End Your Salsa Overwhelm Forever!

At some point every leader in Salsa goes on the mission to “get more moves” and learn more stuff.

Unfortunately this is usually way before they have any real competency in the fundamental moves, and before they have a good enough understanding of the structure of the dance.

Not surprisingly this leads to overwhelm with more and more content going into the pot, but not much of it sticking in the long term memory.

And often on this quest for more moves, they end up attempting combinations which they don’t have the technical foundations for.

Then wonder why they struggle.


Stop Making Things Difficult!

If this is you it’s not your fault – this problem is really a product of the traditional routine based Salsa class format.

But the real prroblem here is that by attempting to memorise long sequences, you’re not focusing on the one thing which will really help:

Knowing your moves and learning how to create your own improvised sequences.

So I’ve produced the chart above to help you focus on what you really need to master.

How This Helps Leaders & Followers

It will help leads get more mileage out of the material they already know, and help followers learn and practice the things which will give them most payoff on the dance floor.

Followers will gain much empowerment on the dance floor once they recognise what moves are actually being led – this makes it much easier to get creative with footwork and styling.

It also removes the need for a partner to practice with – when you know what your moves are, you can hone and polish them without needing to be led. This is what will take you to the next level as you should never be relying on the lead for balance, stability, or energy to get round the turns.

A Simple System To Decode Salsa

So what I have set out in this chart above is MY system for breaking down the dance – how I understand what’s going on, identify one move from another, and remember specific sequences and combos so I can recall them and use them on the dance floor in limitless different ways.

In other words it’s my entire Salsa Sat Nav!

It is based on Cross Body structure but you’ll notice that one or two Cuban moves are included.

This is for two reasons:

  1. There are points of intersection between the two styles – it all comes from the same root (Cuban Son)
  2. The linear, cross body styles have become more rounded in recent years IMO because it makes for a smoother feel and adds more dimension, especially for slower songs.
  3. Followers have to be able to follow both – even if they have a preference.


This chart is based on the Follower’s footwork.

This is because leaders’ footwork and positioning is mostly arbitrary and much more flexible, whereas the follower’s is fixed.

It is important to remember that all of these moves have infinite variations and ways they can be linked together in combinations.

So once you are fluent with these, you have all the material you need to create fabulous dances.