Let The Music Move You…But HOW?

I believe music elicits an emotional response from most people. This visceral response is one of the things that makes us gloriously human.

Music can make us feel happy and uplifted.

It can unite people in celebration, rebellion, mourning or even war.

It can also make us feel sad and trigger long forgotten memories.

When we experience this we sometimes say we are “moved” by that particular song.

Yes…we know music can move us emotionally.

But it’s also possible to let the music move us physically…more commonly known as dancing!!

Yet there is a world of difference between tapping your foot to a song and really “letting go”.

And yet another step to become so in sync with the music that your body literally plays the rhythms and melodies.


Why You Don’t Feel The Music

You can’t feel what you are not connected to, and you can’t connect to rhythms which you can’t hear.

And even if you can hear the rhythms, if you are not connected to your body, you can’t embody what you hear.

Many of us feel inhibited about “letting go” and letting the music move us in the way described above.

For men especially, expressing themselves in an uncensored way is outlawed, on top of the fact that they are participating in an activity which is already regarded as not a social norm for guys.

So my goal for you in this workshop is to help you across that bridge – from stepping and counting to moving fluidly and rhythmically, and to bring more spontaneity and joy into your dancing.


What Is Musicality?

Musicality is the ability to communicate your connection to the tones and rhythmical patterns in music in an intentional manner, reflecting your emotional response.

It’s one thing to FEEL the music, but another to be capable of expressing it.


Types Of Musicality

I believe everyone has an innate musicality – that is our brains are wired for rhythm and pattern. You know this because you can’t help your feet tapping…even to songs you hate.

There is another type of musicality however.

This is more of a learned and structured musicality which comes from physically and actively engaging with music – either through playing an instrument, studying music or through dance.

These activities enable us to embark on a much deeper journey of discovery and connect with music in a much more active and physical manner, actually producing the rhythms and melodies through our own effort, or translating them into movement.

This allows us to infuse our own interpretation and personal expression into the mix and develop our own unique style.

Going Beyond 123 567

When we first learn Salsa in the UK, it’s most common to be taught to step on generic beats – 123 567 – regardless of what’s actually happening in the music. 

There are certain advantages to this:

Everyone learns the same step pattern meaning that you will always be at least approximately on time with the music and each other.

However there are disadvantages as well.

1.  As you become more tuned in to the music, you may start to hear other things going on with the different instruments and rhythms such as syncopations, or accented beats, and it can become frustrating when your basic step pattern doesn’t allow you to respond to these.

2. When you dance to counts you tend to move the same way throughout the entirety of the song and this can make your dancing look and feel flat and one-dimensional.

One of the biggest takeaways for me at a recent Congress was that most of the artists and performers you admire do not think in terms of counts.

They simply hear the rhythms and respond.

Now it’s not possible to get to this point in one workshop.

For me it has taken several years, but I have noticed that I’ve progressed through several different stages.

There is still much more to learn – but this is roughly how it happened for me:


Workshop Details

DATE: Sunday 6th November

TIME: 10am-2pm

COST: £55 Per Person

LOCATION: Salsa Intoxica Dance School, Brentwood


How To Book

Places are limited so don’t delay!

Use this PayPal button below to make payment and secure your place:


Is Musicality Only For Advanced Dancers?

Typically, most club based group classes rarely address any musicality skills beyond keeping the basic Salsa rhythm.

I believe this has created a situation where many social dancers rely too much on counts and pre-choreographed combos, never realising that there is anything beyond 123 567.

By definition, anything which links moves across more than 8 counts, and has been learned as a sequence or combination prior is choreography.

Whilst there are many classic combinations of Salsa moves which we all rely on in social dancing, there can be a tendency to just churn these out on autopilot without making adjustments for changes in the music or specific features of a particular song.

Learning how to adapt your moves and styling to the mood, energy and sections of a song will immediately take you to the next level.


Channel Your Energy Like A Pro

Once dancers move out of beginner level classes and get into their stride on the social floor, they approach it with unbridled energy and enthusiasm, which is great.

However this energy is usually uncontrolled. It manifests as more exhuberant, wilder movements, bigger steps and more forceful leads.

