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Getting Started With Salsa Dancing
by Yomi A

"Salsa" may just mean "sauce" in Spanish, but, on the dance floor, it means a fiery, spicy rhythmic ride that some newcomers may find too hot to handle. There are ways to cool off your anxiety and make sure that when you do join in this fusion of Cuban, Puerto Rican and African rhythms, you stay on the beat and keep the dance alive. Before you read the following basic tips and tricks, remember the advice of many salsa teachers - if you can walk, you can salsa!

 

When it comes to shoes, there are some definite do's and don't's. Men, leather soles are best and open shoes are going to get you in trouble - especially when your partner's heel comes crashing down on your big toe. Women, solid dance shoes will give you the support you need - just make sure they're broken in, or you'll end up blistered before the night is half over. With your clothing, natural fabrics are best, as they help your skin breathe. The key is not to wear anything that restricts your movement too greatly.

Your best bet is to take some classes at a local dance studio - especially if you're a guy. Sorry, but most of the salsa pressure is on you. Since this is a Latin-based dance, the man is generally expected to make the moves and lead the way. And since spontaneity is such a big part of the salsa experience, you'll need to create your own footwork within the salsa parameters. You are expected to keep constant tension in your arms as you guide your partner.

Ladies, your job is to learn how to be creative in the confines of following your guy. Track his movements, match his arm tension, don't wave around like you're about to go under for the third time. Bobbing or bouncing is not really the idea here - keep your back straight, your arms tight, and make your hips do all the work. And for both sexes, avoid ponytails - when you're that close and you're spinning, you don't want a lethal whack from a whirling hunk of hair!

The important thing to do is relax and have fun. Watch other, more experienced dancers as you're trying to make your first moves. After a few turns on the dance floor, it will become second nature and you'll be a salsa sensation.

Final tip - bring a little hand towel with you for your night out. Because if you're doing salsa right, you're going end up having to wipe off a lot of sweat!

Yomi is a salsa dancer and freelance writer for the Salsa Channel.
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ballroom dancing books

Find books about all types of dancing

Classical Ballet Technique by Gretchen Ward Warren
"An excellent,comprehensive reference.."

Step-by-Step Ballet Class Royal Academy of Dancing
"for dancers of all ages, designed to help them get the most from their ballet tuition.."

Ballroom Dancing by Alex Moore
"includes all the main ballroom dances, along with versions of most dances approved for championships.."

Letís Dance by Paul Bottomer
"this unique compendium teaches you all the basic steps and the most dramatic advanced moves for every popular style of music.."

Teach Yourself Ballroom Dancing by Peggy Spencer, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing
"basic hold and step instruction for the most popular ballroom, Latin American and social dances.."

Belly Dancing by Rosina Fawzia Al-Rawi
"wonderfully intimate book... adds a spiritual dimension to the practice of Belly dancing.."

Christy Laneís Complete Book of Line Dancing by Christy Lane
"This popular form of dance now incorporates many musical styles including pop, rock, jazz, disco, swing and Latin.."

The Art of Belly Dancing by Jenifer Worick
Simple introduction to Belly Dancing

Tap Works: A Tap Dictionary and Reference Manual by Beverly Fletcher
"surely one of the most knowledgeable authorities in tap dance and its history.."

Ballroom Dancing by Paul Bottomer
Get on the Floor with Four Classic Ballroom Dances

On Your Toes: A Ballet ABC Rachel Isadora (Illustrator)
For everyone with an interest in ballet

Wild Workouts Leah Stoffer
"covers different forms of dance (such as bellydance) and not just 'exotic' dance.."
 

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Websites related to dancing

www.dancesport.uk.com
Britain's first and favourite site dedicated to competitive Ballroom and Latin American dancing.

www.firstdancecompany.com
London based dancing lessons. Learn ballroom and latin dance.

www.londondance.com
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Dancing supplies

www.dancing-times.co.uk
Dancing magazine and online store for dancing books, Dvdís and Cdís

www.learntodance.co.uk
Learn to dance latin american, ballroom, salsa, argentine tango, line dancing etc. Dvdís and books.

www.kingdomofdance.co.uk
Offers secure online ordering for dance shoes, dancewear, dance Cds and videos

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