I’m not much of a dancer. Don’t get me wrong, I do it enthusiastically and often. I’m also in time with the beat. It’s just that mostly my dancing looks like flying limbs…in time with the beat. So I faced a serious challenge on my month-long trip to Colombia: learn salsa or bust.
I was lucky enough to enlist some expert help: the entire extended family of my now cousin-in-law (I’m sure that’s a thing, right?). For the other salsa-challenged folks out there, I’ve attempted to narrow down their lessons to 4 basic steps.
1.Stick to 1, 2, 3
Forget about that fancy little step in the middle and stick to a basic 1, 2, 3 movement, at least until you’ve got the basics down.
2. Shoulder shimmy
A subtle shoulder shimmy is part of the salsa anyway. I found by making it slightly less subtle, it can help to distract from your failing footwork. Just don’t go too far overboard or you’ll start looking like you’re having a fit.
3. Find a partner to do the work for you
Ok this one’s just from me, not an expert. And it’s technically a cheat, but desperate times and all that. Young and old, man or woman, Colombians are better salsa dancers than you. It’s a fact. Use it to your advantage by pairing up with the most flamboyant dancer in the room, they’ll make you look good by association.
4. Have fun
More than anything, salsa is about passion and having fun. So, in theory, if you’re putting in a good effort and enjoying yourself, you’re already halfway there.