Trained dancers channel this energy into the floor to create speed and fine motor control which produces more nuanced movement and musical interpretation.

My aim has always been to embed musicality skills into my students’ journey right from their first class. This gives them a richer experience and allows their musicality to develop in tandem with their movement technique.


Isn’t Musicality Boring To Learn?

There is often a perception that musicality is difficult and not very exciting.

I think this is because some musicality classes end up more like a music theory lecture.

But although some knowledge of music theory can be a very useful ingredient in developing musicality, they are not the same thing at all.

Knowing how music works or having practical experience in playing an instrument can be useful when analysing the complexities of Salsa music, but it will only take you so far.

Numbers and counts can be a useful navigational tool for knowing when certain things happen both in movement and music terms.

But knowing is not the same as doing.

Understanding is not the same as feeling.

And over thinking can kill creativity and the sheer joy we derive from allowing our bodies to respond without interfernece from our conscious mind.

And this is why my approach to musicality is all about developing your movement skills based on what you are actually hearing in the music.

It’s an extremely practical approach, meaning that you will spend a lot of time actually dancing, rather than fumbling and stumbling through choreographed routines which are too clever for their own good and too complicated to translate well to the dance floor.


Your Body As An Instrument

Musicality goes hand in hand with body movement and styling.

You can’t express the music without the physical tools to do the job. This is why this workshop will be even more powerful when taken in tandem with my Ladies Styling and Men’s Styling workshops.

And whilst learning complex partnerwork combos and shines is definitely valid, the better and richer your body movement, the less you need to rely on complicated footwork and moves.

Simplicity can be just as effective and gives you more time to connect with your partner and express the music.


Dancing To Songs You Don’t Know

It’s brilliant when you dance to a song you love with a partner you know well who also loves the song.

However the true test is when you dance to an unfamiliar song, or one that doesn’t immediately grab you, with an unfamiliar partner.

But it’s not an impossible situation.

Because Salsa music, once you’ve listened to enough of it, is really PREDICTABLE.

That is, it is full of repeated motifs and patterns that enable you to know what’s going to happen with a high degree of certainty.

It took me years of immersing myself in the music to realise this, and learn how to use this knowledge on the dance floor but I can help you short cut this process so you can apply the skills to your social dances immediately.


Who Is The Workshop For?

This workshop is for improvers through to intermediate/advanced Salsa dancers who want to improve their relationship with Salsa music.

It’s for those who want to gain more social dance skills and learn how to dance in a way that more fully expresses the music.

It’s for those who have tried musicality classes before but found them either boring, or not relevant because they were a choreography which taught only how someone else heard, felt and interpreted the music.

It’s aimed at On 1 AND On 2 dancers – we will be looking at a few different methods of connecting with the rhythms in Salsa music but there will not be a bias toward a particular style, and whichever timing or style you dance, the content covered will help you improve.

So if you are curious about why many dancers develop a preference for On 2, this workshop may answer that question, although it’s not my goal to influence you one way or the other.

If you have not been dancing Salsa for very long, the workshop will help to make the music more accessible for you.


Workshop Format

Section 1

We will touch base with some musicality basics – timing, tempo, rhythm and melody.

We will explore the key rhythms in Salsa music and how they can influence the way we feel and move.

We will sharpen our individual movement skills using simple steps and movements that you already know and change things up by adding different qualities and flavours. 


Section 2

All Salsa songs follow a structure with specific sections.

We will look at how we can build a dance using these sections and how we can match the mood and energy of the song without our movements becoming wild and uncontrolled.

I’ll teach you how to navigate breaks and changes in the song, and how to communicate this to a partner.

I’ll also show you how good dancers predict what’s coming in the song ahead of time so they can make the most of the musical “peak moments” and we’ll do some partnerwork exercises so you can practice these skills.



Days Until The Next Workshop








Workshop Details

DATE: Sunday 6th November

TIME: 10am-2pm

COST: £55 Per Person

LOCATION: Salsa Intoxica Dance School, Brentwood


How To Book

Places are limited so don’t delay!

Use this PayPal button below to make payment and secure your place: