When asked how many dance styles he knows, Ted found it easier to rattle off the handful that he doesn’t know! In this week’s Lunch & Learn, he introduced the class to the hip-heavy world of salsa dancing. With a rich blend of Cuban and other Latin elements, salsa dancing incorporates quick and vibrant rhythms, small yet impactful movements, and fluid interactions between dance partners.
Ted began by showing everyone the basic footwork. The lead dancer initiates the motion by stepping forward while the follower steps back with the opposing foot. This creates a mirrored image as both partners move differently but remain in sync with one another. Both dancers then step back to the middle before repeating the motion with the other foot in the opposite direction (left foot forward, right foot back). To complete a one-person spin, the leader will guide the follower to a full 360-degree twirl as he or she steps back. If both dancers want to spin, the leader will step forward and pivot on both feet to face the opposite direction. He or she will again step forward and execute the same motion to return to the original position. The follower completes the same spin by waiting until the leader is facing the other direction, stepping forward to match the step of the leader, and pivoting in the same fashion.
Once the basics are mastered, a faster tempo, hip motions, and more complicated exchanges come into play. Ted emphasized the importance of practice in mastering salsa, but pointed out that a general understanding of the basic steps can make for a fun night on the dance floor.