About Salsa Dancing

Salsa is a high-tempo energetic partner dance that can be improvised of performed with a set of dance routines. It is danced to eight-beat music with dancers moving on three beats, pausing for one beat, dancing for three beats, then pausing for one beat.


Salsa dancing is mostly a stationary dance with little movement around the dance floor. In Salsa dancing, dancers rely on the movement of their legs and upper bodies to convey the energy and motion of the dance. Improvised flourishes known as ‘styling’ (e.g. hip-rolls, arm extensions and leg flicks) can also be added during the ‘pauses’ in the dance.

Salsa Dancing Shines

In addition to the partnered movements of salsa dancing, dancers may also integrate solo breaks known as ‘shines’ into their routines. These are a way for salsa dancers to take short breathers from fast-paced routines or to gather themselves if they have strayed from the rhythm of the music.

Salsa shines involve a lot of ornate movements and styling that salsa dancers use to demonstrate their full talent. While these salsa shines are, in theory improvisational, there are many standard shines which dancers can learn in set routines.

Salsa Dancing Styles & Variations

If a dancer begins salsa dancing on the first beat of the music phrase, the style is know as On-1 Salsa. If the dancer begins their movement on the second beat of the music phrase, the style is known as On-2 Salsa. The main On-1 Salsa styles are the LA Style, Colombian style and Cuban style. The main On-2 Salsa styles are ballroom mambo, en clave and palladium two.

Salsa dancing is rapidly gaining popularity in major cities around the world with many clubs now specialising in salsa music and salsa related events.

At SUAVE, we teach primarily On-1 Salsa in the LA Style in all our group salsa classes. We also hold regular workshops in On-2 Salsa and can conduct private lessons in On-2 Salsa as well.

Visit our classes page to find out how you can start dancing salsa today!