Advanced Basics

Advanced basics is using the basic weight transfer (suspension) to integrate the hips and the upper torso & hands to create a fluidic stepping motion. This is known as the sexy "salsa" hips which most people mistaken as popping their hips left to right. Salsa hip movement is not the same as Bachata hip movement. Salsa hips should torque like a steering wheel, whereas Bachata hips moves more like a pendulum, swinging back and forth. 

Simple Version

Since we are not competing in Latin ballroom championships, a "street" version is usually suffice for social dancing.  The hip and hand movements are kept at a minimum and has just enough torque to show off the hips & hands.

Full Version

The full version comes with an emphasis of the "lean" which makes the movement more tricky.  You can also progress to the stylized versions later on as you get more comfortable.  This is a good spot to aim for as you can always tone it back down to the street version when you are social dancing.

Competition Version

Remember that Salsa was created from Cuban Salsa and American Ballroom back in the 50s.  Therefore, you can take it a step further and integrate ballet elements.

Hand Styling

Hand styling is almost exclusive to follows as leads are generally focusing on leading with their hands.  There are actually many different ways to visualize how the hand moves.  I recommend warming up the wrist with the drills and then pick a style you prefer.  Your personal idol also helps here.

If you have the advanced basics down, you should already have a certain amount of aura in your dance.  Hand styling compliments that and brings it up even higher.  However, as stated before, it must be done in conjunction with proper weight transfer, or it will come out very awkward.

The fold out is what I call the "cb5" which occurs every time you enter a CBL on the 5.  You can also use this to decorate your 123 when you have your left hand free.  Statistically, this is the most common hand styling you will do.

The arm spiral is what I call the "drill" and occurs usually during the inside turn.  There are various ways of doing this and it is best to consult your 'idol' for ideas.

The arm flick is just another variation of the "drill"; however has the elbows outwards instead of inwards and therefore should be used with caution (elbow to the face!)

The arm combos are ideas for inside turn, copa and scoop. The important thing to note here is the weight transfer that goes with each styling.  For example, the cb5 is done with the opposite knee bent.  The final form looks good because her hip pops out when the hand comes out.  This is why advanced basics is required in styling, otherwise you lose the bottom half of the visual.