"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. As a follow, ladies need to be quick and creative within the confines of following the guy. It's important to watch his movements and look for cues and gestures that would suggest what his next move might be.

Be sure to avoid bouncing or bobbing around. Always keep your back straight, place some tension in your arms, and allow the music to move your hips to the beat. You can definitely hurt your partner during spins if you have a long pony tail or long straight hair. When your spinning that close you have the potential to hit them in the face or giving them a good whack to the body. Always relax and have fun when you go out salsa dancing.

Look at the experienced salsa dancers and pick up a few things that you can add to your own style. Keep practicing your salsa dance moves when you have time and watch yourself get better and better at it. One more thing to remember, if you plan on dancing salsa all night be prepared to sweat a lot.

Carry a small hand towel because it is going to get hot!.

Do you want to learn salsa dance steps? Join the salsa channel email list and get resources on dance patterns, video tutorials, podcasts, articles and online salsa lessons

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