Dance as well as learn: classes at the club are a great way to learn, but eventually you will want to try freestyle. Take the opportunity to do this after your class, if possible, and at socials, workshops and congresses or visit clubs in town at the weekend. see the events page for some ideas.
Dancewear: do wear comfortable light clothes to dance in because dancing Salsa can be warm and energetic. Any form of restricted clothing, unless with a fair amount of Lycra or similar, will restrict circulation and or movement and you should avoid these. You can get a range of Salsa clothes for Followers on the dancewear products page.
Dance etiquette: There are no rules you will be relieved to know, however there are a few customs that it is nice to know about. It is considered impolite to refuse a dance if asked by a partner, unless you have a very good reason for refusing. Be prepare, if you can, d to dance at least once with a new partner if asked. It is just as likely that Followers as much as Leaders will ask a partner to dance. Don't take hand bags or drinks on to the dance floor and try to dance around them because you can't dance Salsa like that. There is too much movement and either you, your partner or another couple will eventually trip and fall over it. If the dance floor is crowded be considerate, keep your moves small, arm gestures restrained and watch where other couples are dancing to avoid bumps and bruises. If you are not dancing it is thoughtful to walk around the dance floor not across it. If you do all that everybody has more fun!
Enjoy yourself rather than compete: Occasionally Salsa is danced competitively, but not usually. So when you and your partner go out on to the dance floor it is not a competition. Just be yourself and feel the music, because there are no points awarded, just fun!
Feel the Rhythm: practice your hip movements in time to the beat and your steps. The hip sway should come from the correct foot move rather than deliberately wiggling your hips like a belly dancer!. Good hip movement is the secret to pleasant, sensual and stylish Salsa.
Fit and healthy: Salsa will help keep you fit. Drink plenty of fluids to keep cool and avoid dehydration. It is not recommended you drink too much alcohol while dancing because it might affect your concentration and it will dehydrate you as well.
Following: Followers should co-operate and follow their Leader's steps smoothly and quickly and not resist the steps as thy unfold. Followers should use the steps their Leader makes for them as an opportunity to demonstrate their style and artistry to the full. Tell your Leader if what they are doing seems uncomfortable or inappropriate.
For your eyes only: When dancing look at your partner and encourage them with smiles. Remember you are having fun. Don't look at your feet or your partner's feet. This is off putting for your partner and confusing for you. It can also, for leaders especially, give the unfortunate impression that you are staring down your Follower's cleavage!
Holding your partner appropriately: If you are the leader, and you are dancing close hold, don't hold your partner too close or too far away with your right arm in the middle of your Followers back and your left arm out to the side at about shoulder height holding your Follower's right hand. People hold hands in different ways so do whatever you are both happy with. Partners of different heights may need to adjust their holds slightly for better comfort.
Latino look: You should keep your upper body relatively still, but still move with the music. So try to avoid the kind of animation you might put into Jove or Rock & Roll. However it shouldn't be stiff and formal either, as it might in ball room. Let your upper body flow gently with the music with most upper body movement in your arms rather than your chest or shoulders, although there are some moves that deliberately change this dramatically. Think of other Latin influenced dances such as Flamenco, Tango to give you that Latin look.
Leading: this is the male dance role. Occasionally at the club, if there are more of one type of partner than another, some will swap role. So some Followers might become Leaders. Some dancers even swap roles permanently in order to keep dancing all the time. While this is possible it is not recommended as it is confusing for both Leaders and Followers to then un-learn and revert to your own steps. It is better to occasionally step out of the dance as dancers rotate partners.
Practice makes perfect: Come to the Silver Fox Salsa club classes in order to get the most practice time. You can practice some more on your own to Salsa music or videos at home.
Shoe care: If you wear proper dance shoes on the dance floor, with suede soles, make sure you only dance on a proper wood floor, take your shoes off when you leave the dance floor and carry your shoes in a protective bag. Keep the soles clean and suede brush them occasionally.
Shoes to wear: Do wear comfortable shoes that won't hurt your toes or ankles and avoid ones that you might hurt you or your partner. Don't wear trainers or other rubber soled shoes because they make dancing difficult. Proper dance shoes are available for both men and women, see the dancewear products page. If you don't want to wear dance shoes then leather soled shoes are quite effective too.
Signal, mirror, maneuver: If you are the leader with your left hand hold your partner's right hand with a medium pressure, not too hard and not too soft, with the left hand to allow clear but relaxing signaling. Both Leaders and Followers should gently tense their left and right arms respectively to send and receive signals clearly. When you maneouvre, Leader, generally be prepared to lighten your hold with your left as you or your partner execute turns or spins. Use your right hand, and occasionally your left, to guide your Follower through the steps you are dancing. This will help your Follower to follow effectively and allow her to think more about her style and flair and not worry about keeping up with your step.