How does it work?
Salsa is primarily a couples dance, although the basic steps are taught as an individual dance, and participants are usually encouraged to move around the room dancing with a variety of partners. Usually classes are held in bars, halls and clubs, and increasingly Spanish themed Tapas restaurants. There is no particular dress code, although high heels tend to help the ladies get the hip swing required for the dance, and men should avoid slippery soled shoes!
Attendees are usually taught each step as an individual, then the steps are put together and everyone is asked to pair up. Usually, participants then do a repeat of each dance step with a partner, then move onto the next person along to try the next step.
As the dancers become more experienced they will learn spinning techniques and more complex patterns, so eventually you can shine on that dance floor just like a star from Strictly!
There is no particular dress code, just make sure you wear something that is not going to constrict your movements. As for footwear, dance shoes are recommended for both men and women, but men can get away with anything sensible that does not have very slippery soles. As for the ladies, your feet are going to be needing a lot of TLC! It is therefore a good idea to invest in a pair of good quality dance shoes, rather than risking fallen arches by wearing footwear that doesn't not offer the correct support (and yes, regular high heel shoes can cause this too!).
Is it for me?
The steps are simple to follow, and involves three or four steps in each four beat measure. As the dance steps tend to start off slowly, it is suitable for all fitness ranges, regardless of a sense of rhythm.
Classes tend to be made up of a wide range of ages, usually with a fairly equal split of males and females. Most starter classes range from 30 mins – 1 hour, and a lot of classes offer 'freestyle' dancing later on for all levels of dancing.
Salsa is a low impact cardio exercise, so although you might feel a little warm it's unlikely to burn a huge amount of calories at the beginner stage of the dancing. However the toning effects are good, as the dance can tone up the waist, legs and hips, and also works the arms as it requires dancers to hold their arms at a right angle at all times throughout the dance.
Those considering Salsa should be aware that this is a close contact dance, so you will be dancing in a close space with a partner. It is a very sociable activity, and it is common for dancers to chat to each other in between dances.
Good to Know
Line dancing reportedly originated from salsa dancing, in particular the grapevine steps and the side steps.