As with all dance styles the more you practice your salsa, the better. But this doesn’t mean you have to go crazy dancing salsa and only salsa for hours on end.
There are some styles of dance that can directly help different aspects and elements of your salsa. Here is a bit of a guide on how to use other styles of dance so you can improve your salsa and have a bit of variety at the same time.
Rumba Helps with Lead & Follow
American Rumba is a very accessible social dance. In fact 90% of our 300+ members here at QuickSteps dance Rumba due to it’s easy to apply step patterns and the fact that you can dance it to almost any music. Therefore when our members come along to a dance event, even at the very early stages of their dancing, they can get up and dance straight away if they know even a tiny bit of rumba. If a salsa dancer learns some beginner 1 & 2 rumba they can use this to dance with other members of the QuickSteps community. From beginner through to advanced they can use these interactions to become confident leading and following many different people and then use these learning to guide them when they are out and about salsa dancing on the social floor.
Rumba Helps with Connection
Rumba is danced in a closed frame position as opposed to salsa which can often switch from closed frame to double hand hold.
These salsa dancers are dancing in double hand hold as oppsoed to Michelle and Francesco below, dancing in a closed frame hold.
In a closed frame it is easier to both feel, and apply a strong connection. By practising this in Rumba you will automatically have a better connection with your partner during salsa steps that move into a closed frame position.
Rumba Helps with Learning Step Patterns at a Slower Pace
As Salsa and rumba are in the same family of Latin dances they share many of the same step patterns. The main difference? Rumba is danced at about 1/4 the speed of your typical salsa making it a much easier way to learn the step patterns off by heart before applying them to the faster music.
Head to this next blog to find some salsa songs to practise to
Bachata and Merengue
Bachata and Merengue Help with Hip Movement
Bachata and Merengue typically emphasize the movement of the hips more than salsa will. Once you learn to move your hips at 100% in these two styles it is then a piece of cake to tone it down to the 70% wiggle that you will want to apply to your salsa.
Cuban Motion vs. Washing Machine Action
Also Bachata and Merengue tend to use a technique called Cuban Motion where the hips are moving up and down as opposed to salsa which uses a ‘washing machine’ waist. The washing machine action comes a lot more easily when you have warmed up with the cuban hip movement first.
Bachata and Merengue Help with Body Isolation
Body Isolation is the method of moving one part of your body whilst keeping other parts still. Good body isolation makes for a cleaner, neater dance style and helps dancers stay connected with their partner by preventing them being thrown off balance. Although your hips will be moving fluidly in both Bachata and Merengue the idea is to keep your shoulders steady, this is isolation. Once you learn this isolation technique you will be able to apply it to your salsa in the same way.
Never heard of Bachata or Merenegue? You can read all about the many styles of dance avaialble to you here.
Rock ‘n Roll
Rock ‘n Roll Helps with Aerobic Endurance
The first time you ever try rock n roll you will certainly leave the dance floor huffing and puffing! The more fit you become, the more you will enjoy your dancing, the more dancing you will do, the more fit you will become and so on and so on. Being fit is a key element of enjoying your salsa and your rock n roll will certainly help you get there! Head here if you would like to find out more about dancing for fitness.
Rock’n Roll Helps with Spin Technique
Probably the only dance that truly rivals salsa in the number of spins you can include is rock ‘n roll. So why not mix it up a bit by practising your spins whilst grooving and rock ‘n rolling to some Beatles or Elvis Presley?!