Beginners Guide to Cuban Salsa

Salsa dancers in Havana, Cuba.

There are different kinds of salsa and one of the most outstanding of these is salsa, also referred to as ‘casino’ in some instances. It is the most well-known practice dance for those who are interested in dancing salsa. Apart from one or two dance figures, practically all the Cuban salsa figures are done in pairs and alongside music to give a very interesting, lively, and vibrant dance that is surely recommended for everyone. 

Learning Cuban Salsa from the Basics

You will need excellent shoes, comfortable attire, and an impressive dancing school for starters. Even though the figures used for the learning can be based on a song that is choreographed, Cuban salsa can also be done freely and on a spontaneous level. As the person gets to master everything with time, it will become easier to align with the rhythm. 

When it comes to Cuban salsa, one of the most important things is the grip. Based on the figure that is to be made, there are various kinds of grip. Overall, a good portion of the time spent on the dance is with the pair opening with a grasped hand. 

Important Moves You Need to Know Before Dancing Cuban Salsa

1. Basic Cuban Salsa Step

The Cuban fundamental step is made up of a rhythm of three steps that are then accompanied by a pause then fast-fast and slow. This step is carried out by taking one foot back then stepping on the floor with the second foot and then returning to the initial position. The operation is then repeated after a pause with the other foot. There is a need not to exaggerate this step but the focus should be on ensuring more agility with the hip movement. 

2. Dile Que No

Here is one of the most vital techniques with Cuban salsa and the use is steady following the completion of every figure. It commences in the grip position while it finishes with one handheld. It is called ‘dile que no’ (meaning: tell him no) as it stems from the fact that the male makes a lateral and a forward in the first, second and third beats while the female in the fifth beat, rather than step back, will make a figure fake then end with a change in the position in a shape that assumes a crescent. 

Hence, this step is made of the woman shifting away from her dancing partner via her rotation and this is referred to as saying no. the movement is completed when the man draws the woman in his direction and the pair are placed close together but this will be on the opposite side compared with when they started. 

3. Enchufla

This is defined as having a change in position regarding the dance and because it also switches from dancing to arm free and then to the grip, with half of the turn of male and half of the turn of the lady. 

When it comes to the man, in the first move, the marking will be done with his left foot, then he walks using the right foot, and in the third beat, he then walks again using the left foot and then does a half turn in the rightward direction. He will then do some pushing of the girl to change her position; she raises the left arm in a way that the lady then passes under the arm. 

4. The Cubanito

Here is one of those regarded as an initiation step in salsa. Overall, it is a kind of a game between the pair, intertwining between feints and fakes then ending in an open break to complete the routine. Visually, the appears as the boy following the movement of the girl by positioning himself behind her, then switching to the front position then the steps are repeated. It is completed with a plug then an open break and she tells him no.

5. 70 En La Salsa

When this starts, there is a preparation of the spin with the 1, 2, and 3 beats. The boy lifts his left arm in the third beat and the girl turns to the right in her third beat. In beats 5, 6, and 7, she switches totally to her right using three steps forward, forming a tiny circle. 

6. Croqueta Complicada

This is described as one of the most visual of the figures in salsa dancing. It commences with an enchulfa then changing hands and the lady makes of full turn in a direction before completing with an open break then saying no to her. 

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