Finding the Salsa Beat

Finding the beat can be tricky for beginners and even some more experienced dancers… We recommend playing music from your classes and counting the beat outloud and ‘shadow salsaing!’ (practising the moves on your own at home!) Many people still count in their head even our teachers have been caught mouthing 1,2,3… in the past!

Salsa is danced in 4/4 (four beats in a bar) so you will probably hear shouted out in a lesson ‘1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8’ though the beats 4 and 8 are seen as rest beats so the teacher may choose to drop the 4 and 8 (making it 123. 567) and later on just speak about beats 1 and 5. These beats 1 and 5 tend to be slightly louder with the singer starting generally on beat 1.

After a while if you immerse yourself in the music, either through your ipod or many lessons, you will find that you can just close your eyes and feel the beat, resulting in almost perfect timing! If you do lose the beat, dont worry just keep calm and carry on with a smile!

If you want some additional help then this is a great website to check out if you’re still having trouble finding the salsa beat, salsa rhythms.

About James

James is one of the co-founders and teachers at Salsa Dance Leeds. He regularly writes for the SDL blog, across a selection of salsa topics. Find James on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

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