Learn to Dance Like A Star: Salsa!

Every movie-lover, dance-lover, or human being for that matter has seen the movie Dirty Dancing. This 1987 film captured the heart of millions, and also gave audiences a mini-dance lesson. In one scene (seen in the first 35 seconds of this clip), the character named Johnny yells at Baby saying, “Step on the one” and “Find the two!”
For  someone who has never done ballroom dancing this sounds pretty confusing. But Johnny was teaching Baby the difference between Salsa and Mambo.

Here’s a little history. Salsa is a dance with Latin roots that is enjoyed around the world. It’s different than many other dances because of the way the dance moves are counted. With Salsa, you count your steps “1-2-3-5-6-7,” dropping, or holding, the 4 and the 8. Additionally, there are several variations of the dance, with the most popular being “On 1” and “On 2,” with the latter usually being called Mambo.

With “On 1,” the leader breaks forward on the 1 beat with their left foot, rocks back onto their right foot on 2, steps back with their left on the 3, and does not move on the 4 (which is why it usually isn’t counted). On the 5, the leader then steps back on their right foot, rocks forward with their left on the 6, steps forward with the right on the 7, and holds on the 8 (Pictured below).

Photo Credit: justsalsa.com

“On 2”  is danced on the second beat of the music, with the follower stepping forward first, not the leader. On 1, the follower steps forward with their right foot, breaks forward with their left foot on the 2, shifts their weight onto their right on 3, and holds the 4. Then, the follower steps back with their left on 5, break with their right on 6, shifts weight onto their left foot on 7, and holds on the 8 (Pictured Below)

Photo Credit: justsalsa.com

So there you have it! If you are used to dancing one style, try another. If you’ve never danced Salsa before, you should definitely try it! The dance is fun and enjoyable for all ages, and is definitely something girls would love.

–Alex Wiggins

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