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How To Dance Salsa On1 Versus Salsa On2

     If you've been Salsa dancing at any popular club or dance social recently, you may have been asked if you dance On1 or Salsa On2. What?!? Isn't there just one way to dance Salsa? Well, no. There's quite a few ways actually. But in the United States, the On1 and On2 styles of Salsa tend to be the most popular.

So what is Salsa On1 and Salsa On2? I'm glad you asked. Let me first start by saying that neither style is better or worse than the other. You will find both On1 dancers and On2 dancers who swear by one style or the other. To everyone his own. I happen to believe that both styles are great and if you can dance both, you will be more versatile as a dancer, and therefore will be better off no matter where you go to dance or who you dance with.

Before we get into the nitty gritty details of which style of Salsa you should dance, let's start with two very important things you need to know, no matter which style of Salsa you choose to learn.

The first thing you MUST know is timing. Timing is applying your footwork to the appropriate beats in the music. Salsa dancers use eight beats of music to complete one basic step. The first four beats of the music fit into what we call a bar or a measure, and the second four beats of music fit into another bar. So in total, we complete our basic step over 2 bars of music, which equals eight beats of music. We call this an 8-beat dancer's bar. You with me? That's all you need to know for right now. We'll revisit this again in a few minutes.

The second thing to understand is the 'break step'. The break step is the step right before a direction change when dancing your basic step. For example, let's say I step forward with my left foot and then I step backward with my right foot. The step I took with my left foot would be considered my break step because it was the step taken right before I switched my direction and stepped backward.

If you're a little confused, stick with me. Let's now talk about the different styles of Salsa, their timing and how the break step fits in.

In Salsa On2, our basic step consists of six steps and two holds. Our steps happen on counts 1,2,3 and 5,6,7 of our 8-beat dancer's bar (remember the timing we talked about?). Our holds happen on counts 4 and 8. We will use the leader's footwork in this example.

On count 1, the leader steps back with his left foot. On count 2, he steps back again with his right foot, passing the left foot. On count 3, he steps forward with his left foot. Can you guess which step was his break step?

If you guessed the step he took on count '2', you are right! Why? Because that was the step taken right before the direction change to go forward. The first three steps completes only half of the basic step. Continuing, the leader now holds count '4' without taking any step. He then steps forward with his right foot on count '5', forward again with his left foot on count '6', passing his right foot. And finally he steps back with his right foot on count '7' and holds count '8'. That completes one basic step. Can you guess which step was his break step in the second half of his basic? If you guessed the step he took on count '6', you are on fire!

The reason we call it Salsa On2 or dancing On2, is based on the beat of music the break step happens on. And this is typically from the leader's perspective of timing. So as you can see from the example above, the leader's first break step happened on count '2'. This is why it's called Salsa On2.

The same principles apply when dancing Salsa On1. Only now the footwork pattern has changed. Again using the leader's footwork, his first step is taken forward on the left foot on count '1'. He then steps back on his right foot on count '2'. On count '3' he brings his left foot together with his right foot and holds count '4' with his feet together in place and full weight on the left foot. Pop quiz time. Which step is considered his break step?

If you guessed count '1', then you should really be out Salsa dancing right now instead of reading this article. You are absolutely right! Why? Because that was the step taken immediately before his changed direction and went backward. Let's finish this!

Now the leader steps back on right foot on count '5', forward with the left foot on count '6', and then brings the right foot together in place with his left foot on count '7'. He then holds count '8' and has completed the basic step. Here's your final chance to wow me. Which step was the break step in the second half of the basic? If you guessed count '5', then you pass! Yeah!

Just like Salsa On2, we give Salsa On1 its name based on the count that the first break step of the leader's footwork happens on. In this case, it would be count '1' so we call it Salsa On1.

Aside from the objective differences between the two styles of Salsa we've discussed above, there are also other more subjective differences. We, unfortunately, won't be going into them in this article. But I suggest you learn both styles and decide for yourself which one you like best or if you like them both.

Good luck!

Article Source:

To learn more about dancing Salsa On2, visit Dance Classes Online for professional dance instruction.

Posted on 2012-10-25, By: *

* Click on the author's name to view their profile and articles!!!

Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author,

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