Bay Area and Sacramento


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